I’ve blogged a lot of late about the whole house concert phenomenon, and Lo and I seem to have inspired a few people with our house concert tour to get out and do it themselves. On Sunday afternoon, Neil Alexander and his amazing jazz/prog/fusion/rock trio Nail played a web-cast house concert from upstate New York, watched by about 15-20 in the room, and across the course of the gig, over 100 online.
It was an amazing gig – I’d heard bits of Neil’s music before, but the feeling of being part of an event, chatting with fellow viewers in the chat room on the UStream page, and sending messages to Neil between songs via the kind person who was monitoring the chat made it very special.
The Nail gig, given that it featured a full drum kit, upright and electric bass, and Neil on keyboards and grand piano was a much more intensive proposition than booking Lobelia and I. So here’s a breakdown of what booking the Steve and Lo Show involves.
The elements are:
- Us (the musicians)
- You and your house (the host)
- Equipment (which we have lots of, but are happy for you to provide too!)
- Travel (getting us and said musical toys to you)
- Accommodation (we’re happy with your fold out couch, honest)
- An audience (normally, your friends, family and a few local music fans who we know)
- Food (ranging from snacks to a pot-luck dinner)
- some money (ticket price, sponsorship, patronage, cd sales… whatever, we need to make some cos it’s our job)
That’s it! Let’s join them up:
We come to you - the further it is, the longer it takes and the more it costs. We like using trains, but will rent a car if neccesary. If you have some speakers we can play through, or mic stands we can borrow, it’s easier because we can walk further. If we’re bringing PA as well, the logistics become a little more tricky, but still far easier than a band.
Space wise, we only need about a 6 foot x 6 foot – enough for two people to sit down next to each other and not bump guitars together all the time. The corner of your living room is fine. If you’ve got a through-lounge, we’re laughing (if you’re in the US, and you don’t live in a shoe-box in manhattan, your house is big enough, trust me )
The audience is people you know – the reasons for this are two fold. Firstly, it’s easier for you to ‘sell’ the idea to them, cos they know you, and secondly, you’re not having to advertise where you live to strangers. Some people are cool with that, so they advertise it more widely, but for the most part, it’s a private event. Your address doesn’t appear on any website from us…
Numbers-wise, the audience can be anything from about 10 people upwards. If it is only 10, they’ll have to be willing to pay £15-20 a ticket for the gig (not much, really, for a night when you can bring your own drinks, and watch a gig where you can ask the band questions between songs, and offer them crisps). The more people there are, the lower the ticket price can afford to be.
Bottom line is, we need to guarantee about £150 + some travel money from a (UK) gig. On occasion that stretches, especially if we’re in an area and haven’t got a gig on a particular night, or it’s in a place less than a mile from where we live, or we can get there on one bus… But that’s a ball-park minimum. If you work towards us making £200 + travel + CD money, that’d be plenty. If we make more, bonus! It helps to off-set those gigs where we just make the minimum. For Europe/US, think roughly 300 $/€, and all will be well.
Food – eating together is one of the coolest parts of doing house concerts. It’s great to finish the first set, grab a bowl of veggie chili or some tortilla chips and have a chat with the audience about what they make of it. If you want to work out a thing where some of the ticket money helps to pay for the food, that’s fine too.
And that’s it. Srsly. No remodeling your house to accomodate stages and massive PAs, no running ads in the local press, no hoardes of stoned hippies turning up at your front door. Just you, us, 20 or so of your friends squished into your lounge, and a fab night of mellow music.
Sounds like fun? Drop me a line if you want to host one – we’re planning now for UK and Europe, but it’s worth registering an interest for elsewhere in the world too!by