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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Showing Up At Shows
Friday, September 19, 2008

(Louis Logic at a recent performance)

Last week I attended two different shows and at those shows I met up with a lot of artists I know from the scene. At the Kosha Dillz album release party, in addition to Kosha Dillz himself, I ran into Homeboy Sandman, Creature, Sav Killz, J Ronin, Donny Goines, Yak Ballz and a host of other folks. At the Maiysha album release party I met up with Conscious, INF and some other friends. Obviously there was plenty of catching up going on, but as Conscious and I discussed later in the week, there are a host of other reasons artists need to be at as many shows as they can make it to, especially shows where they may have never seen many of the artists on the bill, or at least haven’t seen them in a while.

Familiarity breeds complacency. This is the biggest reason to get out and go to some shows by artists you either haven’t seen ever, or haven’t seen in a while. First off, the networking opportunities will obviously be much better at those shows than at the ones where you already know everybody’s name. You’ll run into artists you haven’t seen in a while and some you’ve only heard of through the grapevine of the scene. At the Kosha Dillz show I not only ran into a handful of artists I hadn’t seen in ages, I met a few new ones (big ups to Sav Killz who is the king of introductions) and I even met a fellow writer. As I was going home I thought to myself, imagine the artist who came to that show and left with the contact info for not one, but TWO professional journalists who write about Hip-Hop? That’s a good night of networking even before you start talking about the other artists that were in the house. You never know who’s covering what, and who might also want to cover you!

Another great aspect of going out to an unfamiliar show is that you’ll see how other artists rock the stage and motivate a crowd. Everyone has their own fan base, but if you’re ever going to grow that fan base you’re going to have to see what other people are enjoying and reacting to. You’ll also see how other artists interact with their fans. One great example of this happened at the Kosha Dillz show where I saw him shake the hand of every person who came in that he knew and personally thank them for coming out to the show. Bear in mind this wasn’t a small crowd and he was also running the show, which can be quite stressful in its own right, so the fact that he did this was quite impressive.

Conscious pointed out to me that additional knowledge can be gained by an artist at an unfamiliar show if they pay attention to the merch table. By simply gazing over the products and prices one can easily see how much other artists are charging for their work, which products are moving at what prices, and if you’re charging too much, or not enough, for your own goods.

Remember, when you’re performing at one of your own shows you can’t ever see the whole picture, even if you get a tape of the show (yeah I said tape), and when you’re at a show where you’re already familiar with everyone there’s very little new that can be learned. By hitting up random shows you get to take a step back and take in the full picture of what’s going on. You also get to meet some new people who may very well turn into fans, future collaborators, or even future press coverage.

I know, it’s time consuming, but it honestly doesn’t cost that much as most shows are usually no more than $10 to get into and that $10 is simply an investment in your career. As an artist the only way to get bigger is to grow the number of people who know about your work. Who else can you reach and how can you effectively reach them? Go to a show and find out.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:41 AM  
  • At 12:42 PM, Blogger Crew54 said…

    Thats whats up, I'ma get us up to NY for a month or two so we can grind. We do all those things you speak of right here in TX, which is dope but we aint meeting the same folk.

    It's going down...

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