Thursday, December 19, 2013
If the chance burnt down, hudson valley musicans may have a chance to thrive
If the chance theater burnt down, there would be a chance of having a “local” scene again. I know it sounds crazy, but let me explain. This may start off like a back in my day story so I’ll at least try to make it interesting. When I was in high school about ten years ago I was playing almost weekly at club crannel and by 17 headlined the same stage I saw all my idols preforms on. Now, was my band good ? Did we deserve that spot ? Well, probably not, but I believe we were rewarded for ambition. See there was a point in time where the chance had almost every night booked in all 3 of its clubs, and well promoted. Radio commercials, flyers for the month, event fliers, etc. People were aware of shows then, and now the same acts that could sell out the place preform for empty clubs while unaware fans sit blocks away bored. See, within the Hudson valley the club options and bar options are very limited. Capacity being a factor The chance is the default place for a show too small for the civic center. Now unfortunately because of this stranglehold and the business practices of the venue the local scene is dying, if not dead. So lets get into these business practices, because it always comes down to business. See, at 17 with an ego, being naïve, and inexperienced I was unaware of how clubs take advantage of their local artists. The chance used to have this deal with its artists where you were given a chance to make whopping $100 bucks, to then split between five band members. You’d receive 50 tickets to sell, at $10 dollars. The club got $8 and you get $2. Any unsold tickets were collected at sound check, so money could only be made in presales. The club however gets presales, the door, and the bar. This now has evolved into some even crazier agreement where the club wants the 500 dollars upfront for the tickets. They call it a “deposit” My assumption is because they are broke and the headliner needs a “deposit”. So the local talent is basically treated completely opposite from the touring act. The more bands play out however, they realize other clubs don’t ask their performers to function as direct ticket salesmen because its unrealistic out of state. I do believe a successful event relies of the venue, the promoter, and the artist. However, this has been forgotten in the Hudson valley and its lead to a dead “scene”. The idea of a bunch of 16 year olds having 500 bucks to shell out every time they want to open a show is unrealistic. The additive seems to be that it’s a privilege for you to be playing there, and its anything but. This and other factors lead me to avoid the place altogether. So, I knowing saying it needs to be demolished and all still seems like overkill. Maybe it is, maybe new owners or management would fix it. People may think I’m wrong altogether, but there used to be 3 shows in 3 clubs for 1 ticket all the time. Now 1 cover for multiple parts of the complex is seen as a special occasion oh and club crannel is a sports bar. The fact that it holds a capacity monopoly is why demolition seems best. A void would exist and someone would fill it. The civic center could book more shows, set up a small second stage for bands to play in-between main stage set up. Mahoneys could do more concerts. A waterfront venue you could see from the walkway would do great for the overall economy of the city. Either way, until there is an alternative venue artists in the Hudson valley can choose to play by their rules and have 15 seconds of fame or boycott them. I do the latter, considering the amount of money I have already made them, the only chance I’m in the chance is if its free. Performing however I will not. Between bars closing left and right, and moral objections, the amount of places ill actually step foot in my home town is slim to none. The other crippling factor to nightlife in The Hudson Valley is “security” and racism. Now, for any outsider looking in, if my high school experience was a microcosm the city of Poughkeepsie demographic. The largest majority is African Americans, Hispanics, then Caucasians. So from a business sense you’d think you’d be aiming towards the black community, but its anything but. When I first decided to start DJing I called every bar in the area. The conversations usually went something like this.. also keep in mind, I just put out a trance record and my intends were to being playing out with that. “hi I’m Jamie Scutt of Echoscape Records, I’m looking to book some gigs I was wondering if you need any entertainment?, …” - Well, what kind of music is it “well, that’s the thing I oversee a label. I personally am looking to Dj, and have a few other DJs, but there are singers, a few rappers.” - Hm, where have you played before ? “I’ve been playing out for ten years, rock bands at the chance, jazz at the bradavon, hip hop show for the mayor at the civic center… the last show was in Millbrook, we had a Dj open, a few rappers, the one did a dubstep set, then I closed it put Djing, it was packed” - So your trying to book a hip hop thing ? “no I’m trying to book whatever will work best for your venue” -alright well ill get back to you. And nothing ever gets set up. And consider there is only like 5 bars within the city of Poughkeepsie. I ended up Djing at an open tables at a local gay bar just to get some sort of accolades and connections. Which it did end up working out and getting this rolling. Enough about me though, I mean I’m white. So this is an outsider looking in. Now, I suppose people assume a rap act is what people rap about. Maybe they don’t realize there is a lot of talent in this area. Like the collective known as upstates finest, cans. D.johns, Krystyle, j.ivovry, poor rich kids, etc. This group containing college graduates, artists who perform for politicians, And hold multiple annual charity events. Caboloosas in New Paltz had upstates finest booked and upon arrival told them the show was canceled. They didn’t bother to give advance notice so people who drove two hours away could save their gas. Their reason was the police told them they had to cancel because someone of the flyer was giving a gang sign. This of course was odd to everyone, the idea you cancel a show over a hand sign, not just ask the one artist to drop, or the idea the police are investigating the bar’s show schedule. They didn’t assume a bunch of black people would flag down the police and ask them about it. The cops denied any knowledge of a show even being booked. The other factor where racism seemed to be at the root was they seemed staffed and ready to open, had 40 or so people outside with money to blow who didn’t want to just turn around and leave. Did they open and let people in for a drink ? Nope. That night ended with being at Mahoneys, which is one of these bars that has this dress code non sense. If you know Poughkeepsie you know the places I’m talking about, but anyway. The conclusion I’ve come to is these dress codes and such are a disguise for politically correct racism in a majority black city. When you pit a dress code in place it automatically creates an atmosphere where you don’t want to be the undressed sore thumb. So can you just walk into one of these places ? No. I’ve had gigs in bands, and will wear jeans with holes in them and not been allowed in a sports bar afterwards. My money isn’t good enough for mahoneys. So I think, if your just the average 20 something black male walking down the street, can you just pop in for a drink ? No. You might be wearing a hat, or it might be winter and your wearing boots. I know these clubs seem to think they are doing something to protect themselves. Maybe they actually believe it makes them immune to the actions of stupid drunks if everyone is in button up shirts. Maybe I’m the only one that sees that the majority of people in Poughkeepsie are black, and these clubs seem to be intentionally avoiding catering to that demographic. Why you wouldn’t want to book hip hop in Poughkeepsie I don’t know. I commend places like R&Bs in Millbrook, who has booked T.C.P numerous times and its always worked well for all parties involved. The fact that they have a come as you are additude.. and the fact that, that is what’s needed. As much as I don’t like macklamore as a music group, they indicate that hip hop is headed that way. You can come dressed up from outta the office, or hoodie and jeans and be viewed no different. These clubs use selective booking and dress codes to segregate their crowds. People seem to assume crime is Poughkeepsie is caused by majority black people. But if the populous is majority black. That is completely logical. Like if it was Martha vineyard where the majority is white, the majority of crime would be by whites. Maybe that is why most of these places are restaurants doubling as night clubs and such. Because they are pushing away the mass populous and being selective, they need to invite dinners. Maybe if they looked to entertain the majority of people in the area, they could just be a bar or just be a night club. A giant budda statue isn’t the NYC vibe this city needs. It needs more of the Brooklyn vibe, art culture. This isn’t Manhattan. We need clubs that will book a cover band a happy hour, a hip hop show til midnight, and a rave or band from then til 4. A place offering nights like that will attract everyone, every night.