The TOUR Aspect, Part I: Getting the gigs

So, Jane and I are home from our tour… and there’s still so much more to say.  For example, we mostly haven’t written about our GIGS, but more about our adventures.  Friends have said, “so glad you had such a lovely vacation!”  — but it wasn’t a vacation, it was a tour, with a total of nine shows along the way:  1 in the Bay area, 2 between SanFran and L.A., 3 in L.A., 1 in New Mexico, and 2 in Missouri, on the tail end.

Jane and I started working on this tour back in January, planning our itinerary and timeframe , and earnestly calling venues beginning around March.  While both of us are known in our hometowns of St. Louis and Chicago, respectively, we are NOT known nationally, especially out West, where we’d decided to tour.  Just because one decides to go on a national tour does not make one a nationally-KNOWN touring artist — “known” being the key word here.

When we contacted standard venues, the first question was:  “what is your draw?” — i.e., can we fill their venue?  We’d explain that this was our first tour out West, so the draw would be light (a few friends at best), and not surprisingly, most venues weren’t interested in booking us.  It’s not personal; it doesn’t matter if we put on a good show or not:  If we perform an excellent show to a mostly empty room, this benefits neither us nor the venue.  So, we either heard back “no” or worse, nothing at all, from a majority of venues we’d contacted.

Jane and I were fortunate enough to have a few friends and venue contacts who were willing to give us a shot; and for the house concerts we performed, which will be discussed in Part 2 — there is NO way we could have undertaken this tour.

House concerts — literally, concerts held in people’s homes — are the saving grace of most musicians these days.  I’m not talking about such arena-filling musicians as Bruce Springsteen or Garth Brooks — but, I am talking about pretty much everyone else.  So, that’s coming next.  But here, I thought I’d post a few pics from some of our other gigs.  Each was fun, and instructive, in its own way.

Our first show, at Michael McNevin’s Mudpuddle Music shop, was a great way to start our tour:
I wrote more about this in a previous post.  Thanks again, Michael!

On Sunday 9/14, we performed outdoors at the beautiful Sculpterra Wine Gallery:
Unfortunately it was unseasonably hot:  106 degrees in the shade!  We were very thankful for the small but dedicated audience who toughed it out, and for the nice musicians we met as well.

I don’t have a picture from our San Luis Obispo gig, but a highlight was meeting a relative of one of my Chicago friends, who came specifically to see us… it’s SO wonderful to meet friends of friends, or relatives, along the way, makes you feel so much more welcome!  We really appreciated the attentive audience, too.

We performed at Genghis Cohen, in L.A., to a small but welcoming audience.  The size of the audience was reflected in our payment; but the attentiveness, friendliness, and encouragement of the audience reflected on our loving this gig regardless.  We were so pleased to share this night with the talented and sweet Courtney Leigh Heins:
Genghis_01 GC_02

We performed two wonderful house concerts in L.A. as well, to be discussed in the next part.  Our next gig was in Silver City NM, and while we were paid, fed, and treated well, turns out the night we played was not normally a music night, so the audience was small.  The staff seemed to enjoy us though! 🙂

Our next show was in Lebanon, MO, where we opened up for Walenia — a truly lovely couple, Corey and Shelley, and their band — thanks to my friend Chris Darby who introduced us.   (Take a look at the tour schedule on Chris’s page, if you really want to be impressed… that’s a LOT of dates!)  This was a nice show, because we were made to feel so welcome, and we got to play for Walenia’s audience.  Fun night!

We opened for Walenia on 9/27 at Simplicity Coffee and Tea, Lebanon MO
We opened for Walenia on 9/27 at Simplicity Coffee and Tea, Lebanon MO

Our final Tour show was at 1900 Park in St. Louis, a lovely gallery/performance space.  Our audience was comprised mostly of friends and family of Jane, and our talented friend Bill Isles, who opened for us.  This was an audience pre-disposed to like us.  It was a wonderful way to end our tour!
StLouis_03 StLouis_01 StLouis_02 StLouis_04


One thought on “The TOUR Aspect, Part I: Getting the gigs”

  1. What a great blog post. Sue, I am so happy for you that you got to do this tour with Jane. Maybe now you will start to be “known” out West, and more gigs will come your way. Love you!


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