I read an article in Music Connection Magazine, Vol. XXVIII, No. 14 07/05/04 to 07/18/04 written by Lynn Bronstein. Pick up a copy at your local library to read the full article or you can order a copy here Bronstein spoke with a number of industry showcase veterans. The article pertains to "showcases" in the Los Angeles area. A true "showcase" is an event that industry is invited to and do in fact, attend for the purpose of checking out talent.
Here are some tips and tidbits on making your next showcase work for you.
Choice a showcase that is best for you and your music. Some require artists to pre-sell tickets, some venues are small, some are held at major clubs, some provide a backline, but some do not.
Bernard Baur of Music Connection says that the biggest mistake artists make is playing a showcase before they are ready. He recommends getting feedback before doing a "showcase."
Getting in the door: "Showcases" generally require artists be booked well in advance of the show. Jenna Leigh, who runs the "Circle of Songs" showcases stated that an artist must apply for membershp and must be reviewed by the Board of Directors. Leigh said that being a member does not guarantee a showcase.
Former Elektra A & R rep & Cat Club booker, Peter Torres, tells artists their first song should be their best song, the second song catchier than the rest, and the third song a ballad.
The Load-in: The time factor is an issue of getting equipment on & off the stage. Most showcases do not give you a soundcheck, but rather a simple line check. Baur suggests develop a good relationship with the sound guy and tip him before the set, $10 or $20. Be sure the venue is organized.
The right time slot: Most bookers agree that showcases work best 8pm to 10pm.
After the Show: Following the showcase, artists should stick around and mingle with the audience and industry. Build your network & relationships. When everyone wants to talk to you at the same time, take their business card and get back with them the next day.
Hitting the Wrong Note?: Torres suggests that most performance screw-ups come from lack of experience and bands should wait until they're really ready to give a show without making mistakes under pressure. One important tip: Act naturally. Industry & your fans want to see you in your natural element.
The Results are In: Showcases have their successes. A & R may notice you or another band may want you to perform with them. Showcases help artists to polish their live acts, gain visibility, and build their fan bases.
Baur stated that every artist should play every show like it's a showcase because you never who will be in the audience.
10 Showcases in the LA area:
It Came From Nashville: Country music showcase held monthly at Genghis Cohen. Submit demo with 3 songs to Tonya Watts at firstname.lastname@example.org
Music Connection's Best Kep Secrets: Send package (CD, photo, one page bio, & schedule of upcoming events) to Music Connection, 16130 Ventura Blvd., Ste 540, Encina CA 91436. Mark the envelope "Showcases" and include genre of music & contact info. For more info, email Bernard Baur at BBatMC@aol.com or call Len Fagan at 818-907-0027.
Ruby Tuesdays: Rock bands every Tuesday at the Key Club. Four bands appear each week; one band does a monthly residency, with 3 other bands playing for each night. Send audition demo with 3 songs and bio to Carrie Istad, ATTN: "Ruby", 9039 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood CA 90069, email@example.com
Songwriters Guild of America Showcases: Showcases to begin in the fall. Call Eric Morimisato at 323-462-1108.