Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Prince George, not too Royal
It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood. Downtown Prince George has several blocks which are torn up for renewal. We detour around these as we make a final, drive-by attack on the town. Again, the streets are very quiet! Here's the new Long and McQuade Prince George location. It's under renovation as well! Or are these barricades to hold back the guitar workshop crowds?
We are made welcome by staff, and look for a quieter part of the store to set up in. Construction is underway in the upper level, and the machines are pretty loud.
Unfortunately, the rest of the store is pretty quiet. We're here a little early, but I suggest that we wait until people actually arrive before setting up. Dave and I do our usual tour of guitars and gear, and buy some odds and ends.
It looks like just one guy has come out for the guitar workshop. He's not expecting it, but he gets a full hour of personal guitar lessons from Big Dave. Meanwhile three or four more people have arrived, so we sit in the amp section passing guitars and slides back and forth. It's a really good guitar clinic in the end. All of these guys come away pumped, playing new stuff, keen on the blues. My own contribution is pretty limited today. I'm struck by what a great teacher Big Dave actually is. He's on a roll with these guys, and I'm just adding little bits around the edges.
We've already set up, so it is back to the venue, The Twisted Cork, where we grab a quick bite to eat. Hey, I know those guys in the window!
Prior to showtime we hang out with Ken, pictured above. But soon it's time to get down to business. Showtime. We've not got the numbers out tonight that we have hoped for. The room has a comfortable number of people in it- including some that have driven in from Smithers for the show- but not enough tickets to cover our lengthy ride north and our down day. Everybody's done everything to make this happen, but it is clear that it is not going to meet even our low estimates. Numbers don't impact our playing in the slightest. We jump in! This is our time to have fun! The rest is work!
The night goes by far too fast! Soon it's raffle time! Here my lovely and talented assistant draws the winning number from the hat... And the winner of the genuine satin, white stripe tour jacket is...
In spite of two very successful prior shows at the Artspace, only one member of the Prince George blues society- the Blues Underground- attends. Nobody attends from the packed, double encore Home Routes show last year. And nobody comes out from the folk festival- for the sixth consecutive year. These crowds don't seem to mix at all, and I'm sorry. Are there small town politics going on here? I don't know, but I do wonder.
In the end, the venue charges the promoter a huge fee for the use of the room. If we'd had a few more people the venue would of been free, and we would of kept that money. That was their side deal. As it is, our share kicks in after expenses. Here is a gamble gone bad. Usually our promotional organization makes these gambles worthwhile- we put bums in seats and work hard to do it. But today, the stars of the show make less than the wait staff, and the venue that takes no risk takes much of the gate, plus the bar and the food monies. The promoter's already small share is also reduced to spare change. I wouldn't bet on seeing many more live shows at the Twisted Cork. I wouldn't have made that deal, but I knew about it. I also know we'll do better tomorrow! Good night!