The Enthusiast! Cracking into the Live Music Scene in St. John’s … and Beyond

"No matter what your chosen instrument or genre, the first step to success is showing up ..."

In this series, we’re sharing expert advice on how to take your first step into a brand new scene. When it’s the live music scene, no matter what your chosen instrument or genre, the first step to success is showing up.

Meghan Harnum on Getting Started

Meg plays in Punch Table, Hard Ticket, uHu, THe Mudflowers and records solo as Scrambled Meggz

“My advice for someone interested in getting into playing live music downtown is this: go to shows. Go to lots of shows. Go to lots of different types of shows and go to shows at different venues. Introduce yourself to the bands. Be kind. Be friendly. Be approachable. Don’t be a jerk. Find bands that you enjoy and tell them that you enjoy them. Tell them about your band. Bands are always looking for new bands to play with. Also, don’t be scared.”

Catch Punch Table and Hard Ticket at Lawnya Vawnya in May.

Glen May on Doing it Yourself

Glen is the festival coordinator for Shed Island, and plays in bands like Mind Violence and Pockethands

“Book your own show. It doesn’t even have to be in a bar. Cafes, art spaces, backyards, basements… go rent a generator and haul it out to Cape Spear. Some of the most rewarding and fun experiences I’ve had playing music happened far away from George Street. It’s easier than it sounds and usually you can rely on the support of other musicians to help get things up and running. Alternatively, booking a bar show is relatively easy and has the added benefit of professional help. If you lack the know-how, resources or networks to book your own thing, the next best option is to message bar owners or promoters themselves. It seems like people are always searching for bands to flesh out bills, and all it really takes to get on someone’s radar is a Facebook message with a Bandcamp URL.”

The first Shed Island Show of 2016, a fundraiser at the Peter Easton featuring Hard Ticket, Cold Agent, Jupiter Cycles, and a new band, Different Dude, featuring the members of Pockethands and Family Video, is on May 14, $10 cover.

Meg Warren on Motivation

Meg Warren fronts Repartee 

“The biggest thing for us when we started touring was just DOING IT. Not waiting for ‘the right time,’ or the spring when the weather is better, or when everyone in the band could get the time off work. If you wait for the perfect time to tour, it’ll never happen. Obviously, you want to have some songs recorded and some merch so you have something to leave with people … but other than that, just GO. It’s hard and difficult and tiring but it’s also incredibly fun and rewarding. You just have to be pro-active and go out and do things. Our very first show in 2009 was at The Levee, which is an amazing venue for new bands. Book a show there. Play as much as you can in St. John’s for a short while and then start touring. Seriously, as soon as you have music recorded and some merch, go out and tour. You’ll probably never feel prepared… I’m pretty sure I’ve cried the night before every tour so far… and it’s scary but it’s also incredibly fun and you learn so much.”

Repartee is touring Canada this summer, to promote their latest album All Lit Up.

Len O’Neill on making connections

Len O’Neill fronts Green & Gold and plays with other local bands 

“Earnestly involve yourself in the community. Go to shows and talk to people. Meet the people who organize and play shows and try and discover the entry-level gigs that suit your experience. Play in smaller bars on weekdays as often as you can while continuing to get to know and appreciate the musicians who are playing the gigs you’d like to be playing. If you’re hardworking and kind and are legitimately interested in the music being made in the community, you’re well on your way. Put yourself out there, bud.”

Green & Gold is launching their new album, Then the New Crow Came, May 13th at The Rockhouse.

Steve Maloney on Planning

Steve fronts Steve Maloney and the Wandering Kind

“Pick your battles! You don’t have to play everywhere, all the time. Instead, make the most of each show, create an experience, and build anticipation for yourself and the audience.”

Steve is just back in town from playing some showcases at the ECMAs.

Renee Sharpe on Creating Something Brand New

Renee founded BAND OFF 

“I was feeling like I wanted more fun in my life! That means helping create a community of buds who want to support women and trans and marginalized folks who have a history of being excluded from punk — to play punk! There is a beautiful herstory of punk as a subculture/counterculture being used as a springboard for women and queers and folks who don’t identify with the male white majority – to take up space and play raging music with feminist, anti-oppression-based lyrics. With that comes a push back from the norm punk world where marginalized folks may not feel like it’s safe to stick around – might not feel safe playing or organizing shows because of the f*cked up attitudes that exist in punk, much like the rest of the world – where violence against women, racism and transphobia go unchallenged. These are barriers to being involved with any community – but for punk in particular, it can be a reason why some folks may not feel so hot being a part of such a toxic, unsafe “community.” We are working against that, celebrating the fabulous radical folks who have been taking up space in punk since the 70’s – who demand way cooler music and way cooler communities that celebrate a more anarchist, anti-oppression based model of punk.”

BAND OFF is a no-skill-required, random punk band generator for everyone. Show Up at Eastern Edge’s potluck on Friday, May 13 at 6:00 p.m., throw your name in a hat, and bands are drawn from a hat: you get a few weeks to learn 2 covers and an original, then play a show.

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