We’re pleased to bring you the 3rd Patron Panel. Joining us today are Rachel Ardour, an avid showgoer from Rochester who’s made her presence known at most of the shows we’ve attended since starting the blog, and Jason Coryer, who’s been in a handful of bands over the years and was more recently a Renaissance man over at Waiting Room before it was shut down.
1. What’s the worst show you’ve ever been to? Why was it the worst? What could’ve made it better?
Jason Coryer: I dont think I’ve ever been to a truly bad show. Poorly promoted or bad sound quality, plenty of times. But for the most part, the shows are all across the board in quality.
Rachel Ardour: Worst, I’m not sure. I’ve been to plenty that were just kind of boring, weren’t very many people there, or the crowd wasn’t too into it. It’s always more fun when the crowd is big and energetic. One show sticks out in my mind. I went to see Tyr and Death Angel at the Montage, which is the venue I’ve had the most bad times at, and they have a sound guy who doesn’t seem to really know what he’s doing. The sound there is mediocre at best, even though they have decent equipment. 2 or 3 songs into Tyr’s set, one of the main speakers blew, because for whatever reason they don’t have safeguards against that in their setup, and the rest of the show just sounded like utter crap. I couldn’t even enjoy it after that and I love both bands. Such a disappointment.
How could it be better? So many ways, but mainly, get a sound guy who knows that the fuck he’s doing.
2. What’s your favorite venue in the Western New York area?
Jason Coryer: The Waiting Room, for sound quality and sight lines, was probably one of the best I’ve seen.
Rachel Ardour: The Bug Jar. I’m a fan of smaller venues, and I’m probably biased because I know the people there. I wish Flower City Station would host more metal shows because they have like REALLY GOOD bar food. I got some fries there covered in cheese and sriracha ranch and some other stuff. SO GOOD. I’d go there way more often if they had shows I wanted to see. Most of the other venues don’t have food, and when you’re at a show for 5 hours, you get hungry. Especially if you come from work and don’t have time to eat something in between.
3. When it comes to show promotion, what are the dos and don’ts? What do you want to see less/more of?
Rachel Ardour: I’d like to see more of it. I know it’s tough. I used to do show promotion and I got sick of it. It’s hard to find your audience or know where to put flyers up. If you think you’re doing enough, do more. Because there’s always people who don’t know about your show going on. Flyers are important and so are posters. It’s not all on Facebook. You can’t reach people who don’t know about you there. The first show I went to when I moved to Buffalo, was because I was walking down some street and saw a flyer in a window. I didn’t know anyone there or any of the bands or where the metal venues were and if I hadn’t seen that flyer, I never would have.
So hand out flyers and hang them on telephone poles and bulletin boards. Hang them up at music shops like Guitar Center, record stores, and the little food places people like to go to if they’ll let you. Corner stores maybe, even? Ask the local businesses. Most of them are like “Yeah, sure go ahead!” They’ve got those boards with local business cards and stuff on them. Put them there.
Oversaturation on Facebook is a problem too. I used to be in metal groups on here and I left them because people were posting their shows over and over every single day. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s annoying as hell. I don’t think the groups should be used for show promotion so much. More should be for discussions and exchanges and helping people find what they’re looking for. If you’re promoting online, switch it up. Have more than one flyer design. Post in the morning Monday, in the afternoon on Tuesday and the evening on Wednesday.
Have different people in your band post the show at different times. People’s schedules are all over the place and they won’t all be online at the same time. It also blows my mind how averse to direct messages and phone calls people are, because I have this book about the underground death metal scene in the ’80s and they would get 200 people to show up to a show with 24 hours notice with telephone chain calls. It’s amazing, but how can we make that happen now? Nobody wants to be bothered. (Then, they’ll complain that they didn’t know, right?) You do what you can, I guess.
And another peeve of mine is with bands that play out way too often. Stop playing out every week. Don’t even play in your town more than once in a month. Maybe once every 3 months. Why would I come out to all your shows if you’re playing every other week? Why would any of your fans come out that often? You’re just hurting yourself there.
Jason Coryer: Show promotion is tough. I was in a few bands and after years of hit and miss attendance, I spoke to someone who had done band promotion since the mid ’80s. He said and it seems to me to be true, “Drink specials and bands do not draw people, people draw people”. I’d like to see earlier and shorter shows. I’d like Buffalo to be a major market instead of getting the scraps of a weeknight show, because it would seem that the weekend shows are saved for the bigger markets.
4. What’s your opinion on how the internet has effected the music scene?
Jason Coryer: The internet made music worthless. Its a trickle down effect. Nobody gets paid for their music any more. Bands make money touring, by raising the cost of a ticket and t-shirts specifically. Mid-range promoters cannot afford to bring quality headliners. So we get stuck with obscure German bands on tour on a Tuesday night in someone’s basement. It might make someone happy to see them, but I wanna see something better than obscure.
Rachel Ardour: I think it’s made us all a little more lazy. I also definitely think that social media eats up more time than we like to admit. When I take a break for a week or so, I get a lot more done – but I also don’t get invited to do anything because everyone uses Facebook for planning events now. I think having the internet distraction makes people less likely to leave their homes. With games and movies and TV shows and so many other things available at your fingertips in seconds, it’s hard to break people away from that. And then you go to shows and see people with their phones out – I’m guilty of this occasionally, but usually because I decide to live stream what those losers at home are missing out on.
5. Which do you prefer: Mixed genre shows or genre specific shows?
Jason Coryer: I like both mixed and specific genre shows. Mixed when I go see something, but specific if I’m playing it.
Rachel Ardour: Mixed. I mean, not too mixed. Don’t have a Grateful Dead type band with black metal, but a death metal band, a black metal band and a doom band all together can be a fun time. You don’t get as bored and it exposes people to different stuff. Someone might come out to see the black metal band that they know about and get to hear the death metal band and decide they dig that too. It definitely attracts a bigger crowd because you’re tapping into more sub-genre fan bases. I’ve seen punk bands play metal shows and more rock and roll bands play metal shows and they were all a good time. A fight even broke out during the punk set (laughs).
6. What’s your favorite out of town venue?
Jason Coryer: I’ve been to shows all over the U.S. I have to say that I really don’t have a favorite venue. They all have their pluses and negatives.
Rachel Ardour: I don’t even know what’s open anymore! I loved going to Broadway Joe’s, even though I know it had limitations due to it’s size and equipment, but I always had a great time there. The one time I went to the Rockin’ Buffalo would have been great if the sound guy hadn’t forgot he needed to work that night (he showed up like 2 hours late).
7. (Kind of attached to questions 1 and 3) What are some things you’ve seen/experienced at out of town shows that you’d like to see more of in WNY?
Jason Coryer: Nothing in particular. Better headliner quality, better sound quality, and no more than 3 bands.
Rachel Ardour: Honestly, the best shows I’ve been to have been in Rochester. I go other places and people just stand around. Oh, this one venue in NYC had a coat room which would be great for the winter.
8. What’s your preferred genre of music?
Jason Coryer: Death metal, Metal, Thrash, Blues.
Rachel Ardour: That really really depends on my mood. I guess I’ll say metal, because that covers so many subgenres that I listen to regularly. Keep it vague.
9. Without even thinking about it, name your top 3 favorite bands (if you can).
Jason Coryer: Carcass, Hail of Bullets, Slayer.
Rachel Ardour: Enslaved, Iron Maiden, Katatonia.
10. Who’s your favorite promoter in WNY right now?
Jason Coryer: I don’t attend shows like I used to, so I’m not familiar with who is promoting now.
Rachel Ardour: Heavy Metal Steve (Bug Jar). He doesn’t even do it that often, but when he does, he does a great job. He gets people pumped about it and he sets up a good mixed genre show. You should have seen his birthday show. People were moving! It was awesome, the most lively crowd I’ve seen in a long time.
11. Jason, you’ve been in bands in the past. Talk about the best/worst show experiences you’ve had from the point of view of a performer.
Jason Coryer: Any show where I have to set up in front of a band that is already set up sucks. If the stage is big, it still sucks, especially if the headliner is of low quality. It’s hard to put on a great show when you’re given a foot of center stage to work with.
12. Are there any shows coming up in the near future, either of you are super ecstatic about attending?
Rachel Ardour: I’m going to see Enslaved in Ohio in a few weeks. Locally, this Sunday at Photo City Improv, there’s a show for people who don’t care about the Super Bowl. It’s got a really great lineup with Gates of Paradox. Those guys are really fun. Fatal Curse, which if you love old school heavy metal, you will love them, and the melodic death metal superstars of Sastruga, and two other bands I’m not familiar with are playing, but I’m sure they’ll be great. AND there’s free pizza. If you’re not watching football, go to that.
Shepherd of Rot’s 2 year anniversary show is February 24th at the Victor Village Inn, right off the thruway, just passed Rochester. That’s a fun little place with good bar food. It’s a good time. Sastruga’s also playing that if you miss them Sunday, as well as Malignant and Monolith. Then in April, on the 27th, Deceased is playing at the Bug Jar, that’s going to be a hell of a time, I hope we get a lively crowd there (come to this show and mosh)
Jason Coryer: I wouldn’t say super ecstatic (laughs). I’m going to Black Label Society and possibly Doyle.
13. When it comes to listening to music, what’s your preferred format? Vinyl? CD? Cassette? etc.
Rachel Ardour: I’ll listen on anything haha. At home, it’s vinyl, I have a cassette deck in my car which is pretty sweet and I’ve been collecting. I have some pretty good ones now. I don’t actually listen to CDs that often anymore and I think it’s because they’re so delicate and fragile.
My Ancalagon CD won’t play in my car anymore and it’s barely scratched. Vinyls play with scratches, Tapes you can toss around and they’re fine. Just don’t get them wet, and pray the tape deck doesn’t eat them and you’re OK! And of course, the most convenient is on my phone, but that kills my phone battery…
Honestly for me, live is the best though. Some things just can’t be captured in a recording. I love going to shows blind not having any idea what I’m about to hear. I realize I’m unusually adventurous in this way. I suggest more people try it. You won’t love them every time, but at least you get to see/hear them in their truest form (at least, if the venue has a good sound guy).
Jason Coryer: I’m a big fan of CDs. I buy vinyl and cassettes to resell or trade for CDs.