So a few years ago I had an opportunity to attend a house show in Beverly. The feature musician was David Bazan of Pedro the Lion fame (indie rock, yo). He was touring with his acoustic guitar, playing living rooms across the country. It looked a lot like this:
I’ve been thinking of this night ever since. It was magic. And because I have a history with music, I decided to explore hosting my own show.
The New York Times recently said this was a new age of the traveling troubadour. I believe this to be true. Never has it been easier, and more necessary, for musicians to connect directly with their fans. The internet has destroyed the music business as it once was, and maybe this is a good thing.
A friend suggested I check out her friend’s band, Essential Machine. I gave them a listen, and even liked them on Facebook. A few months ago I saw a post asking for help with a northeast tour. I suggested a few of the clubs around town, and then I suggested they play in my living room. They chose my living room.
How could they not? A free place to stay, homegrown food, and a better audience than most bands see their first time through town. And the location? What traveling musician wouldn’t enjoy a day on an island paradise? We invited friends and neighbors, and it happened. We told everyone to bring a picnic, their drink of choice, and anything else they needed. And we told them to bring their kids. This was a house show. It would be early and family friendly. The cost? Feel free to fill the tip jar. And they did, of course. Gloucester folks are generous, always.
Essential Machine were touring with Tim Krupar, and we couldn’t have asked for a better evening. Both acts made for magic.
And here’s the thing: From my experience playing music professionally for several years, and from the friendships formed, and can honestly say that musicians are generally beautiful people. These folks certainly were.
I promise you, if you think that hosting an amazing band in your home is unrealistic, you’re wrong. You can do this. You should do this. Musicians need the love. So do you and your friends. A perfect match.
Now go friend a band or two. Invite them to your home. Then invite a few friends and neighbors, especially the ones with kids who have a hard time making it to shows. Trust me: No one leaves without a huge grin on their face. Mission accomplished.