There’s Opportunity in an Empty Room

by Jason on June 14, 2009 · 0 comments

in Bands, Business, Gigs, Thoughts

As a gigging musician, my hope is that there will be a huge crowd at every show clamoring for our music. And often this is the case. But there are also gigs where you can hear the crickets. Today was just such a gig.

I played a Sunday Brunch with my partner-in-crime Josh Rawlings at a restaurant called Enotria. It’s a relatively new place and their goal is to “meld Italy and the Pacific Northwest, celebrating our local community through food, wine, music and art.” And I have to say they have succeeded. Chef David Hahne has created a masterful menu and Enotria has just the right ambiance to live up to their mission statement. It’s classy without being stuffy, and the music and art on the walls perfectly compliments the cuisine. I had an incredible asparagus, sun-dried tomato and onion frittata, and Josh said his steak and eggs were the best he’s ever had. I will definitely be back!

But the place was empty. We played for two hours and our only audience was the owners, staff and Angela Reed, who booked the gig for us. Bummer, right? On one level, yes. But we were able to lay the groundwork for future success despite the empty room.

First, the owners loved us. We played great and gave them a private concert – how could they not love it? Afterward we were talking shop and set a meeting to discuss doing events with them where they pair a custom menu and hand-picked wines and we provide the music. We’ve been very successful with this model at other restaurants around town and I’m confident that we could build a great series of events with Enotria, given the quality of their menu and the great vibe in the room.

The moral of the story is that you never know when opportunity will come knocking. Josh and I could’ve sulked through the gig because no one was there. Instead we played our hearts out and showed the owners what we are capable of. They saw an opportunity to partner for the long-term rather than focus on the one gig that wasn’t well attended. And THAT’S the kind of establishment I want to work with!

Always give it your all – you never know what kind of opportunity can come out of an empty room!

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