What clubs want

[PLEASE NOTE: Information listed here was accurate as of March 16, 2005. Please call the venue to verify information.]

So you can play a solo like Hendrix, your singer is the love child of Tom Waits and Siouxsie Sioux, and you’ve been rocking out in your mom’s garage for the past six months. Now all you need is an audience — and I don’t mean your dog and the neighbors who keep calling the cops. While most clubs want a press kit, demo and references, that’s pretty much where the similarities stop. Area venues range in musical tastes from edgy pop to sugary folk, so know what bars are looking for your sound before you waste your glam-rock demo on a place that only hires bluegrass acts. Want to know where you can strut your stuff, what it takes to get in the door, who pays and who lets you pass the hat? Read on:

Akumi, 28 Wall St., (236-2577) — Local bands can cut their teeth at this sushi bar. Drop a press kit by the bar (Attn: Nathanael). Musicians are paid a percentage of the bar.

Barley’s Tap Room, 42 Biltmore Ave., (255-0504) — Jazz, bluegrass and Americana/honky-tonk bands (no rock, metal or “alternative”) can send a press kit to the attention of Patrick Huss. Payment to be discussed.

Bearly Edible, 15 Eagle St., (255-8154) — A representative for the restaurant explained, “We don’t pay, but if they want to play here, they’re welcome.” Bluegrass and jam bands preferred, tip jars allowed and musicians are plied with food and beer.

Blue Mountain Pizza, 55 Main St., Weaverville (658-8777) — Acoustic musicians playing swing, bluegrass and folk can drop off a press kit and references. If the band is a good fit, a regular gig might result. Small payment and tips.

Broadway’s, 107 N. Lexington Ave., (285-0400) — “A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll” is how a club representative described the wide spectrum of musical offerings they book. Bands get the door, the venue provides PA. Musicians should drop off a demo to Todd Cooke or mail it to 120 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville, 28801.

Cafe Soleil, 62 N. Lexington Ave., (350-1140) — Local bands are welcome to drop off a demo and contact info. World, ethnic, folk and jazz sounds are currently on the roster. Musicians receive payment.

Club Hairspray, 38 N. French Broad Ave., (258-2027) — Looking for high-energy bands (no particular genre). Interested musicians should drop off a demo with the bartender any night that the club is open. Payment depends on a band’s following.

College Street Pub, 4 College St., (232-0809) — Top-40, blues and rock groups fit in at this downtown bar. Bands are generally paid a flat fee to perform. Drop a demo off to Cat or Mitch.

Cypress Cellar, 321-C N. Main St., Hendersonville (698-1005) — Bands and solo acts playing rock and blues find a place at this club. Drop off a demo.

The Emerald Lounge, 112 N. Lexington Ave., (232-4372) — “We don’t take anything from the band,” explains a club representative of their payment policy. Established bands can ask a guarantee while new bands play for the door. Mail or drop off a CD with contact info to Jon. Emerald Lounge likes roots, reggae, hip-hop, jazz, funk, groove and bluegrass, but steers away from heavy rock and pop. The club provides sound.

Gray Area, 14 College St., (281-2990) — Drop your demo off to Chris Allan; any form of demo or press kit is acceptable. The club books all kinds of music in the rock, blues, jazz and MoTown vein, but rap and hip-hop groups need not apply. Bands play for a flat fee.

Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall, 185 Clingman Ave., (232-5800) — Musicians starting out or new to the area are invited to play the club’s Tuesday open mic. Sometimes opening acts are selected from these open mics. Bands can send demos to the attention of Brian Landrum. Bands generally get the door, and sound — an awesome sound system, by the way — is provided

Ground Zero, 3059 Howard St., Spartanburg, S.C. ((864) 948-1661) — Punk and metal. Bands are booked by playing the Wednesday night open mics, playing in the frequently scheduled battle of the bands, swapping shows with established bands, or sending a demo to the club address. E-mail a link to your band’s Web site to: gzsc@aol.com. Local bands get the door.

Gypsy Moon, 13 Walnut St., (232-4454) — This is a predominantly singer/songwriter establishment. Interested musicians can drop off a CD demo or play the open mic (think of it as an audition). Gigs pay a flat fee.

The Handlebar, 304 E. Stone Ave., Greenville, SC ((864) 233-6173) — This venue is moving toward booking modern, alt- and indie-rock bands. Singer/songwriter, acoustic and solo performers can occasionally wrangle gigs as opening acts (e-mail your query to handlebar@handlebar-online.com). Artists and bands with a following (must be able to sell at least 50 tickets) can check out the Mountain Rocks Series at www.handlebar-online.com/mountain.htm.

Hannah Flanagan’s, 27 Biltmore Ave., (252-1922) — Thursday is acoustic night, Friday features blues and bluegrass, Saturday is rock and, starting in May, world music will make a showing. Bands can send a press kit to the club’s address or contact Mark Sternal at 254-3107. Bands need to bring a PA; they play for a flat fee and hospitality package.

Hannah Flanagan’s, 300 N. Main St., Hendersonville (696-1665) — Rock and solo acts should send a press kit and demo to the attention of Marla. Call the club for the band hotline number. Musicians play for a flat fee and a bar tab. A tip jar is allowed.

Jack of the Wood, 95 Patton Ave., (252-5445) — Roots-based music; no rock or cover bands. Actively seeking Celtic bands. Submit your demo to Jack of the Wood, Attn: Music Booker, 40 Wall St., Asheville, N.C., 28801 or e-mail jackmusic@bellsouth.net. Guarantee versus the door.

Karmasonics Music/Video, 14 Haywood St., (259-9949) — This music store hosts local musical acts. Owner John Ludavico notes that groups make more money by passing a hat, but a cover can be arranged if a band prefers to play for the door. Acoustic rock, singer/songwriter, bluegrass and other bands that work acoustically can drop off a demo. Established local acts might be booked for the venue’s monthly Songwriter Performer Circles.

Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, 55 Haywood St., (254-6734) — This small cafe and bookstore prefers acoustic acts. Bring your own PA and plan to book at least a month in advance. Drop a demo off, or e-mail info@malaprops.com. Payment is in tips, cafe drinks, and you can sell your CDs.

The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave., (225-5851) — Booking is done through AC Entertainment and focuses on nationally touring acts. However, local musicians are booked as opening acts for larger bands that don’t provide their own support. Interested bands should not send a demo. Instead, send an e-mail to booking@theorangepeel.net. The club hires bands based on following and word-of-mouth. Opening acts are paid by budget and bands in local shows receive a percentage of the door. The club provides sound.

Purple Onion Cafe, 16 Main St., Saluda (749-1179) — Cover bands (as in all covers) need not apply, but singer/songwriters, bluegrass bands, jazz groups, Americana acts and others with original music can send a CD demo to the attention of Robert Seiler. Musicians play for $100 guarantee plus tips, food and drinks.

The Relaxed Reader, 721 Haywood Road, (225-6677) — The cafe and bookstore hosts local musicians on Sunday afternoons. Singer/songwriters and eclectic acts are invited to drop off a demo. Tip jar; bring your own PA.

Root Bar No. 1, 1410 Tunnel Road, (299-7597) — This mostly-jazz club has openings for Tuesdays (’20s and Dixieland jazz) and Thursdays (everything but cover bands). Drop off a press kit and demo — musicians get the door for now, guarantee in the future.

Soul Infusion Tea House & Bistro, 628 E. Main St., Sylva (586-1717) — This intimate venue supports local and independent musicians. Check out their Web site (www.macktown.net/soul) for helpful hints on getting gigs. Soul Infusion looks for old-time, Americana, upbeat folk, soul, funk, fusion, world beat and roots music. Send press kit with cover letter to: Soul Infusion Music Booking, P.O. Box 1055, Dillsboro, N.C. 28725-1055. No calls until you’ve already sent something by snail mail or e-mail.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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