#1
All the Pros to your favorite Venues from a musician and the crowds point of view. Reason being I'm collecting ideas to what makes an ideal venue for an all around great experience for everyone. One thing worth noting is the sound guy Will be great, I'm an audio engineer so it would be a crime to allow my venue to ever have shitty sound. So to get you started I'll throw out some topics i think are worth discussing

Location
The Stage
Drum Riser
The Bar
Smoking Area
Backstage
House Kit
House Cabs
All Ages
Lighting
Bathrooms
Moshing
Kitchen
Seating
Art
& anything else I missed
Last edited by NightEmbers at Feb 18, 2012,
#3
slanted floor! that way even smaller people can see perfectly
Drum drum drum away!
#4
Quote by beverboy
slanted floor! that way even smaller people can see perfectly

That's a brilliant idea. Plus all the empty cups roll to the front for easier clean up!
#5
Don't have a favourite venue. Unless you count the local café as a venue since it sometimes hosts small gigs. It's awesome, because;
- Good beers availabe
- Cool paintings on the walls
- Comfortable chairs
- Small room
- Baws waitress
- Big-ass windows overlooking the best part of town
- Located in the best part of town
- Best part of town
- Town

EDIT: Didn't read the OP very well. This is from the crowds point of view.


Gozd in gora poj,
silen ženimo hrup,
uboga gmajna, le vpup, le vkup,
le vkup, le vkup z menoj,
staro pravdo v mrak tulimo,
da se pretulimo skozi to zimo
Last edited by JamSessionFreak at Feb 18, 2012,
#6
Musician POV
*Comfortable-sized stage, i.e enough space for a drum riser and a stack + bass rig either side, with a good 2m at least of space in front of drum riser and backline.
*Stage floor at chest-height ish for average audience member.
*Plenty of power outlets onstage.
*Backstage area that doesn't need to be massive, but good dimensions (i.e not just a corridor, but a room or two) + a large enough area to store cases, gig bags and other gear if bands using different backline.
*Sounds odd, but a crowd barrier across front of stage - not for protection, but because I've found for some reason at gigs with barriers the crowd tend to come to the front automatically to stand at the barriers... at a lot of gigs without, crowds can stand midway back until the headline act or even back off for them!
*Good lighting onstage when setting up/during changeovers etc. so equipment isn't damaged or lost so easily!
*Some form of curtain or backdrop you can lower in front of the stage to give a little isolation before a band gets on stage, or when getting gear off during a changeover - gives crowd a bit of suspense too. One of my favourite venues (played there last night, in fact) use a large projector screen they lower between bands and have upcoming gig adverts/band releases beamed onto it.
*Stage is kept in reasonably good condition... nothing worse than nearly losing your footing because of a sticky floor or random chunks of gaffa tape catching you out mid-solo!


Audience POV
*Sensibly-sized (and powered) PA system - a huge stack of mids and tweeters at each side of the stage on top of huge bass bins looks cool but can be a bit off-putting if you are running through a 50kW setup in a room that holds a max of 250-300 and coming even close to 0dBU on the desk.
*If only one bar in the place, make sure it's fairly long so people don't have to form single-file queues that cause all sorts of arguments and slow things down. Plus employ enough bar staff :P
*Clean and modern venue, with cool artwork on the walls and good lighting (i.e main 'floor' area is pretty dark during bands but there is enough lighting during changeovers for crowd to move about a bit better, and after a gig there's enough light for the bands etc. to see where they're going when the place empties. Maybe mood lighting on walls towards back and corners too.
*A cleaner is employed so the place doesn't stink - some places I've been have had everything right, but stank like years of beer-soaked floorboards and sand-covered vomit... not something you want distracting you.


Tried to be as detailed as I could; can't think of anything else other than having cheap, disposable earplugs in the bulk boxes (pretty cheap to get) or even a dispenser at the bar and maybe on the door when people come in - I know it doesn't seem cool, but since a few days after NYE I've been suffering with mild tinnitus that I pray is exacerbated temporarily by a cold/blocked sinuses and will go a way a bit soon... I wouldn't wish it on anyone and force my girlfriend to wear earplugs at gigs now. I even wear them in loud pubs/bars now because I'm honestly terrified of causing any further damage as sleeping can be hard enough as it is and my ringing is masked by fairly low levels of noise! If more people accepted earplugs as part of very loud music, the 'uncool' factor might go away and fewer people would be suffering years down the line and wishing they'd been more careful and noticed the warning signs earlier.

As for you asking about backline/cabs etc. I think maybe if you have spare cash to have a cheap, basic bit of gear locked in a back room of the place for any open mic nights/local kids' night type things where all the bands are like 15-16yrs old etc. but anyone above that level would generally have all their own gear and bands tend to share backline with one band providing the drum kit and cabs. I wouldn't dream of turning up at a gig to use the house backline unless it was in writing that we had to use it. I guess it depends on the level of events you plan on putting on - if it was a blues bar with jam nights and stuff more regularly than original acts (i.e playing original material, NOT a jab at jam bands ) then I guess a house kit and backline makes more sense.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Feb 18, 2012,
#7
So far I've only played at the Gaelic in Sydney, so here is my take on that:

Location
10/10. Right outside central station.
The Stage
7/10. Pretty good size. We were able to fit two guitars + mics, drum kit, 1 bass, 2 keyboards, centre mic plus fall backs.
Drum Riser
0/10. There wasn't one.
The Bar
8/10. Nice staff, big bar, good range of drinks.
Smoking Area
10/10. Complete with chairs.
Backstage
4/10. Lol. If it can even be called backstage. It has street access which gives it the 4 but you can't exactly "chill" there, there's only room for instrument storage.
House Kit
Not sure, we brought our own.
House Cabs
Same again
All Ages
10/10. There is an upstairs which is like a loft/balcony. Sort of similar to warehouses that have been turned into residential buildings. This loft looks down onto the stage and the ground floor. So for all ages gigs underage people would go upstairs and overage people can go wherever they like.
Lighting
8/10
Bathrooms
7/10. Very clean. A little small though, only three stalls.
Moshing
3/10. Lots of tables and chairs
Kitchen
? Didn't order food
Seating
6/10. Could have had better arrangement.
Art
Ummm I didn't really notice. But they had a wall decorated with a drum media cover page collage, that looked pretty cool.
#8
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Musician POV

*Sounds odd, but a crowd barrier across front of stage - not for protection, but because I've found for some reason at gigs with barriers the crowd tend to come to the front automatically to stand at the barriers... at a lot of gigs without, crowds can stand midway back until the headline act or even back off for them!


Never heard this one before but actually today while facebook stalking some of the top venues, i noticed one had a bar like table right before the stage, so in place of giant security guards staring you down you have a long table to set down your drink right in front of the band. That seems like something so small would have such great repercussions in the end. Because that's one issue I'd like to avoid of having a band on stage and people not up there on the stage, it makes everyone look bad


Thanks Alysoun for addressing literally everything. So besides that specific club what would you like to see? What would attract you to venue?

I'm shooting for a mix between nice clean & modern themed place but with just enough raunchy rock n roll to keep it real. Of course the people are gonna overall make it Real but i wanna provide the best atmosphere for them.
Last edited by NightEmbers at Feb 18, 2012,
#9
From a playing POV I always like venues that have a balcony. Just makes it seem like theres loads more people there.

Also some sort of barrier from the stage and crowd. I'm sick of bar fights spilling onto stages with people stepping all over my pedals n shit. Fights only tend to happen at bro bars though, something about stupid ass white college freshmen makes them want to fight each other. Not so much dedicated music venues.

No chairs. People tend to be lazy and sit down, not getting into the music as much.
Last edited by BlackVoid at Feb 18, 2012,
#10
Quote by BlackVoid

No chairs. People tend to be lazy and sit down, not getting into the music as much.

No. Just no.
Chairs - I sit there and calmly enjoy the music.
No chairs - Phuck dis, Imma get wasted.


Gozd in gora poj,
silen ženimo hrup,
uboga gmajna, le vpup, le vkup,
le vkup, le vkup z menoj,
staro pravdo v mrak tulimo,
da se pretulimo skozi to zimo
#11
Well I mean like right near the stage. Places almost always have chairs/tables/booths on the back walls.
#13
Quote by NightEmbers

Thanks Alysoun for addressing literally everything. So besides that specific club what would you like to see? What would attract you to venue?


For myself, I like places where they've left room near the stage to stand but there are still options to sit out the back. Like at the Gaelic, at least the night I played they had tables all the way to the front and with all the tables occupied you couldn't stand without blocking someone's view.

What scale of bar are you looking to get? As in a big venue or a smaller intimate venue? Just out of curiosity. If you're getting a smaller venue, one that I've been to that I loved was Rock Lily in The Star (used to be Star City, the big casino of Sydney). It's a bar that is purely for rock music (although they have bands from lots of genre's). For example, all around the walls there are framed posters of all the greats like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Angus Young etc. They only play rock and alternative through the speakers and the decor is really nice, it's not one of those dingy bars you'd expect for a rock venue lol. The part I like the best is that no matter how many people turn up, the band gets $500 a gig. One of the perks of being part of a casino I guess haha.
Here's a site that has some pictures of it:
http://www.mghotels.com.au/new-south-wales/sydney-and-surrounds/sydney/attractions/attraction/tabid/3829/rock-lily/9152481/default.aspx

I work at a bar, have worked at a few different places previously. My first bar job had a bistro and after that experience I only applied at venue's that didn't have one lol. Bistro's are nice for the customer but so stressful for staff. So many things go wrong so easily when it comes to food, especially on busy nights.

My current venue has been undergoing renovations and they've done such a good job! They've changed the paint from a red to purple and it has made the place so much bigger. They've also changed the decor from these tacky paintings to guitars on the walls haha it looks so cool, I really recommend you do this, looks good

Also, they've added lounges with no backs. Before we only had tables and chairs and somehow the lounges have really helped the place transform from a "pub" to a bar.
#14
For me, the smaller the venue, the better it is. I prefer more intimate shows. My favorite venue was shut down a while ago for not having a license, but there's a few tiny places around Richmond that book good shows. Luckily, most of the bands I listen to don't charge much for their shows
#16
Quote by BlackVoid
From a playing POV I always like venues that have a balcony. Just makes it seem like theres loads more people there.

Also some sort of barrier from the stage and crowd. I'm sick of bar fights spilling onto stages with people stepping all over my pedals n shit. Fights only tend to happen at bro bars though, something about stupid ass white college freshmen makes them want to fight each other. Not so much dedicated music venues.

No chairs. People tend to be lazy and sit down, not getting into the music as much.



All good ideas, the balcony thing i love as well plus if we have a packed house short people can watch from the balcony and if its an all ages thing we can put all the minors up stairs.

The barrier we discussed i suggested and bar top table that runs the length of the stage so crowd-barrier-bartop-stage that way if makes it highly unethical to crowd surf to the stage cause you'll just plummet and everyone in the front can set their drinks down and rock the F out inches from the band.

And then the seating is a big one for me, because i myself am one of those get up and go the stage people but i understand not everyone is like that. So maybe an alternative for those people would be upstairs watching from the balcony, thats rather chill. I just wanna limit the amount of seating area so bands get the crowd they deserve. Of course the bar will have everything necessary but absolutely so seating near the stage.

Also alysoun I checked out that Rock Lily place, its effin beautiful but its also owned by one hell of a corporation so paying bands 500 regardless the turn out is just unheard in mom and pop venue such as what im going for. I forgot to mention i want it to be a decent size, off the top of my head i was thinking like 300 people but i gotta be honest and say i have no clue how big such a place has to be. Like all the venues i know dont say anything about capacity. How many tickets do you sell before you're sold out? I'm emailing some of favorite venues to find out what capacity i'm really shooting for.
#17




This is Paradiso in Amsterdam and it's just fucking amazing. Best venue of all time.
You who build these altars now

To sacrifice these children
You must not do it anymore
#20


this is terminal 5 in new york, pretty damn similar. Though Ive never been to either places Terminal 5 along with many other venues are on my bucket list to play
#22
I like the Lochgelly Centre Theatre in Lochgelly, Scotland.
Not the biggest place I've played but certainly the best.

This is the best photo I could find of the inside of the place.


It has a sloping floor and (on the night we played there) a massive in-house PA and lighting system. It also has it's own drum riser and the back-stage area is superb, the staff are friendly, ect. But one of my favourite things about the place is the fact that the entire front 6 foot or so of the stage raises up and down. You can load your gear in at ground level, place it on the floor in front of the stage, and then the whole floor raises up to stage height so there's no having to hump it up any stairs.

Here's a couple of photos of my band playing there.


Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Feb 19, 2012,
#23
Quote by SlackerBabbath
It has a sloping floor and (on the night we played there) a massive in-house PA and lighting system. It also has it's own drum riser and the back-stage area is superb, the staff are friendly, ect. But one of my favourite things about the place is the fact that the entire front 6 foot or so of the stage raises up and down. You can load your gear in at ground level, place it on the floor in front of the stage, and then the whole floor raises up to stage height so there's no having to hump it up any stairs.

That is SO cool. Never heard of that before.
#25
At Slacker that place is more of a college auditorium than a rock venue. I'll admit the stage is cool but definitely not practical for a small business providing to rock bands. And all its all seating, i understand there's people who like to hang back at shows but thats what separates rocks shows from musicals... That kick in the teeth, up close and personal rock in roll experience because after all the crowd is just as important as the band on stage.
#26
A few of my favorite Venues i've played.

The Fighting Cocks - Kingston http://www.the-fighting-cocks.co.uk/

Smaller stage, and they've opened up the floor to accomodate more people. 2 bars, one outside in the bar area, one in the venue. A mix of big bands and smaller bands play here. It's a real intimate setting that has great sound, good drinks and amazing atmosphere. Also you can climb all around it, throw yourself into the crowd and it's cool. Just outside London aswell and a real popular place. All the staff are awesome and trouble never happens. There's not really a backstage either, but because it's one of our favorites and local which we always sell tickets for, we like it like that!

The Joiners - Southampton http://www.joinerslive.co.uk/

Really big stage. fun to play. Loses some intimacy but you gain some stage room, so you can really go for it. The sound is excellent, It's in a popular place, It's a really popular venue that is a great size and has had some serious bands play it. Lovely staff again, Great lighting rig and they sold Caffreys!

Nambucca - Islington http://nambuccalondon.com/

Great little venue. Always popular with locals, Great sound, another intimate stage with a seperate bar (Which is huuuuge). Drinks are more expensive but it's in London so you'ld expect that Again a mix of popular bands and more local acts.


Another popular favorite is The Boileroom in Guildford. Has a nice sized stage, awesome bar, nice big outside part, little barriers aswell (which as mentioned, helps people coem to the front) Security can be arses, But they normally get better guys in. They sell noodles aswell and the backstage (upstairs) part has a shower. Ohhh thats good.
Quote by ZanasCross
I'm now so drunk that even if my mom had given me a blow job at aeg 2, i'd be like I'm a pmp, butches.!

If this even madkes sense... if yhou sig this, Iw ll kill you.
#27
I like the Corp in Sheffield. It's a dive and has awful sound but there's a weird charm about it. It's awfully cheap too (The other night I went with about £120, got about £50 of merch, drank far too much and bought loads of jagerbomb rounds and I still had £30 left in cash the next day).
#28
Depending on where you live there may be smoking bans, so I've thrown around the idea of having a double sided bar. It would obviously tend to inside the venue but also tends to an outside smoking atrium. So even if you're outside you can still here the band and order a drink. and if your think what if it rains , the roof would extend far enough to cover a good chunk from the bar forward so people can order drinks and not be getting wet. What do you think about that idea? I'm not even a smoker but im quiet fond of this one.
#29
Good sound.

After that, who gives a ****?
Quote by neidnarb11890
the chinese take-out place my family always ordered from gave you chopsticks, so as a kid it was fun to try & eat with chopsticks
now i just use a fork, 'cuz nothing is fun anymore & i just want to shovel food into my mouth to fill the void
#30
Quote by NightEmbers
At Slacker that place is more of a college auditorium than a rock venue. I'll admit the stage is cool but definitely not practical for a small business providing to rock bands. And all its all seating, i understand there's people who like to hang back at shows but thats what separates rocks shows from musicals... That kick in the teeth, up close and personal rock in roll experience because after all the crowd is just as important as the band on stage.


True, but I am looking at it from a band perspective.

I'm probably being slightly biased too because that particular gig was one of the best gigging experiences I've ever had from beginning to end. We got paid a hell of a lot of money, as did the support band, (a Deep Purpe tribute called Perfect Strangers) they provided lots of booze in both our dressing rooms, and put both bands up in a hotel/bar in a village a few miles away.

When we got there, there were two guys sorting out the PA system and one of them asked for me by name, it turns out that he was a friend of the guitarist (Jon) from a Scottish Sabbath tribute band called MacSabbath, who I had previously helped out by singing for them at a gig they were contracted to do in Larbert when their singer had left, he said "Jon says hello, and I'm going to look after you tonight"
Then, while we were on stage, during a part of our set when our guitarist does a lengthy solo, which I always take the opportunity for a breather off stage, he met me in the wings with a freshly opened can of beer and a lit joint.

After the gig, both bands went back to the hotel. I honestly can't remember the name of the place, nor the village it was in, but it had a small downstairs bar and we'd been told earlier that afternoon, when we'd booked in, that there was no smoking whatsoever in the rooms, (exellent rooms too, even our roadies had a 4 poster bed) but we could smoke anything we damn well wanted to in the bar.
When we got back there, the place was full of locals, there were two guys playing Crowded House songs on acoustic guitars and a very welcoming atmosphere. When the two guys had finished their set, and we had smoked a few and drank a few more, to locals started asking us for a singsong, so our guitarist borrowed one of the guys guitars and the keyboard player out of the Deep Purple band got on the minature stand up piano that was in the corner and we sang pretty much every song I know and partied until around 5 am.

The next morning we had one of the best breakfasts I've ever had and they kindly opened the bar again for us.

For a place with a great stage set up and amenities for the band as well as that 'up close and personal rock in roll experience' for the audience, I'd have to say that 'The Studio' in Hartlepool is about as good as it gets for a small venue. It's actualy been built in an old church and contains a recording studio too, they'll even record your set for you. We've had a great time there on a number of occasions.