FAR TOO OFTEN do I hear my fellow comrades gripe about the broken state of Boston’s nightlife. “Ugh, [famous local DJ] is playing at [famous local club] again? At least there’s no line at Club Netflix & Chill.”
Well instead of griping about it like a dimwit, there are some strategies you should brand on the inside of your skull and maybe your city won’t be crap anymore past 9PM.
1. YOU’RE NOT HELPING BY NOT THROWING AWESOME SHOWS
If you’re gonna complain that there aren’t any good events in your city, have you tried putting on a goddamn show? You don’t need to sell out Madison Square Garden, but if your city has 100k+ people I bet you could find a 100-capacity room with a bar to rent for the night. Some places don’t even charge for the room, and if they do, it won’t be much for a 100-cap room. They just might be happy to have music playing for regular patrons. If you and two friends know how to hit the play button on your laptop there is literally nothing stopping you from throwing an event. If you’re a DJ that knows lots of other DJs this shouldn’t be a problem. They probably thirsty for a booking too. And if those DJ-friends have lots of other friends then you got more heads in the door. Heads in the room + not-sucky music = good nightlife event. It’s not rocket science. So your city nightlife sucks because of a direct relation to your inaction. Dumbass.
2. STOP SUPPORTING PROMOTION COMPANIES/GROUPS THAT HAVE PAY-TO-PLAY (OR OPENERS SELL TICKETS FOR THE HEADLINER WHICH IS THE SAME THING)
I see this shit all the time. Let’s talk about our friend DJ Joey. Joey is a college-aged bedroom DJ that hasn’t played out anywhere aside from (maybe) a handful of frat house basements. Joey wants to play The Big Club and open for DJ Awesome. So Joey reaches out to Promo Co. (who is putting on the show) and asks to open. Promo Co. emails Joey back and tells him that he need to put money down on a deposit and then sell 30+ tickets. Joey, being a bedroom DJ, probably doesn’t even have a dozen fans to sell tickets to see him spin. If he doesn’t meet the quota, Joey has essentially paid out of pocket to open for a DJ. Let’s say Joey does meet that quota, just think of the time, effort, sweat, tears and blood that had to be put forth to get all those tickets out there. He had to go hunt down fans of DJ Awesome and hustle $10-$20 tickets for the month leading up to the event. This is not a good use of time for Joey because he’s furthering Promo Co.’s agenda instead of working on what makes DJ Joey into DJ Awesome. DJ Joey should not be doing the promoter’s job. Time is money, so it’s pay-to-play. I admit, I have sold tickets so I could open for DJs that I wanted to be on the bill with and it sucked doing it. Don’t do the promoters job for them. Avoid Promo Co.’s shows at all cost.
3. NOBODY CARES ABOUT DANCE MUSIC
If you’re not in LA, SF, NY, Chi-city, Miami, Detroit and you’re in America, chances are the nightlife populace just doesn’t give a shit about the music being played. It’s sad but it’s a reality. The simplest solution would be to move to one of the aforementioned cities if you live in the US, but that costs money. I know that dance music thrives outside the US, so you may not be facing this issue at all. But here in the US, lots of establishments want Billboard Top 100 because it’s “popular.” Whatever that means. If you can’t move into a better city, it’s rather difficult to spontaneously start a dance music revolution in a city that doesn’t care much about it. You can’t negotiate attraction. So if you’re stuck, finding like-minded folk is imperative. Go out and make some new friends to start that revolution.
4. YOU’RE NOT SUPPORTING DOPE SHOWS
If there are good events, go to them. I know you’re tired, and you got work tomorrow, and your girlfriend wants to go to her mother’s for dinner this weekend, but if you don’t go out to shows with acts you like, you’re not helping. I’ve kicked myself too many times after hearing how dope a big DJ was at a small venue that’s three subway stops away from me. This is another problem caused by your inaction. Everynight that you can go out, GO OUT. And promote the show you’re holding with step #1.
5. OUTDATED NIGHTLIFE LAWS
Here in the fine “world-class” American city of Boston, clubs close at 2AM. That’s right. Four hours after the door opened it’s time to leave. No alcohol is served past 1:45, and everyone is in a cab going home within 30 minutes. All shows that I throw in my city ends at 2AM. The subway just got late hours past midnight on the weekends. It really sucks. It is immensely frustrating to see the state adhere to these puritan laws. It’s no wonder all the college kids move out after snagging their degree; they all moved to New York. This is hard to change but it starts with the same people in #3. Finding like-minded people and pursuing change. Not everyone is into politics so this is surely the most difficult obstacle in obtaining great nightlife. But if gay marriage can be federally legalized, what’s a couple more club business hours in Massachusetts? I’m sure plenty of establishments would revel at the revenue it could bring them.
CONCLUSION: IT SUCKS
I know. It sucks. It’s hard for an individual to shape the city’s nightlife. But what if all interested parties followed these steps? Surely 2 & 4 are the easiest, but if you can make changes in 1 & 3 then you’re on the right path. The last bit is hard to change too, with the politics and all. But it all boils down to the common element: PEOPLE. You need people for a good nightlife. You need people who are into dance music and who will support talented artists (artists: also PEOPLE). You have to be on the ground floor taking names and kicking ass to improve nightlife. So stop reading the internet and go make friends.