Now that summer is drawing to an end here in Boise, Idaho, USA, some of my recurring, outdoor looping venues are starting to shut down until spring. I need to start looking for more gigs to fill my winter nights.
The problem is that Boise is a relatively conservative and genre-monolithic city, providing ample venues for mainstream styles like classic rock, modern rock, country, folk, and jazz, but not so abundant in venues who have owners and cliental who are open to avant-garde and improvisational looping music.
I have been very fortunate in the last year, in that I've pushed the limits of my current venues as much as I felt possible - using as much atonality, experimentalism, lack of time/key signature, and absence of popular feel that I could get away with without alienating my listeners or generating glares from the venue owners. I've been relatively successful in transitioning back and forth between the abstract/experimental music that I like to play live and listen to, and the typical ambient/contemporary material that puts smiles on most peoples' faces and eases their digestion. However, the lack of venues where I can play and feel comfortable testing the limits is still an issue.
In the past, I've found that a more venue-friendly first impression/demo can open the door to more artistically daring music. For instance, several years ago I once provided a demo to a venue owner that consisted mostly of jazzy, steely-dan like vocal rock…in a year I was playing Mike Stearn-like jazz fusion.
Moreover, I am thinking of pulling my old jazz hollow body out of the case getting into some new venues playing traditional jazz….then slipping some of my loop music into the mix. There are at least 10 venues that I can get into almost immediately using my jazz chops, using my jazz demo CD. My jazz style is more in the Pat Martino and John Abercrombie vein, so the transition between jazz to my loop music should be easy. I figured I would start by blending a two set gig with 70 minutes of "standards" jazz and 20 minutes of loop music, then start balancing the two genres out over time.
Are any of you playing loop music that is on the abstract side and finding it difficult to get satisfying gigs, especially at popular pubs and restaurants? What type of venues to you play at? Art galleries? Coffee shops? Mostly festivals? Coffee shops are starting to get old for me.