After the formal and next-to informal showcases, the action moves to the hotel room s for the guerilla showcases, a mad scramble of everybody looking for their 15 minutes of fame, the next surprise feature at Philly, Falcon Ridge, etc. The halls are jammed with venue people, musicians waiting to get in the next room, most with a bottle of beer in hand. These are hotel rooms, so they are cramped unless no one comes to see you.
Guess what? I had the opening set at 11:45 pm in the Godfrey’s room (actually Ansel’s room), decked out with strings of lights ala Barnum and Bailey. Get it? Folks mobbing the halls, but me and Ramona in the house. ‘Shall we start?’ So I started with Luckiest Man, a new one from David Olney, followed be Smoking Babies. Might as well get out my ironic stuff early, to match the atmosphere. The next two acts, Davey and Michael came in, along with Jack, Ramona’s hubby and my friend. So I got serious with Barrelhouse and finished with Giants. It was noble set.
Now, I knew it would be like this. I spent no energy promoting the set, unlike 85% of all the other singer-songwriters. They quite literally litter the hotel lobby, hall ways, elevators, etc. with posters, flyers, etc. Unfortunately it creates a chaotic scene, in many ways, and adds a lot of visual noise that drives me crazy.
It’s these late night sessions that is a communal celebration for the vast majority of acts, most of whom come away with few or no gigs. But, it’s an annual party for folks, and magic happens all the time, so I hear. It also explains why no one gets up to hear me play at 9:30 am for the kids’ show.
I am lucky that I don’t have to rely on these showcases to support myself as a performer. But I feel for those who come in with big expectations. The venues still book who they want to, and mostly from folks who are already touring and have played the club already.
Plus, I’m too old for this demographic and for this time of night. I hung out to support Davey, Michael and Jack and headed to my room. The hallway had turned into a Fellini film, guitars, basses, drunks (one of which accosted me, “Dave Fry!” I guess that was cool, but too bad she didn’t come see me play.