Social Media and the DIY Music Scene: Part 1

For this last blog post, I figured I would share a little bit of my first hand experience with social media and the DIY (Do It Yourself) music scene.  I’m writing this after a late night of gigging and chatting with fellow musicians.  Last night, my played a gig at the Crayola House, one of the few remaining houses in Harrisonburg, VA that still has all ages, no cover, shows several times a week.  The line up was Battery Acid Stories (my band), Big Drum in the Sky Religion, Hurricanes of Love, and Many Mansions.  My band was invited to do the show by Frank Copenhaver, or Frank Hurricane, as he likes to call himself.  Frank is a larger than life character and one of the most genuinely good-hearted people I know.  His solo act, Hurricanes of Love, is a uniquely moving blend of psychedelic, folk and blues.

I first met Frank about four months ago when my other band, Malatese, played a show with him at the Blue Nile.  The booking manager/sound guy, Mark Finks, asked us if Frank could stay at our place.  We agreed to put Frank up for the night and after the gig we hung out for a while.  That’s when I got to know Frank. Frank stayed at our place again when he came through on another tour last month.  That’s when he asked us to play last nights gig with him.  Both times Frank came to Harrisonburg in the past, he played at the Blue Nile, but this time he wanted to play a house show, which isn’t that hard of a thing to arrange, but it was even easier because the drummer in Battery Acid Stories lives at the Crayola House. We secured the venue and informed Frank who passed the word along to Many Mansions.

So around seven o’clock last night Fank and Many Mansions (Shane Donnelly and Andy Kruczkiewicz) showed up at my place. Then around nine o’clock we went to Crayola House to set up for the gig.

On the Facebook event we made for the show it said to arrive at nine, but no one ever arrives on time.  So Battery Acid Stories didn’t go on until about 10:15.  After us, Big Drum in the Sky Religion played an awesome improvised set reminiscent of Bitches Brew era Miles Davis.  Then Hurricanes of love played with Many Mansions providing auxiliary percussion.  Frank’s voice has a soulful quality that really shined on the Crayola House PA, which is a hodgepodge of speakers and mixers in a constant state of decay.  Frank’s set sent chills up my spine several times and really put me in a blissful mood.  After Frank, Many Mansions went on.  Shane operated the sampler, synth, and mic, while Frank and Andy did percussion.  Many Mansions blends psychedelic, afro-beat and soul to create some truly amazing tribal, dance music that had everybody in the crowd dancing, including myself.

Crowd size was about 25 at its peak but fluctuated through out the night.  By the time the show ended, around 1:30, there were only about four or five people left who weren’t in bands.  The donations bucket had a pretty hefty amount of cash and Frank and Many Mansions split it to help pay for gas.  All in all it was a pretty good turn out for a Wednesday night in Harrisonburg.  Looking back now, the Facebook event had 31 confirmed guests so it was a surprisingly accurate indicator of crowd size.  Usually the Facebook event attendance is somewhat inflated because it is real easy to click the attending button and totally forget about the concert when show day arrives.

I left Crayola House around 1:45, citing the amount of work I had left to do on this blog project as the reason I couldn’t stick around and hang out.  When I got home I ate some food and brewed a pot of coffee, preparing for the all-nighter that lay ahead of me.  That’s when I had the idea to interview Frank, Shane and Andy, real life touring musicians, on how they use social media.


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