Rock 45-One Rough Friday Night
The Wild West has promoted a few shows, and we have had a few challenges along the way. Bringing a crowd in is always a challenge. Breaking even at the end of a night, much less making a profit is another. Convincing a venue own to gamble with a handful of bands doing original music is yet another we have struggled with.
The challenge of bringing in a crowd is always the one that haunts me, and that really kicked in last Friday. I got an email last week that Do You Seek the Dark (DYSTD) was playing down in the city. They routinely do. This time, however, it was up town in the Times Square Area. All my travels into the city and only once have I ventured in Time Square to see a band and that was to BB Kings-UFO. All I remember about that show was that I was not allowed a certain point. I love UFO but screw that. Time Square forme is a tourist thing, not really a place for music until last Friday it seemed.
So i figured i would go and check it out. This is a new venue and I do like Do You Seek the Dark (DYSTD), and I figured I might see some other talent. Well I parked over in the 50s on 10th Avenue and wandered past Broadway, cutting right thru the Time Square masses. Truly, the heart of America. On the way back to the car, three young ladies commenting to each other that Sephora appeared to be open. And they were just three among a sea of thousands wandering all over the square and street. Movies, shows, musicals, eateries, all kinds of things. And now with Rock 45 on 45th Street, between Broadway and 7th Avenue, I figured now there is a place in Time Square where rockers can play up town.
Well maybe not. I went in and DYSTD did fine and I was 1 of maybe 20 people. They were the first band up. I did not really think yet about the crowds outside versus the 20 in there. The Venue could hold at least 100. We had 20. the next band was not DYSTD and brought none of their own fans, so soon enough there was no one there. I decided to head out, and likewise the othe handful or two followed. I am not picking on the second band, i don’t recall who they were, just not my sound.
My point is draw. Draw Draw Draw! The point hit home when I headed back to the car, cutting again thru Time Square. It hit me that Rock 45 was 200 feet away from the masses and crowds of Time Square. I had gone from 0 people to far too many in seconds.
So with that revelation – 0 to Millions in seconds, I concluded something is not right. Here is a place with a bartender, a lady at the door, and a soundman and sound system for 0 audience in some of the most expensive real estate in the world, and more important, so many people right outside their doors.
Now usually the promoters want to know how many people the bands are going to bring in. I certainly do it. I am guessing this was the strategy here too. Semi-noteworthy bands that will bring in their crowd. Brilliant when you are in the middle of Time Square. I don’t believe they advertised or anything. No having rockers on the street corners giving out backstage passes, no opening the Windows and broadcasting, no having the cops coming in. No lesbians, no drugs, no Jack Daniels, simply no draw. It seemed only to be band buzz in a new place miles away from the bands normal turf. Meanwhile you have all these people-tourists, outside your door, looking for the ‘real’ New York in between their Broadway shows, dinner, and their hotel room. If only they knew Rock45 were there.
All this week I have been thinking that this is the problem. Promoters just put a few bands in a room and the crowd will form. It is not just a question of good music but good promotion. I may not have figured it all out, but I do know enough that unless people know it is out there, they probably will not stumble on to it, whether they are in Times Sqare or White Plains.
(Orifgianlly Published Ont September 7th, 2007, in the Wild West All the Other Stuff Section-the wrong place in this case!)