The night of music at the downstairs lounge at Disney last night was an improbable success.
Factors against it — weird architecture; no walk-in traffic; venue that people aren’t used to going to; time slot right after work in a part of the city that few people work in.
So how come it worked ok anyway?
- The people were a good mix who gelled socially. If it was a party folks would have been gabbing away.
- The musicians (Dick & Jane, mini-Sausage Grinder, Triple Chicken Foot) were all excellent. As much as it’s a pleasure to be so close to players when they’re good, it’s painful when they’re bad and you can’t escape.
- The acoustics were round, warm and clear. I could hear every detail of the sound, and the sound was beautiful. It was a great listening experience.
- I tried to get musicians to start and end sets flush next to each other, with no break in between to fuss with the setup, like songs in a playlist. To do that I had two different playing areas, aka “stages”, so that one band would set up in one while the other was playing. In a couple spots this way of doing things was really magical, for example when Triple Chicken Foot’s first song started and the sound just opened up. (I don’t think this idea specifically made the good vibe, I think it helped establish a feeling of energy).
- The quality of the artwork for the flier (by Angelina Elise) created a sense that this was a worthy event.
- Because the space isn’t a bar and because it wasn’t late, there were kids around. They did a lot to make the atmosphere feel open and direct in way that a rock club never is.
- The main room is on the small side, so it doesn’t take a lot of people to make it feel full.
Thanks to Aaron Drake at REDCAT for making it all happen.
In the future I’m going to try to incorporate kid musicians into the show, doing one song at a time. I think that will create a friendly and homey feeling towards all the musicians and the event as a whole. Not sure how I’ll find em, though. If you’re an LA parent with a kid who plays guitar, give me a ping.