Arts Desk

Sins of Admission: Why It’s a Problem When a Club Asks, “Who Are You Here to See?”

artsdesk_08

For a moment, on the first night he worked the door at the Velvet Lounge, Andrew Bucket thought he was staring death in the face. Her name was Allison Wolfe.

"I was excited to meet her, let alone work the show at all," he says of the Partyline singer, who helped found the riot-grrrl movement in the early ’90s as a member of Bratmobile. "At that point in time, it was 2007, the Lounge was under different management, and they were doing door polling"—a fairly common practice by which venues ask patrons what act they’ve come to see and sometimes use that data to determine payouts at the end of the night. "Allison saw me making the sheet and flipped out."

"Fuck that," she told him. "All the bands are getting paid tonight or we are not doing this." And so at the end of the night, Partyline, which had assembled the show, took the evening’s percentage and distributed it evenly among the three bands.

The Velvet Lounge no longer polls at shows, and Bucket, now the club’s booker, is a passionate opponent of the practice. "It connotes a disinterest in the band," he says. "It really just assumes that the bands don’t know each other, that they’re not willing to cooperate. It puts this competitive edge to the whole thing. It’s bogus."

Local bands have few options these days: DIY spaces like 611 Florida, Kansas House, and DC Mini Gallery have shuttered; the Black Cat books many more touring acts than local ones. That leaves the Velvet Lounge, Comet Ping Pong, and the three spaces in D.C. that poll at the door: DC9, the Red and the Black, and Rock & Roll Hotel.

"We are absolutely not looking to fuck the bands out of the money—if they are pulling in the numbers," says Steve Lambert, who books and partially owns those three venues. "That doesn’t work for anybody."

He says his venues use door polling mostly for his records—so that the next time he’s considering placing a band on a bill, he’ll have an idea of how many people they can draw. He says he mostly polls shows with only local and small-scale touring bands—if a band is on the road, he’ll usually throw it some extra money. Sometimes, he’ll hand bands their percentage—in the case of his venues, 80 percent of the door after an overhead cost is met—at the end of the night and let them divide it themselves. But in other cases, he feels that paying bands based on their draw incentivizes marketing. "I do not believe people should be paid on who they are," he says. "Thievery Corporation gets paid a lot of money because they can draw 5,000 people."

"I’ve always used this system in different markets. It’s a practice that’s done throughout the country," says Lambert, who used to book small- and medium-sized venues in Lansing, Mich. "There are people who aren’t fans of it, but people who aren’t fans of it are people who don’t draw."

Last week, an Arts Desk post by the D.C. rapper Head-Roc titled "Venues ‘Polling’ Practice Is Some Bullshit" attracted 40 comments. "It is a fundamentally flawed system and it doesn’t take into consideration a number of variables," wrote one commenter. "Polling is the fairest way to tell who has the bigger fan base," wrote another.

Dante Ferrando, who owns the Black Cat and drummed in the post-hardcore band Gray Matter in the ’80s and early ’90s, doesn’t like polling. "If you put a band on a bill, if they didn’t draw, they still played, they still came to the club. It’s usually the out-of-town band," he says. "To me, the whole process makes it a little more of a club vs. the band kind of feel."

Opponents of door polling offer several arguments: First, it encourages bands to compete when they should be working together to promote a show; as a result, a music scene’s sense of  community suffers. Second, while venues and bands should share the responsibility of marketing, ultimately, whoever curated the show—the booker—owns its success ("If we don’t get a good turnout, that’s on me," Bucket says). Last, polling isn’t necessarily accurate. For one, patrons may be there to see several bands, or none in particular, or the person on the door might get things wrong. "The door guy’s got a lot to do, and it’s hard to do it fair," Ferrando says.

But Lambert says that venues are doing their jobs by providing space and marketing acts through their Web sites, in advertisements, and through social media. "So we should take the loss for them not drawing?" he says. "Most of the time we recoup the loss [of promoting and running a show], and most of the time the bands get paid."

By Mike Stuto’s estimation, the practice emerged in New York in the early ’90s in smaller rock clubs, and eventually spaces that booked small and medium-sized national acts, like the Mercury Lounge, followed suit. His East Village club, Brownies, which he converted into a bar in 2002, sometimes used door polling, usually for bills of bands whose members didn’t know one another. "We started doing it because bands were demanding it," he says. By basing the system on empirical data, he says, he avoided disputes over who deserved the most money. He says the polls generally struck him as fair; when bands took issue with their accuracy, they were usually "grasping at straws."

Jaxx Nightclub in Springfield, Va., doesn’t door-poll, but it does ask the area bands that play its Localpalooza showcases about six times a year—mostly metal bands whose members are between about 16 and 20 years old—to sell their own tickets. Owner Jay Nedry then pays bands based on how many tickets they’ve sold. He says it’s instructive to them, even if it can be demoralizing. "It’s a good kick in the ass," he says. "It makes people understand it isn’t free."

While Lambert says "no one has ever bitched about it from a band," some local groups say they’re uncomfortable with polling. "For a band starting out, it can kind of suck," says
Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes, "It’s kind of degrading, I guess." Because "it’s already so hard to make a dime as a musician," says Rob Pierangeli of Casper Bangs, "maybe you shouldn’t scrutinize over who gets paid how much."

J. Sequential of Screen Vinyl Image says bands that dislike polling should simply avoid venues that do it; his band usually contacts groups with which it’s playing beforehand and agrees to split the pot. Because three D.C. venues poll, "I think what happens is a natural divide is created in the city," he writes in an e-mail. "There are bands who are looking to get the bigger shows and get paid more and get more exposure, and I believe they will run with the other bands who are after the same thing. But there are bands who just don’t want to deal with that type of noise and just want to play shows and hook their friends up who are on tour and at least get them some gas money without having to clear $250 at the door."

Aaron Estes, who sings and plays guitar in Bellman Barker, takes the opposite view. "Most bands at the polling level (including mine) aren’t really making any money anyway, so I don’t really care," he writes in an e-mail. "The money from a show might help pay some tolls or cover gas, but it’s never going to cover the expense of missing work until you’re playing bigger venues to a bigger fan base, and at that point, no one is going to be polling the door."

Correction | Feb. 17, 2010: Due to an editing error by Managing Editor Andrew Beaujon, the article incorrectly stated that the Black Cat books many more touring acts than local ones. According to the club’s booker, Vicki Savoula, between 50 and 60 percent of bands that play the Black Cat are local.

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  • Rob

    My problem with polling is more about how a poll is used and it's accuracy. Doormen never poll every person that comes to a show and some people come without a specific band in mind. So, if the poll is just used to figure out a rough percentage for a split I'm not going to complain, but if the club says "The poll says you brought 30 people, here's $4 for each" then they are simply screwing you.

    I once played a show at DC9 where we counted that we brought 50-60 people (the show sold out) and the door guy claimed we had 31. Half of our friends said they were never polled at all. That is just a blatant attempt to rip off a hard working band, and it's inexcusable (thankfully the manager worked it out with us, he was very friendly about it).

  • JESUS.

    “There are people who aren’t fans of it, but people who aren’t fans of it are people who don’t draw.”

    That is absolutely NOT the only reason a band would have a problem with this scene-destroying practice. This ignorant, cocky motherfucker is RUINING music in this city. It's disgusting.

  • m

    Eh, if you play Rock n Roll, it's not like they are going to pay you anyways. Headline, bring 200+ and after the obscene overhead you'll see enough for a round of PBR. Not headlining, sorry, here's your water cup. DC9, a bit better and Velvet definitely the best. The math seems to work as follows, smaller the venue, fewer people, cheaper door and always a larger payout. I like playing and don't really care about the money other than recoup costs, but seeing what RnR pulls definitely leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

  • http://www.bluesausageinfant.com BSI

    And of course there's the case of "I came to see Headliner X" and "Unknown Opener W" ended up blowing away the headliner...hey, doorman! I need to change my vote! Hey! Justice must prevail!!!!

    so much for science.

  • No Art

    @m:
    Velvet has serious payout issues sometimes too. I've been paid as much as 200 dollars for a night there, but as little as 50, for roughly similar draws (in the 35-45 range individually for our band, 55-60 on the night). This is a well-known fact if you ask around. Velvet also tends to be unwilling/unable to tell you the split in advance. Red and the Black would be the best deal in terms of sheer payout if it weren't so hard to get people to go there.

  • Joe

    What about other venues outside DC like Jammin' Java or IOTA? I heard different policies at both. Does anyone have any experiences with either of these venues?

  • http://www.blackcatdc.com Vicki

    Hi, I book Black Cat. This statement is false: "the Black Cat books many more touring acts than local ones."

  • Ahmad

    Can we all agree that Steve Lambert is a gigantic piece of shit who needs to be run out of town angry pitchfork/torch-wielding mob style?

  • Ted

    Steve Lambert is a liar. He claims:

    "While Lambert says “no one has ever bitched about it from a band,” some local groups say they’re uncomfortable with polling."

    But I watched a band that opened for us (and, I believe, drew as many people as us) get $15 while we got $95. I repeat: $15. And Lambert heard some words. He just doesn't want to admit it.

  • http://www.upsetthesetup.com DJ EUROK | UPSET THE SETUP

    go-go, punk rock, DC hip hop
    POLLING AT VENUES HAS GOT TO STOP!

  • right..

    “no one has ever bitched about it from a band”
    “no one has ever bitched about it from a band”
    “no one has ever bitched about it from a band”
    “no one has ever bitched about it from a band”
    “no one has ever bitched about it from a band”

    Wow! STEVE LAMBERT IS A LIAR.

  • No Art

    Yeah, and the people who don't bitch to him, don't bitch to him because they are afraid to say anything, due to the amount of power he wields... not because they are okay with it.

  • http://www.head-roc.com Head-Roc

    it's so great to see our music community chiming in heavily on this very serious issue that addresses allowing proven longtime, veteren, groundbreaking, socially conscious and significant and benefiting musicans, represnting some of the BEST talent in this city, fair access to the BEST venues.

    and yes, we do Funk, ROCK, and Soul music! so, for sure we belong in these great music houses. wtf? in fact, many times, we blow the status quo cats who seem to always get the bookings nod to rock at the hottest spots off the friggin stage.

    after having to deal with unanswered emails from certain bookers, unanswered phone calls from their gatekeeper plants set up to filter me out, on top of having to deal with the questions from my fellow Chocolate City funk, rock, and soul music peers - im speaking out against this disenfranchising fraternity.

    the problem has been stinking in dc for a long time. simply put, the best local bands are not getting on the best stages with the best sound systems at places with the best reputations.

    and its not because we dont ask, or arent respectful, or cant rock the house - or dont draw people. shit, not every show on some these venues bills are packed you know. the difference is that why are some bands allowed repeat opportunities to build in certain venues, and some are not? the truth is that some places dont want a certain element inside thier houses... and guess what Chocolate city... thats not right.

    some like to say, "cant you go somewhere else and do that?"

    ...and thats what they used to tell the folks before us sittin at the lunch counters in the south looking for the equal and fair treatment that EVERYONE else gets. just because you dont like us, doenst mean you can refuse us. in fact, you have to serve us and grant the same access you grant others who you do like. its called equall opporutunity UNDER THE LAW. now, think about that for a minmute...

    so this "polling" shit is part of a new sophisticated way to say "no" to certain groups. since you cant legall do it (civil rights), certain venues have come up with 21st century clever methods that perpetuate our much segregated scene. yes, polling is one of them...

    another, and maby the worst, is when the venues tokenize a person from within the element they are trying to keep out... and make him or her a.......... "GATEKEEPER" - one who they know will not bring much of that undesired element to their places of business.

    i will be addressing this gatekeeper element in future posts... but right now, im out to show that this "polling" bullshit is REALLY a cover up for something else...

    holla Black... and thanks so much for the love Chocolate City!

    hold on tight. its getting bumpier.

  • Ryan

    I played in a band that Lambert booked. We worked our asses off to pack the house and did. He put us on a terrible night with a mismatched emo band that cleared the room of our fans after we played and brought none of their own. He paid them 3 times what he paid us and claimed we did not bring in nearly the numbers we knew we had.

    Dante rules. Viva Black Cat.

  • (not) steve lambert

    Listen guys,

    I am just a hardworking underground rock booking agent. I do this as a labor of love. I routinely pay bands out of my own pocket and I have gone many nights eating nothing but Ramen. It is really insulting and hurtful that the DC community, that I have devoted my life to, would turn on me over the issue of polling at the door. My clubs use this practice to determine a particular band's draw, so that we can set them up with the right shows in the future. We aren't trying to screw bands out of money- I have the greatest respect for DC bands. The DC scene is the one of the most innovative, passionate and sincere groups of bands I have ever encountered. As a veteran of the MIchigan underground rock scene, I feel I can speak with authority on this.

    Since there is overwhelming negative feedback coming from all the bands in DC, I have decided to open our doors at DC9 for a town hall meeting of sorts. If you are in a local band that has played at one of my clubs in the past or are interested in working with us in the future, I encourage you to stop by. It will be held at DC9 on Saturday the 20th at 4 PM before the night's show. Everyone over 21 will be treated to a complementary PBR.

    I sincerely hope we can agree upon a solution to this controversy. I find it troubling that so many people in this city dislike me and my clubs. I truly have the DC music community's best interests at heart.

    Thank you,
    Steve

  • right..

    Head-ROC: LOL STFU you conspiratorial, racist nutjob.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com Jonathan L. Fischer

    I asked Steve to confirm that he wrote the above note. He writes that he did not. I've modified the poster's name to reflect that.

    Play nice, everyone.

  • John

    The polling at the door absolves the promoter of having to put together a bill that works. If no one shows up he just points at the bands. I have been on a couple of Lambert bills and they both were awful. Snotty staff, lack of promotion, the works. In addition, worse than the polling, he makes out of town bands book their own shows and makes them find the opening acts. This leads to some hilariously mismatched bills, guaranteeing a low turnout. The polling is a symptom of bad booking practices, rather than the main problem.

  • http://www.moonpieinthesky.com Alison

    While I know this article was written more from the perspective of a local DC band (one of which I am a member of), just imagine how much this must suck for not-so-famous touring bands who need to at least recoup a few of their touring expenses. In this situation the unproven newcomer doesn't stand a chance against the familiar local bands. I think if they want to do something like this they should do an exit poll and ask the audience which band they liked the best. Battle of the bands!

  • good luck in your next town lambert

    well..most local bands no longer want to play r&r hotel or red&black anyway cause they are inconvenient for our fans to get to, the shows are lazily booked, and staff is rude. good luck staying open in a city where you treat the bands like shit, alienate them by unfair practices, and dont give back to your community. house shows are more fun and the blackcat is far and away the best venue in town to play at. so does lambert even matter anyway?

  • clavius

    First, I would like to say that I changed the Velvet Lounge's polling practice when I started doing shows there in 2006 (Bucket started doing door in 2007 when it was still under its original management/ownership). They paid out bands based on how much the bands individually drew, just like Lambert's venues, but I refused to adhere to that. I booked DC9 and the Red and Black before Lambert came to town, and I refused to pay bands via this method at those venues as well. Even though the doorperson still polled at my shows, I never ONCE paid out bands based on how many people they drew. This practice represents everything I abhor about clubs exploiting musicians.

    The ONLY positive aspect to polling is to see who consistently draws, and even then, there are so many variables to a show that it still isn't completely accurate.

    Second, I would like to address this:

    "Velvet has serious payout issues sometimes too. I’ve been paid as much as 200 dollars for a night there, but as little as 50, for roughly similar draws (in the 35-45 range individually for our band, 55-60 on the night). This is a well-known fact if you ask around. Velvet also tends to be unwilling/unable to tell you the split in advance. Red and the Black would be the best deal in terms of sheer payout if it weren’t so hard to get people to go there."

    This was certainly the truth pre-2007, and might be the truth now, and if it is, Bucket needs to explain the deal to the bands prior to the show. In the two-plus years I booked the Velvet -- and I am still booking bigger shows there -- I always made sure everybody knew where they stood.

    I'll admit that I paid the touring bands the majority of the door, but no local band has played one of my shows thinking they were going to make more than the touring band. Unless the touring band(s) were friends with the local(s) and they had a prior agreement before accepting a show with me, I paid the touring acts enough to cover transportation and food before the locals earned anything.

    The bottom line is that the band should know exactly where they stand at the end of the night. I have never had a problem explaining to somebody what the expenses are and how many paid and were on the guest list. These days, it is so easy for a band to feel that they are getting ripped off, so it is important as a promoter to build trust with the bands and agents he/she works with. It appears as if Lambert has earned no trust nor respect in this town. In fact, I don't think I've met one person in a band that speaks highly of him. Bands just deal with it because there is a lack of legitimate clubs in DC.

    "I am just a hardworking underground rock booking agent. I do this as a labor of love. I routinely pay bands out of my own pocket and I have gone many nights eating nothing but Ramen."

    This is hysterical, only because I've heard this excuse, as if it absolves him from his current not-so-underground practices.

    Bands who truly disagree with this practice and the way that Lambert runs his venues should simply refuse to play at them. I know there is a lack of options, but people need to be more resourceful and find alternative spaces. There's no reason why a vastly populated city like DC with such a rich musical tradition should suffer from a lack of venues. This is why I started doing shows in my own damn living room.

    "That is absolutely NOT the only reason a band would have a problem with this scene-destroying practice. This ignorant, cocky motherfucker is RUINING music in this city. It’s disgusting."

    "Can we all agree that Steve Lambert is a gigantic piece of shit who needs to be run out of town angry pitchfork/torch-wielding mob style?"

    Yes and yes.

  • http://youporn.com Andrew Bouquet

    i can confirm that scott V never, ever, ever used door polling at the velvet lounge as a means of determining payout breakdowns.

    the case was that he was sharing the booking responsibilities with a sound-guy who has since been fired, and it was their m.o to do that. NOT scott's

    and as soon as scott was the primary booking contact at VL, the policy changed, which was coincidentally shortly after that partyline show. this wasn't mentioned in my interview.

    ***can i just say***

    regarding the singular comment about VLs "payout issues"

    *touring bands are going to get more money than locals, or at least equal money.

    *it has happened that bands imagine that more have paid than actually have. (example: if each band has 4 people on the guest list, thats an extra 12 or so people in the room who are not paying for the show, and the crowd looks bigger than it actually is)

    *ive never been reluctant or vague when asked what our overhead and payout breaks down to. i know this because, theres nothing to be vague about. a vague response is, "i dunno, depends on how many you draw." my answer is really easy to give because its the same every time unless you have a guarantee, which is another discussion altogether.

    ****im by no means a seasoned veteran at this game like Scott V, ive been at it exactly one year. it's been a really educational year, but i def. messed up a couple times.

    that said, i love doing this more than ever, and i got a call from Head Roc this morning about this string of articles, and i would hope, as he hopes, that bands take a certain amount of initiative and let the promoters/bookers know that you dont want to do business under that system.

    furthermore, heres a direct quote from Chris Grier about what to do when you go to shows (sorry if its TL;DR):

    Door polling is both vile and ridiculous. It rewards all the wrong things. And you don't have to put up with it, either as a band or as a patron. Here, watch:

    Q: "Who are you here to see?"
    A: "No one. I'm here to BE seen."
    or
    A: "None of your fucking business."
    or
    A: "(Name another band not on the bill.)"
    or
    A: "Yer momma."
    or
    A: "The bands." (For people with tiny cojones.)

    As a band, when a club says they poll at the door, you can simply say, "Not tonight, you don't." It's that easy.

    What if the club refuses? Simple. Pack up yr stuff and split. Here's a script for you: "Sorry it's not working out for us tonight. Get in touch when you drop that policy, maybe we can work something out in the future, adios, etc." Sure, you'll lose out on whatever pittance you would have (not) made that night, but you'll instantly gain a rep as someone who doesn't take shit from people, which is, or ought to be, worth much more. Also, you will have avoided the experience of having to play for people like that while knowing you aren't making squat and they are making a ton on booze sales. Maybe they ban you from their venue, maybe they blackball you, maybe they label you "difficult." All to the good, I say. That's one more batch of jackasses that you won't have to deal with.

    And lest we forget the notion of fairness in all of this, let's point out that polling at the door is fair to absolutely no one. What if yr there to see one band you happen to know, yet you wind up at the end of the night liking one of the other bands you've never heard of a whole lot more? What do you do then? Go back to the door guy and say you want to change yr answer? What if you like both bands, but not equally? Do you say, "I'm here to see Band X and Band Y both, but I like Band Y about 17.5 percent more, so split up my vote that way," etc. etc. etc.

    As a means of divvying up the take at the door, polling is obviously and provably stupid. Let's say I'm working in the kitchen at the exact same venue. One line cook fries the french fries. Another is grilling the burger. A third is making the salad. And the bar patron eats the burger but leaves fries and salad untouched. Does that mean the fry cook and the guy working the salad station don't get paid that night? Hell no. They still had to show up for work for X number of hours. And so do the bands. Who would bother to show up at work if they didn't know how much they were going to get paid that night? "Bartenders, for example!" you say. Well yeah, but their pay is linked to how hard they work. If you aren't fast and attentive, if you aren't charming and funny and witty, if you don't upsell, etc., you are going home with pocket change, gum wrappers and paper clips. In a polling situation, a band can work its collective arse off and get hosed depending upon whatever answers the audience members decide to tell the guy on the stool at any given moment. It's stupid and adds a needlessly cruel element of unpredictability to a pay situation that is already shaky at best.

    What if yr actually working the door and you hate this practice? Don't ask people. And if the club or "promoter" or booking agent is gonna make you do this, and hold you accountable w/ paperwork, just create an extra response on yr little notepad, call it "didn't answer/all the bands" or somesuch, and tick off everybody's response in that column. Or ask them anyway, but alternate the responses so that, by the end of the night, the bands all have an equal number. That sort of thing. Use yr noggin and subvert, subvert, subvert.

  • Aaron Estes from Bellman Barker

    Well hey now ... It's going a bit far to say I "take the opposite view."

    I'd love to make more money playing music. That would be awesome! My main issue with polling doesn't have to do with money though. I just don't want one more thing to stress out about before a show!

    Also, I'm pretty sure you can request that payout not be based on the poll.

    Also, You have to chip in for the touring band in a polling situation; you just do.

  • dr. morbius

    "What about other venues outside DC like Jammin’ Java or IOTA? I heard different policies at both. Does anyone have any experiences with either of these venues?"

    Iota is great place to play and to see bands, they paid ($ and comp meals/beer) us for our hard work. While on the other hand, opening for bands at DC9, we were told use that we aren't going to get paid because "opening up for a national touring bad" should be payment enough, even when the show was sold out.

  • Rikki Nadir

    As someone who has played shows at the Velvet Lounge as well as many other area clubs over the years, I can honestly say that no area club has ever treated myself and my band better than what I have experienced at the VL, especially since the new/recent ownership took over. Both Scott V and now Andrew are more than fair, and understand bands, compensation, and booking from both sides of the coin: the need for the club to make money and survive, and the need for a band to be compensated and treated fairly.

    I can make no such claim for the shows I've been involved with at DC9, Red and the Black, and the R&R Hotel. At these venues, you were treated more like a commodity at best, or ignored and discounted at worst.

  • ahahahaha

    hahahahaha steve lambert is the fucking biggest douche on earth.

    he's never heard bands complain about this? that's because he's out of touch with actual bands, and more in touch with money.

    OH, and he's too lazy/out of touch to book opening bands. he asks the headliners to locate their own openers in DC. and he doesn't promote for shit.

    RECAP: he owns a room. doesn't spend any money on promoting or any effort on booking good shows. he makes money by fucking bands out of their money so he can make his.

    "WAHHHH BUT I WAS AN UNDERGROUND DIY BOOKER IN MICHIGAN!!!"

    ok, dude!

  • ahahahaha

    also, its telling that on this very URL, somebody asked steve lambert to verify that he made those comments, to which he replied that he did not.

    so whether or not bands have voiced opposition to him, he's aware of the very dialogue happening here, yet chooses to say nothing.

  • John

    It's very simple:
    1. Do not play shows at Lambert venues.
    2. Do not go to shows at his venues.
    3. Encourage your friends and bands you know to do the same.

    Go back when he changes his policies and gets a personality graft.

  • http://tronikdc.com 2501

    Well, while I think this practice is at best seriously flawed, I do think it's better than a practice I was told about at a chain of venues in London.

    They have tied their booking system into their bar computers, and they pay bands based on -how much alcohol is sold while they are playing-. First off, it totally removes any value from the actual music--if a really crappy band are popular with a bunch of thugs who drink heavily, they're better than a more talented band whose fans want to drive home safely?--it's also a very bad assumption, since a band's fans probably buy -the least- alcohol during the band's actual set... I wonder what kind of arguments those managers get to hear from the bands...

    Apparently these same venues also measure the value of bands by how much money they make off their (pay) parking lots, too. So bands whose fans use public transit or cabs are worth less...

    Just saying... IT COULD BE WORSE!

  • ahahahaha

    agreed. but just saying "it could be worse" doesnt address what a shithead this guy is. theres always a worse situation!

  • Dixie Normous

    The Black Cat does NOT book 50-60% local bands. 5-10% is a more likely figure, and generous at that. Their schedule is online and anyone can see it. You had it right, City Paper, retract that correction.

  • Dixie Normous

    Also, Asylum in Adams Morgan is a local venue booking local bands that is very fair with payment, and, last I checked they do not do door polling. They should be given some acknowledgement in this article.

  • Haterade

    It actually turns out that both Vicki and Dixie Normous are wrong. For the month of March, as it currently stands on the calendar, there are 18 locals and 41 non-locals playing. This is 30% local, 70% non-local.

    The more you know...

  • http://www.blackcatdc.com Vicki

    Hi, I calculated the number of local bands vs. touring bands on the calendar for the ENTIRE month of February before making the comment above. Here is the breakdown: 34 locals and 25 touring acts, aka, 58% local acts. March is not yet completely booked, and obviously, touring bands end up on the calendar before local ones because their shows are usually booked much further out. March also tends to be the busiest touring season of the year because of SxSW, but I'd still bet that we'll end up around 50% or more locals when all is confirmed.

  • http://youporn.com Andrew Bouquet

    Its true, it should be mentioned that these following venues have good sound and do not do door polling and are booked by good people who i can vouch for:

    Asylum- booked by Kelly Green
    Comet- booked by sasha lord and kalani
    quarry house tavern- booked by Tara Robles
    black cat- booked by vicki

    the following DIY spaces are active:
    fort awesome
    the cherch
    the dollhouse
    party house
    paper sun aka casablanca

  • http://www.head-roc.com Head-Roc (still)

    Businesses have to provide THE SAME opportunities fairly to ALL in the competitive field...

    This is not happening on the Indie music circuit here in Chocolate City where the demographics suggest that the booking trends at certain Indie music venues are biased AWAY from certain groups of People.

    Real Talk, and very very very easy to prove.

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  • Haha BS

    Bucket said

    "the case was that he was sharing the booking responsibilities with a sound-guy who has since been fired, and it was their m.o to do that. NOT scott’s"

    Apparently Andrew either you know you are a liar or you have been brainwashed by an embarrassed Abdul and Scott.

    I hired Scott, a booking agent who wanted to work at Velvet even though he had been talking shit about it to bolster his own standing in the scene for some time.

    I booked not because I wanted to but because I was told to. And I booked bands as I was told to do by the owner.

    As far as my leaving the club goes, I did just that and did so by choice as Abdul is a complete idiot. I lined up another gig and called them and quit.

    Abdul was unbelievably disrespectful from the first day he walked in the door and anyone who was around he and Scott knew exactly why. Scott had been prepping Abdul for months so he could take over. Abdul had no idea who I really was and was stunned when I quit even though he treated my like total shit for no reason.

    Shame on you Andrew, I hired you and I liked you a lot.
    Maybe some day you will realize how badly Abdul treats you too. I know he does because people tell me so.

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