Tell Us What You Think of the Philly Music Scene

Berto Munoz, Rob Sankey, Monty Scienceist and Saul Dratman joining the discussion Wednesday night at The Philly Roundtable.
Berto Munoz, Rob Sankey, Monty Scienceist and Saul Dratman joining the discussion Wednesday night at The Philly Roundtable.

A lot of big changes happening in the Philly music scene! After a few venue closings, many people close to the scene had a lot to say about the current state of Philadelphia music. Why are the venues closing? What are some of the problems within this community? What can we do to improve the scene?

This past Wednesday, Connie’s Ric Rac, DVT Entertainment and Gashouse Radio hosted The Philly Roundtable during the RonBomb networking happy hour. We wanted to hear from as many people as possible. We wanted to hear ideas and suggestions. We wanted to hear what you have to say regarding this Philly music scene, specifically original music at small to mid-size venues.

The turnout was fantastic. Jim Thorpe of DVT Entertainment, Ron Bauman of Connie’s Ric Rac and Milk Street Marketing, and myself listened to as many people as we could to get a sense of what is going on and what we can do to improve. Derek Dorsey of The Fire, Audio Impulse, The Good Mess, Matt Jurasek of Thee Idea Men, and many more came out to express their opinion, making it a very productive Roundtable. This was an important meeting, but the discussion can not end there.

We listened to what you had to say, and we came up with a short survey. Please fill this out to help us continue to improve the scene overall. Send this to anyone who is either in a band, or enjoys going out to see local original music. Your answers to these questions will directly, and positively affect the Philly music scene:

If you are having trouble viewing the form on mobile, click here

Do the Math: Why Venues in Philadelphia are Struggling

venues in PhiladelphiaWhen I say “venues in Philadelphia are struggling” I’m specifically talking about the small to mid-size venues that support original music. In recent weeks we have seen 2 major original music venues close their doors; The North Star Bar and The Legendary Dobbs. After hearing the news of these venues in Philadelphia closing, musician and long time friend of the station Dave Pitone had this to say:

 
The business model developed by venues is, in my opinion destroying the local “original music” scene.

The problem here is that the local music venues charge $10 at the door on most nights for a “bill” of mostly mediocre local bands. The real music listening demographic – whether it’s people from the suburbs or the yuppie city residents, or the student populations in University City – will not pay this cover and patronize these venues. This means no patrons, no drink sales.

So venues circumvent this problem by pressuring band members to bring friends out to pay and spend. By doing this, venues are creating an artificial market of patrons, which is not sustaining. Artificial markets like this are almost always a death sentence to business.

In my opinion, there are only a handful of local bands that are good enough to support regular folks from the Philly area choosing to pay a $10 cover. Let’s say there are 10 such bands that live within one hour from Philly, even though I think that is over-shooting. This means that all the other bands playing out will only be able to draw an audience if the band members themselves bring them in.

Do the math – For example, if one bar has four nights of local bands, with four bands per night, that’s 16 bands per week at that one place. And if there are 10 venues within the region doing the same and competing with each other, that’s 10 venues times 16 bands, equals 160 local band gigging per week. And if each band plays out an average of once every 12 weeks (3 months), then that means that venues in Philadelphia need an inventory of 12 weeks times 160 local band gigs, which equals 1,920 bands.

If there are 10 bands good enough to create a realistic and genuine market, that leave 1,910 bands that aren’t. This is not good business and chills the local music scene.

My suggestion would be to have no cover, except for maybe “one” weekend night where they have two bands and an opening act – and to reserve this for the best marketable bands.

The rest of the nights in the week should be “no cover,” and booked with regular local bands that are working on their acts/songs/etc. With this, regular people will start walking in because there is no cover charge stopping them. This will give bands new and real ears to listen to their music, and incentives to improve and get to the door charge night on the weekend. And the venues in Philadelphia will be able to compete with all the other bars in the city that let you walk in the door without opening your wallet.

This is just based on basic business and marketing principals. There’s nothing ground breaking here. It’s just an honest evaluation of this market scene, after participating in it for a few years. I see it as just hurting bands and hurting clubs. No winners.


-Dave Pitone

Should the cover charge at the door be eliminated? How do you pay those bands? Should there only be a small group of bands that get paid each week? Please comment with your opinion, and be sure to join the discussion every Tuesday night on Gashouse Live.

RIP: The Legendary Dobbs

The Legendary DobbsThe Legendary Dobbs, a truly legendary music venue on South St in Philadelphia, has closed it’s doors. It’s a sad day in the Philly music scene to have such a storied location call it quits.

Having been known for hosting some pretty famous names (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc) in the 80’s and 90’s, The Legendary Dobbs had a resurgence the last few years supporting independent artists, both local and touring. Rumors had been swirling for some time about it’s financial difficulties with doubts about it’s future. That is an all too common theme in the independent music scene today, with fellow Philadelphia music venue North Star Bar closing it’s doors just last week.

As of right now, there is no word as to if/when the venue will re-open. Being such an historical marker in the Philadelphia music landscape, I imagine that someone will attempt to pick up where the current owners left off. We’ll be sure to update this post as more information becomes available.

We have a lot of great memories at The Legendary Dobbs. Gashouse Radio put together shows on both floors of the venue, including a monthly open jam and several showcases. What are some of your memories in Dobbs?

 

UPDATE: There has been a lot of discussion about the Philadelpha music scene across social media in light of this story. We encourage you to come out to Connie’s Ric Rac for an open discussion  about the closing of venues, and improvements  to the overall scene.

RonBomb Music Scene Happy Hour followed by Open Mic hosted by Katie Feeney, presented by The Philly Roundtable!

Top 10 Songs of September, 2015

Each month, Gashouse Radio debuts about 25-30 new bands. Whenever a song is played on Gashouse Radio, our listeners use the thumbs up/down buttons to let us know which songs they like. Those “votes” are tallied and they determine which of these new bands stay in regular rotation.

We also use these “votes” to determine our daily Top 10 Countdown show which airs everyday at 6pm ET. While this daily show highlights the current listener favorites, we wanted to take a look back to see which songs seemed to resonate best with our audience across the entire month of September. So here are the top 10 songs of September:

the good mess 1. Nice And Tall – The Good Mess

2. The Menstruating Angel and the Snoring Hummingbird – Tusko Fatale

3. Something Beautiful – Fiona MacMahon

4. Nearsighted – Ten Cent Days

5. TUNGUSKA / After Party Blues – Stereoma

6. Get Over Yourself – Melissa Weinstein

7. Figure It Out For Yourself – Turnpike Gardens

8. Promenade – The Kickstand Band

9. I Wasn’t Born an Angel – RJ Comer

10. I’d Like To Say I Miss You – Skyline Sounds

Congrats to The Good Mess for having the highest voted song in the month! Visit them at www.thegoodmess.com, and be sure to request all of these songs at www.gashouseradio.com/request!

 

Top 10 Songs of August, 2015

August was a great month for new music on Gashouse Radio. We first debut the new submissions in our Band vs Band segment, daily at 7pm ET. The listeners let us know what they like using our thumbs up/down buttons (located on the Now Playing and Chat pages, as well as on our mobile app).

We tally these “votes” to determine rotation after their initial debut. We also post the highest voted songs each month. These are the songs playing on Gashouse Radio right now that you really need to pay attention to, because our audience has consistently been voting them up! Here are the highest voted songs of August, 2015:

1. The Menstruating Angel and the Snoring Hummingbird – Tusko Fatale

2. UR A Drug – Alice Sungurov

3. Winter Song – Skyline Sounds

4. Rainbow Girl – Fiona MacMahon

5. Mental Euphoria – The Bliss Trip

6. Bethesda – The Good Mess

7. Lose My Mind – Chris Gennett

8. After all is said and done – The Boxtones

9. TUNGUSKA / After Party Blues – Stereoma

10. Birthday Wish – The Companies

Pink Floyd Goes Hip Hop, Brooke Hogan Goes Wordsworth

Brooke+Hogan+8th+Annual+Teen+Choice+Awards+O2OhiOLzaxOlIt was just Carly and myself for this very touching episode of Gashouse Live.

Carly read from the Brooke Hogan book of poetry. The Hulk’s daughter wrote a touching piece of 4th grade rhyme in response to her father’s racist outburst.

We also discussed the news that Pink Floyd almost went hip hop back in 1987, which could have been amazing or disastrous.

And, we have one of the most interesting alien stories to date, and a few stories about the hrribly scary things that live under the sea.

And of course, we have all the latest music to enter our studio via the Band vs Band segment. Tune in LIVE every Tuesday night at 7pm ET!

 

Top 10 Songs of July, 2015

Gashouse Radio is flooded with new music every single day. We try and present as much of it as we can to our audience. Our audience, in turn, lets us know what they like and do not like using the thumbs up/down buttons in the sidebar, and on our mobile app.

We keep track of all those votes to determine what songs end up in regular rotation. We also play the 10 highest voted songs everyday at 6pm ET. At the end of each month, we post the highest voted songs, and here are the top 10 songs of July:

kenny fame 1. We Came To Play – Kenny Fame

2. Severe Case of Poker Face – The Bliss Trip

3. Lose My Mind – Chris Gennett

4. Apples – Eric and Aaron

5. See Her Again – The Keystones

6. A New Rudy – Fink’s Constant

7. Roll Off My Shoulders – Honey Spot Blvd

8. Child Of The Night – The Wyle Band

9. Keep It Wild – Fractured Vision

10. I Only Like You When I’m Drunk – Dr. Beardface and The Spaceman

The Top 10 songs of July will be in heavy rotation, so be sure to tune in all day long to Gashouse Radio. You can also request songs at certain tmes of the day using our auto-request feature. Thank you for all your support!

Disney Is Live Action Out of Control

Carly and Brooked missed out on this one. Jacqueline and myself took this one.

We covered a ton of topics, and heard a ton of great music (Go Evolution, Fink’s Constant, The Keystones and Maudlin Strangers for example).

One topic we discussed was Disney’s 13 live action movies they have on their way to theaters. Live-action Dumbo disturbs me for some reason, and live-action Little Mermaid is just unnecessary.

Is Disney’s live-action craze the answer to all of this comic-book movie success? Is that what’s going on here? Or maybe they’re trying to target an older audience? Let us know what you think.

 

Podcast: Skobo LIVE from Roadhouse Inn

Join us every Thursday night at Roadhouse Inn, Levittown PA. Starting at 9pm, we bring in talent from all over for a night of live entertainment, free of charge.

Skobo drove over from Pittsburgh (you wouldn’t believe how many trees are between Philly and Pittsburgh). Their aim, to bring everything from sludgy psychedelic rhythms, riff-driven blues rock and high energy funk to the Steel City and beyond. Years of friendship and experience as gigging musicians culminated in the band’s formation by Shawn Mazzei, Ron Rekowski, Kyle Yoho and Jake Locke in the spring of 2015.

Checkout this quick interview and acoustic set, and stay tuned to Gashouse Radio to find out when Skobo is back in Philly.

Not Your Father’s Podcast

Brooke, Carly and Jacqueline sat in with Dustin tonight.

Every Tuesday night we start with the latest submissions to come through Gashouse Radio. Brooke AND Carly ended up bringing in the same surprise – Not your Father’s Root Beer. This stuff is dangerous. We talked about our usual topics. Don’t forget, most of the stories we talk about on the air, you can find In the Q