Independents Day

In 2002, after a couple of years as an occasional solo performer, something momentous happened: someone found my web page and wrote to me. This was before MySpace and the rest, so… it was an enormous big deal.

The someone who wrote in was local musician Seth Howard. We sent a couple of emails back and forth and then met up to talk about an idea he had, which was to start a weekly showcase for solo and/or acoustic performers, such as we were. At the time there were few venues for solo artists, and few bookers booking them. We each contacted some others who might be interested in joining in — Seth talked to the Stares, I talked to DGH. As it happened I’d already curated a few shows at Aurafice Cafe on Pine Street in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, so we had a venue. We all got to work and booked some artists, with shows to begin in August. We decided to call it Independents Day.

Independents Day flyer for August 2002

We had some guidelines: the shows would be on Fridays and would start at 8, with 2 or 3 performers playing 30-minute sets. This would allow audiences to attend this gig then still have time to go to a bar show. The artists would be solo or small combos, the limits being that the stage was tiny and the venue didn’t want it to be too loud. Ideally the headliner would be someone more or less well-known, so the openers could have an audience. Admission was free.

The shows started out strong and had good attendance, and we were enthusiastic — we were bookers! Which meant having shows on our own terms. For a while we made an effort to take photos of every gig and tried things like recording the performances and Shoutcast streaming.

We had a show almost every week for about a year, at which point we burned out and never wanted to be bookers again. What happened?

The frequency was probably the biggest thing. Had it been one show a month, it would have been much easier. As it was though, we had to find two or three people a week. Seattle has lots of musicians, but most hadn’t heard of our series. We ended up booking a lot of the same people repeatedly (including ourselves). Few “well known” acts were interested.

Also, attendance was not usually that good. Aurafice had a built-in audience of Friday night regulars, but they were not there for music. Many artists didn’t take enough responsibility for promoting their show. We got one piece of press, an article in the Stranger by Megan Seling. The piece was complimentary, but also reflected that this format was “not her thing.” It wasn’t most people’s thing.

And finally, our own interest was hard to sustain. We were scattered around town and had other projects. It was difficult to share responsibility among us, especially with booking. Ultimately Seth and I were the only ones actively involved, and we found other unpaid things we’d rather do.

So that was that. It sounds like failure. Compared to what though? A bunch of musicians who start booking shows are musicians that want to play more shows. We did that. We had good times, made friends, and learned things. Things like, “I don’t like being a booker.” But also other things.

Click here to see my I.D. photo collection on Flickr. Or click the links below for individual show photos sets.

List of Shows

August 2, 2002
Robb Benson
Seth Howard
Louis O’Callaghan

August 9, 2002
Dan Johnson
Matt Duss
John Purkey

August 16, 2002
Robb Benson
The Stares
Mark Rose

August 23, 2002
Daniel G. Harmann
Supine to Sit
Rob Alleson

September 6, 2002
Michael John Serpe
Seth Howard
Marc Calhoun

September 13, 2002
Saeta
Daniel G. Harmann

September 20, 2002
Dave Keppel (the Delusions)
the Stares
Louis O’Callaghan

September 27, 2002
Deception Pass
Mark Rose

October 4, 2002
Jim Roth (the Delusions, Built to Spill)
the Femurs
Eli Harrison

October 11, 2002
Michael John Serpe
Seth Howard
Tim Enloe

October 18, 2002
Louis O’Callaghan
Damon Di Cicco

November 1, 2002
Seth Howard
John Purkey
Marc Calhoun

November 8, 2002
Fey Ray
Trish Scearce (the Guest Stars) with Stuart McLeod (of sub sonic)
David Young

November 15, 2002
Lisa Van Arsdale (of Tart)
The Stares
Louis O’Callaghan

November 22, 2002
Nick Drake cover night

November 29, 2002
Christopher McBride (the Drop)
Michael Compton
Daniel G. Harmann

December 6, 2002
Rosyvelt
Tim Enloe
Finn Parnell

December 13, 2002
The Mu
Mike Turpen
Amy Mahardy

December 20, 2002
Dave Young
Jeff McCollough
Laurie Katherine Carlsson

December 27, 2002
Marc Calhoun
The Graze
Jeff Janis

January 10, 2003
Roxy & Clark
Seth Howard
Michael John Serpe

January 17, 2003
Jean Mann
Mark Rose

January 24, 2003
Jake London
Ben Kennedy

January 31, 2003
Jim Roth
Dave Keppel
The Graze

February 7, 2003
Jupiter Crash
Finn Parnell
Eric Goetz

February 21, 2003
Gavin Guss
The Malinks
Corey Small

February 28, 2003
the Stone Throwers
Sergio Montoya

March 7, 2003
Ben Kennedy
Nathan Smurthwaite

March 21, 2003
John Pascucci
Your Favorite Book

March 28, 2003
Christopher Blue
Lila
Matt Menovcik

April 18, 2003
Silver Linings
Seth Howard
Hardison

April 25, 2003
Lesli Wood (Ms. Led)
Brittain Ashford

May 16, 2003
Dani Linnetz
Shelley Dael Walker

May 23, 2003
Rob Allison
Daniel G. Harmann
the graze

May 30, 2003
the Brother Egg
Meagin Donovan

June 13, 2003
Amy Mahardy
Mike Turpen
Kevin Cook

June 20, 2003
Rosyvelt
Eric Goetz
Joshua Powell

June 27, 2003
the Stares
Kanada
Allen Ereaux

July 11, 2003
House on a Hill
Seth Howard

July 18, 2003
Shelley Dael Walker
CD Release Party

July 25, 2003
Eli Harrison
David DeLeon-Smith

August 1, 2003
Ben Kennedy
Nathan Smurthwaite
Finn Parnell

August 8, 2003
Robb Benson
The Malinks
The Graze

August 15, 2003
Robert Deeble
Daniel G. Harmann
Tom Baisden

August 22, 2003
Matt Duss
Greg “Red” Lehman
Dave Young

List of Artists

Rob Allison
Brittain Ashford
Tom Baisden
the Brother Egg
Robb Benson
Christopher Blue
Marc Calhoun
Laurie Katherine Carlsson
Michael Compton
Kevin Cook
Deception Pass
Robert Deeble
David DeLeon-Smith
Damon Di Cicco
Meagin Donovan
Matt Duss
Tim Enloe
the Femurs
Fey Ray
Eric Goetz
The Graze
Gavin Guss
Hardison
Daniel G. Harmann
Eli Harrison
House on a Hill
Seth Howard
Jeff Janis
Dan Johnson
Jupiter Crash
Kanada
Ben Kennedy
Dave Keppel (the Delusions)
Greg “Red” Lehman
Lila
Dani Linnetz
Jake London
Amy Mahardy
The Malinks
Jean Mann
Christopher McBride (the Drop)
Jeff McCollough
Matt Menovcik
Sergio Montoya
The Mu
Louis O’Callaghan
Finn Parnell
John Pascucci
Joshua Powell
John Purkey
Mark Rose
Rosyvelt
Jim Roth (the Delusions, Built to Spill)
Roxy & Clark
Saeta
Trish Scearce (the Guest Stars) with Stuart McLeod (of sub sonic)
Michael John Serpe
Silver Linings
Corey Small
Nathan Smurthwaite
The Stares
the Stone Throwers
Supine to Sit
Mike Turpen
Lisa Van Arsdale (of Tart)
Shelley Dael Walker
Lesli Wood (Ms. Led)
David Young
Your Favorite Book

 

 

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