Dear House of Blues,
I would like to make a couple of small suggestions to you. I'm doing this for free because there are bands that I care about who play your venue. I'm sure you could pay some fancy consultant, or if I wore a suit and told you I was a consultant and billed you $120 an hour for my opinion, maybe you'd be more inclined to listen, but I'm still gonna put it out there because you just. don't. get. it. I heard somewhere that the San Diego House of Blues is the least profitable in the chain. There are very good reasons for that.
Booking a show doesn't mean shit if you don't tell anybody about it. Last night, Dusty Rhodes and the River band started a residency on the 5th Avenue Sidestage and The Gift/Curse played a free show in the Delta Room and you didn't tell anyone about either show. That is your job. The bands did their share of promoting, but the thing about a venue like yours is that you can draw the uppity snobs who like music but would scoff at going to a venue, say, like Scolari's or the Ken Club or the Tower Bar and introduce them to new music. But do you? Not at all. Not only was neither show on the marquee, but you didn't even bother to put it on the board in Salvation Alley or on the chalkboard on the street. Your website is so pathetic it barely even deserves a mention.
On top of all that, it would be REALLY FREAKIN NICE if you would at least let your staff know who is playing, where they're playing and when. I know a few of your security guys and in general I know security couldn't be bothered with knowing who is playing, but at a venue like yours with foot traffic on two major streets (5th and 6th) that could actually pull people of the street, it should be their business to know and a requirement. You give the bar a flyer with goings on, how about an 1/8 of a piece of paper that the guards could pull out of their pocket when asked. They are the first line of staff people see. If they don't like being greeters, they should go be doorguys at some downtown club where they are paid to be assholes.
It would also be nice if you actually planned shows and release the information. Knowing when a band is playing makes a difference to a lot of people. Telling Dusty Rhodes they're playing at 8 when nobody ever starts on the sidestage before 10 is just really rude. You clearly don't think their time is worth more than the six pack or so each was able to consume in the 4 hours they had to wait to play their show.
And I know last night was a fluke, but the 30 Minutes With Friends anniversary party could've easily integrated Dusty Rhodes into their party had they known there were overlapping events. It's a little ridiculous to have a couple local bands downstairs drawing 100 people while upstairs there are 10 for a band that freaking opened for Los Lobos ffs.
All of that said, I appreciate your attempts to bring quality artists to town and your new attempt to integrate local music into your regular operations. Please don't make us feel like you're just suckering us in to buy your insanely overpriced and underpoured drinks. We still want to believe you actually care about music.
PS- Since Dusty Rhodes and the River Band is an amazing band, I hope that even the people who hate House of Blues and everything it stands for will come out on July 12 for another chance to see this amazing band from Orange County. Their original music is high energy and Dusty's got a voice that one wouldn't think would come out of just a white boy in his 20s. Their cover of The Band's "The Weight" gave me chills and the hilarious take on Boys to Men's "End of the Road" to close the show was excellent. And House of Blues, thanks for making it a free show even though the one place it was mentioned said it was 10 bucks. All of your sidestage shows should be free or create a late night happy hour. Most people who support bands aren't exactly loaded, but they like to get loaded. Let them.
PSS- After their residency, Dusty Rhodes and the River Band are going on tour with Johnny Lang. That ain't no small deal.
Before and after Dusty Rhodes, Andrea and I checked out the 30 Minutes with Friends party. We got to see a bit of Mal Hall's comedy and at the end of the night, about half of The Gift/Curse's set. Molly took really great pictures of the whole event which you should check out.
Molly's Flickr Photoset
My band pics were so lazy and bad that I'm not even posting them. But we had some fun downstairs so here's a couple that I like.
The crowd of the "30 Seconds with friends 1 year anniversary" party in the Delta Room
Jamal- DJ Kid Lightning
Andrea's "Stop the paparazzi" pose
Ruggy's mid high five
Molly taking pictures
Oh yeah, and after all that, I dropped Andrea at home and finished the night at the Ken Club where a bunch of the locals were hanging out, which to me is the best way to end any night. Oh, um, 2nd best way...