Is My Band Playing Too Many Shows?
Why are you even writing me? Your instincts about what to do are solid; you can trust them. Saying yes to everything is a good way to have a fun time (in any regard), but for a new band, I think that's the way to roll. You never know what opportunities and connections can be forged out of some random suburban house show or opening for Little River Band at the Minnesota State Fair. You get to know bookers, you get to know bands, you play for audiences that don't give a shit (crucial) -- you make friends with Canadians. It's an array of experience that will bond and grow your band.
That said, it's been more than six months since you put out your release, you have supported it adequately, and you can ease off the gas and go down to two well promoted shows a month. You either must have cultivated a decent little draw, are really good live or perhaps are just super reasonable to deal with (the latter goes a long way and cannot be oversold as a way to get repeat bookings as a baby band). If you are getting booked this much promoters like you, and if you are playing their club twice a month or more, you have a relationship that is well-fostered and is not going to be harmed by you being more selective about shows. Tell promoters that you are taking a break from playing so many shows to focus on writing new songs, but that you appreciate the opportunity, you love playing there and say that you hope that they keep you in mind for whatever else they have coming down the pike. Keep in mind that this is a business of "no," so an easy "no, but thank you," is fine. Playing fewer shows may help build your draw, which will benefit everyone.
If you have done support on 80 to 96 shows in 2013, yes, it's time to at least start borrowing or renting a friend-band's vehicle and cashing in those favors, drawing on those connections and doing weekends out of town. Or take the MegaBus to Milwaukee and borrow backline. That's like $10 round-trip. Maybe in spring you can build up to going to Toronto, make good on that Canadian welcome. Don't be shy or apologetic -- you have paid your baby band dues -- you may step up to "the next level" now. Congrats.
(P.S. I would totally do that show. There would be so many bassist tears!)
Give Minneapolis my love, I do miss it.
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