Arts Desk

Indie on the Move: Yelp for Bands, Wherein Anonymous Commenters Hate on Your Venue

Last night at the Rock & Roll Hotel, while Candy Claws moved its gear off the stage and A Sunny Day in Glasgow began setting up, I had a conversation with a dude who plays in some D.C. bands about useful shit that we hate. This yielded a long list! Plus one sorta-useful, kinda-annoying website I'd never heard of: Indie on the Move.

Basically, it's Yelp for bands, a source of information about venues and booking (and an avenue, it claims, to connecting touring acts with show bookers). Lots of the information is band-submitted. Guess what? These bands have opinions!

Here's what they have to say about some D.C. venues:

The band Moonpie writes a stirring endorsement, but Anonymous has mixed feelings about Velvet Lounge:

Can be really good, but can also be really bad. One sound guy is great; the other is awful and can't even be bothered to stay upstairs and run the board after the first song in your set. Sometimes you get paid better than any other comparably sized club in DC, others the club steals money from the door. Not a bad option, but not my first choice either.

Cronos is no fan of DC9's neighborhood!

DC 9 is a decent small club, although the neighborhood is awful. Shows are usually pretty good, but I definitely recommend that bands keep an eye on their van. Theft happens!

Not so much love for Electric Maid! One anonymous commenter:

The booker is really nice and helpful, but I just don't think there's any good reason for an artist to play here. They don't serve alcohol, there are no deals for performers, and they try to make a bunch of money off each show, leaving little to no money for the performers. I had a show booked here a couple of months ago, but they ended up having to cancel all of their shows due to some problems with their neighbors and the police. I respect and appreciate what they're trying to do as a community space, but I wouldn't suggest performing here unless you're just trying to support the collective.

And another:

avoid. The booker told me they keep the first $200, then split the door after that. However, if they dont get at least $200 then the band has to pay the difference to the club. Then they told me id also have to provide the PA system myself. And no free beverages for the bands. oy vey.

The Red and the Black is now the larger Red Palace, but here's a pre-expansion opinion. From last September:

The pay out is not spectacular if you are looking to make some money but we really pushed the show and got a ton of people to come and we had a great time at the Red and the Black. The staff is super-friendly and even held onto some things I left there for a month until I could pick it up again. There is only a PA upstairs but its small room so a small guitar amp and a decent bass amp is all you need. Steve, the booking agent is great with communication and is very up front about everything. Not a bad place to check out if you're looking to play in DC, but do get bands that draw cause there is not a built in crowd.

I won't block-quote it, but there's some good sparring between anonymous bands and Asylum's booker. Also! Love for Black Cat and Rock & Roll Hotel. No comments for 9:30 Club, but I guess the level of band that would use a site like this wouldn't be playing 9:30 anyway. My roommates have hosted a couple of matinee shows in our living room, but luckily those bands—and our noise-sensitive neighbors!—don't seem to be users of Indie on the Move.

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