Last week This Machine is Me was joined by 1997 and National Product at New Brookland Tavern. According to my expert calculations 90% percent of the crowd that was at the show was there to see TMIM. I know what you are thinking. Isn’t 1997 on Victory Records and don’t they average around 1,000 plays a day on Myspace. Yes this is true, but that doesn’t always transfer over to fans coming to shows. They played a great show though and more people should have been there to see them. Only excuse was that it was early on a Wednesday night. But what about National Product? Don’t they get a lot of press through music websites that should get their music in front of enough people to bring people out to shows? Not in Columbia, SC. Maybe in the OC. Unfortunately this tour needed one more band on a slightly bigger level to bring out some people to meet the guarantee they surely had.
Anyways This Machine is Me did their job and put on a great show. This was my first time seeing them live and their synths were way more prominent than I imagined they would be. They used them really well and really found a sound of their own. From listening to the songs on their Myspace prior to the show I had imagined them being more guitar driven. I think with the recording of their CD (which is being released on October 24th at Headliners) that Blake found a home with his keyboards. Again I am saying this not having seen them before the recording process so this is just the feeling I get. From watching their live show it seemed as if everyone in the band was really comfortable with their roles. Some of their roles are new as the band has shifted it’s line up since it’s conception. Jayna said before the show that she was feeling a little bit under the weather, but I heard no evidence of that. Her voice was strong and on point all night as you can tell from the video.
This was one of the quietest shows that I have heard at New Brookland in a long time. I think that is beacuse most of the bands that i hear there use a lot of loud guitars and distortion. This Machine Is Me went in a slightly different direction Wednesday night giving fans the oppurtunity to really hear the more techical clean guitar parts and synths that build their songs. Sometimes at New Brookland you really have to choose one or the other. And every other venue for that matter, not to target New Brookland, but if you are playing smashmouth thick guitar parts you aren’t going to hear the keyboard parts with it. And you are going to have to turn up the level of the drums and go ahead and bring the vocals and bass with that. But now all of the levels are so loud that it is a blur in the listeners ear, so you might as well start screaming and then you are a totally different band…you get my point at least. Basically saying that This Machine Is Me found the sound they needed.
On a slightly different subject.
I’ve always had a slight issue with the fact that sometimes mid to lower level touring acts use local acts to make their money from city to city. Like I said before almost everyone was there to see This Machine is Me and would have come no matter who was playing with them. In this case the local opener did a great job of promoting the show and did their job well. Not only did they get people out to the show most of them stuck around for a while to check out the other bands.
In this case, the show was booked by a booking agency. And if the booking agency is going to take a shot on booking touring bands they need to find out what kind of draw they have in other cities because guarantees can be a bitch. Basically, pay each band what they deserve. I have no idea what the bands got paid the other night, but I have been in the shoes of the opener before and have gotten screwed. So here it is laid out. If you bring people to the show you should be paid accordingly. If you are on tour and bring the same amount of people as the local band you should get paid more than the local band. If you are on tour and bring minimal people you shouldn’t get paid. You should work really hard to sell some merch, but you shouldn’t get paid. If you are a local opener on a show that would have sold out whether you played it or not, you should only get a small percentage.
Here is the problem. I was at a show a little over a month ago and one of SC’s biggest bands at the moment was booked with a band filling an open date on Warped Tour. I would say the SC band had between 125-175 people there, while the national act brought 50 ish. Great crowd. The pay percentages weren’t even close to justifiably fair. I’ll also say it was out of the hands of the venue.
Don’t agree? Comment. I’m open to why I might be wrong or maybe you have experienced this and agree with me. Let us know.