I performed my first live show (solo) in over a year last night. I haven’t played in Indy since 2001. Here’s the setup –
A company called Gorilla Productions contacted me on myspace about a month ago. They said something to the effect of “blah blah blah Battle of the Bands come get your name out there August 26, blah.” (Note: Let me say that I appreciate Gorilla for finding me and asking me to be a part of this. I don’t blame them for the story about to be told. I’m thankful for the opportunity despite how this entry may or may not read).
So I signed up as a solo act. I was told I was the only solo act. This turned out to be erroneous and a reflection of events that will be explained in better detail shortly. On August 3, I was told I would receive tickets in the next few days (I realize that “few” is somewhat relative) that I would need to sell and market for the show. The more tickets I sold, the better time slot I’d get at the show. Sounds simple enough. Sounds great. I was on board.
The trouble began about August 17 (two weeks after that phone call) when the tickets finally arrived. The first problem being that the tickets took two weeks to arrive. There were 100 tickets in the bunch, and I had one week to sell as many as possible to try and not get the 6:00 slot. No one wants the 6:00 slot. No one would have been there, and more importantly no one would have been drunk enough to cheer like maniacs. (Note: maniacal cheering turned out to be the sole determining factor in who took the crown for this competition.)
I was still on board. One week and I had home-court advantage being that Birdy’s is a mere 15-minute drive from my house.
When the tickets arrived I noticed a subtle flaw in the ink-design. Instead of the tickets reading “Gorilla Productions presents Battle of the Bands featuring – Tyler Bender,” the tickets read “Gorilla Productions presents Battle of the Bands featuring – Tyler Beader.” You can see where I might get upset. How the F#@&! am I supposed to market myself and sell these tickets for a person that doesn’t exist? Whatever, I sold 47 tickets. Let’s recap…tickets are two weeks later than promised, and my name is that of an invisible person. Strike two, fellas.
Fast forward to the day of the show. I was told to show up at 4:00. I was there at 4:15. No one else showed up to the bar until 5:00. No one from Gorilla answered their phones. I was sitting outside by myself for a good while until the lovely Summer showed up at about 5:15. So I had to choose time slots. I chose 9:45. Great.
Well the band that sold the most tickets (or something) showed up at about 5:50 (10 minutes before showtime. They were stuck with a terrible slot and grumbled and bellyached until they got the time they wanted. Unfortunately, that pushed the rest of us back a half hour. This would have been fine had everyone known what time we were playing in advance rather than waiting for nearly 2 hours for Summer to juggle the times again and again. So I was pushed back until 10:15. I picked 9:45. I would not have picked 10:15. Strike three.
Remember when I said judging was based on audience cheering/reaction/applause? Well this whole contest is taking place on a Sunday night. That’s the day before Monday when 98% of America goes to work in the morning. So pushing this contest back at least a half-hour for two guys who couldn’t show up when they were instructed to, is somewhat (extremely) ridiculous. Not to mention that the allotted time for setup and take down was massively underrated. So the judging didn’t happen until midnight. Judging amounted to Summer going on stage and reading off the lineup on a sheet of paper and listening to people clap.
Thanks be to those that stuck around to cheer and clap for me during the “voting.” Jordan, Aubrey, Becca, Abby, Heather, Katie, Katie, Katie, Mitch, Andy, Mindy and Collin. They gave a valiant effort. Unfortunately for everyone an inexperienced teenage homeless man’s “New Found Glory” band that had never played in front of a live audience had the most people in the room at the time of the voting. So they won. Congrats on your victory, fellas.
I don’t think I should have won. I think another band should have won. I do not think the band that won should have been in the top-5. Whatever.
My show went well. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. I accomplished my goals:
- Make a good impression on the venue – Birdy’s apparently really enjoyed my set and made sure to get my contact info from me before I left.
- Introduce myself to other local bands for the chance to play with them – A band called The Last Good Year (also the band that had my vote for the band that should have won) introduced themselves to me and asked me if I’d be interested in opening for them sometime. We exchanged myspace information and we were on our way.
- Put on a good show for the people who bought tickets to see Tyler Beader put on a good show. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. Even Mindy said she liked it. Mindy is the same girl that said that she didn’t like my music but was only coming to support me.
So after all of the dog and pony charades that took place over the last few weeks, it ended up being quite satisfactory. Again, I don’t blame any particular party for the craziness. It’s all part of the business, I suppose.
One piece of advice for production companies – please make sure you promote bands properly and don’t misrepresent them. Honor your commitment to making them look good. The bands will do their part in trying to make you look good by showing up and selling your tickets. When you make the voting a joke for a “battle” of the bands, then it doesn’t bode well for your reputation. When you print the wrong names of the band that are selling your tickets on your promotional pieces, it makes you look amateur. I had a good time last night. But it wasn’t because it was a great easy process and show to be a part of. It was because of the people that came to see me. It was because of the hospitality of the venue.
Thanks to everyone for coming to support me. I hope you enjoyed the show. Thanks to Birdy's for hosting. Thanks to Gorilla for putting the event on.
Check out pictures from the show here (thanks to Mindy for taking these)