Grim Slippers fashions dubstep and techno from their rock-trio format and has Gigtown to thank for sparing them from “selling themselves.”
  • Grim Slippers fashions dubstep and techno from their rock-trio format and has Gigtown to thank for sparing them from “selling themselves.”
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While the local booking company Gigtown remains controversial, one San Diego band and a hardcore critic are glad they’re here.

Launched last year by Andy Altman with a reported $3 million investment by his father, Gigtown muscled into the music scene by taking over bookings at a few local venues and by paying licensing fees to the Quartyard series and the Kaboo and Fiesta del Sol festivals, which allowed Gigtown artists booking access to those events.



...performed live by Grim Slippers at Stone Brewing Tap Room (2015)

...performed live by Grim Slippers at Stone Brewing Tap Room (2015)

Grim Slippers loves Gigtown. Inspired by Brooklyn’s Moon Hooch, which re-imagines EDM tunes played through sax and drums, the North County trio refashions dubstep and other techno material through their rock-trio format.

“When we saw Moon Hooch play electronic-fueled music we were blown away,” says drummer Brennan Plassmeyer. “We didn’t know those sounds could be created using acoustic instruments.” Grim Slippers is launching a new four-song EP, Take Notice, with a Saturday (June 4) show at the Del Oro Mine Company in Spring Valley set up by Gigtown.

“We don’t like to sell ourselves,” is how Plassmeyer describes the “haggling” part of getting gigs. He says his band has used Gigtown for paying gigs, including many shows at the Stone Brewing Tap Room near Petco. “They got us to play there during Comi-Con and on Padres opening day..., They also got us in at the Casbah and the Music Box.” He says Grim Slippers gets paid after Gigtown deposits their gig pay into their Paypal account minus the agreed-upon 13 percent cut.

The Grim Slippers drummer says his Gigtown deal is a no-strings attached arrangement that can be voided at any time. “Who doesn’t like Gigtown?” he asks.

Pat Hilton for one. The singer/songwriter frequently complains that Gigtown has a heavy-handed and unhealthy impact on the local scene. Yet he says even he benefits.

“They have a system so that if you show up to any of my shows and then check in using their app, I get $5 per head. It’s been that way for three to six months. They just recently changed it to $1 a head. I’ve made thousands of dollars off those idiots. I get my regular [guarantee] from the bar and then I get the extra check from that Gigtown app. I used to regularly get $60 to $100 extra a show. The most I ever got for one show was $150.”

Past Event

Grim Slippers

  • Saturday, June 4, 2016, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • De Oro Mine Co, 9924 Campo Road, Spring Valley
  • 21+ / Free

Hilton says because he has loudly railed against Gigtown, he knows he won’t get booked at some of the rooms it books exclusively. “I’ve seen people get locked out of places like Herringbone [in La Jolla]. I’ve just accepted I’ll never play there. Besides, they don’t want me to go in there and crush their chosen artists.”

Altman responds: “If it’s a new user it’s actually $10, but otherwise it is $1 per person,” he says of the so-called check-in payback app. And while he says he paid Fiesta del Sol a $2000 sponsorship fee and that “two Gigtown artists — Ki and the Routine — did play the event. Gigtown didn’t actually select them to play.”

Pat Hilton appears every Wednesday at the Gaslamp’s Tin Roof, every Thursday at the Blarney Stone Pub in Clairemont, and occasional Saturdays and Sundays at Hennessey’s in La Jolla.

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Dryw Keltz June 3, 2016 @ 10:55 a.m.

I like the sounds of this more than SonicBids, which seems to be modeled after the apartment complex that advertises an empty unit just to collect the $25 application fees. As far as festivals go, it is (apparently) often used like a ponzi scheme where the collected application fees are used to pay the bigger bands. As long as artists don't have to pay to apply to play bars and festivals with Gigtown, it seems like a decent set-up for them. It's interesting that the draw for venues is that it can take care of your booking. Most successful local venues really tailor their bands to the vibe of the establishment, this seems like a trickier proposition for a website that is outside the daily loop. It could result in venues getting line-ups that are a bit too eclectic depending on what Gigtown finds available. It might be like Dream Street where you could get a metal band, a rapper, and a solo folk singer playing on the same night. It should be noted here that Dream Street employed a "pay to play" model and is also no longer in business. It could work for a club that doesn't want to deal with booking on their own, but bars in this town seem to live and die by the booking gods, so proceed with caution. Making money off of your fans check-ins seems like nice, easy cash for bands though. Bands might want to take advantage of these freebies before Gigtown's funding runs out.


Ken Leighton June 7, 2016 @ 8:49 p.m.

Um...just heard that Cathryn Beeks has been going ape, calling people including me a giant douche. Well I'll be dadgum! It's true. Not sure exactly what makes you tick Cathryn. But I think it would be a good idea if you explained what this all about. Don't think anything I wrote in the article is untrue. In fact I know so. Not sure if you think there are any demons chasing you or you think there is someone out to get you, but I do think you have some 'splaining to do. I stand by everything I wrote and can not be responsible if Internet trolls like yourself make comments that you don't like. I stand by my article. But I can not be responsible for any one else. Frankly I don't even see why you got involved. You were not even mentioned in the article. You felt the need to get involved when you called Pat Hilton a giant douche, and now you are mad at me. What did I do? Sounds kinda creepy Cathryn. Get back to me by email if you don't mind. Or don't. You are apparently trying to make a name for yourself as the champion of San Diego music by calling people names. Which of course is your right. Quality stuff Cathryn Beeks!


Ken Leighton June 8, 2016 @ 9:11 a.m.

Have not heard from Cathryn Beeks. Interesting....She will call people names on the Internet but she won't discuss why she did it one-to-one. Don't know what to make of this but it seems Cathryn Beeks may have some issues. The article is 100 percent accurate, balanced, and obviously said something that needed to be said based on how it motivates mud throwers to do their thing. Ms. Beeks must be really frustrated over something. Interested to know what that may be.


Ken Leighton June 8, 2016 @ 6:45 p.m.

Cathryn Beeks now says she will respond to my "sticks and stones"....but doesn't want to do it right now. On what planet is she on? I never mentioned her in the article. There were no sticks and stones or words or anything else. She never had anything to do with this discussion. But she ingratiated herself into all this based on her comments in the comments section apparently because she wants the accompanying publicity. YET SHE IS NOT EVEN INVOLVED. She called a singer/songwriter and myself "GIANT DOUCHE" for what reasons I still don't get. If Pat Hilton wants to vent about Gigtown, IT IS NOT YOUR CONCERN CATHRYN BEEKS. It is not your role to defend Andrew Altman. I asked around about this and was told she apparently wants to orchestrate some big drama scene so she can position herself as the savior of local music while I am why "San Diego's music community can't have nice things" just to promote her own projects. Only one problem. As anyone can see, the article had nothing to do with Ms. Beeks. This reminds me of when talk show host Morton Downey Jr. claimed skinheads held him down in an airport bathroom and drew a swastikas on his head when in fact Downey did it himself (He did it backwards in the mirror). Ooops. Busted.


rhiller1 June 15, 2016 @ 3:27 p.m.

All I can say is that I really appreciate Ken Leighton's incredible investigative reporting. I had no idea I was in danger of being crushed, and will make sure to wear my helmet, back brace, and reinforced underwear for my next gig at Herringbone!!


Ken Leighton June 15, 2016 @ 8:42 p.m.

to rhiller1 who is an anonymous, newly created commenter.....dont know who you are or what band you are a part of, but even if Pat Hilton overdid it by saying he would "crush" anyone he would play against if he played next to a Herringbone regular (which does seem a bit overdone and a bad choice of words), please tell us all what Herringbone artistic regular we are speaking with. Please tell us who you are so we can know you are a real artist and not Gigtown or Cathryn Beeks.


rhiller1 June 21, 2016 @ 11:15 a.m.

HI Ken,

My name is Ryan Hiller, and I’m a local musician based here in San Diego. I’ve lived here for the past 10 years making my full time living as a musician, and now support a wife and baby doing so. One of the reasons I’m so proud and honored to live here is because of the amazing support system our city offers musicians.

I'm sorry for my sarcastic reply, but I wanted to chime in just because I think that all this back and forth is pretty silly. You wrote an article that definitely got people’s emotions going, so great job in that aspect. No one wants to read the same old boring/bland/vanilla article, and I’m impressed how vehement and passionate the responses have been since you released this.

All in all, if local live music is really this important to our community, then we should all understand that no one mentioned in this article is an enemy to that cause. GigTown has been an incredible force of positivity for our local music community. If you disagree with me, then please give me one accurate/specific fact that proves otherwise. Cathryn Beeks has also been an incredible supporter of live music, and she should be applauded for all of her work within the local music community. The San Diego Reader has also been an amazing resource for people to read up on the local music news with such prolific writers as yourself.

In my humble opinion, we will make larger waves nationally and globally if we support each other, and support the people and organizations who help our local artists. These bifurcations will only set us back musically to cities like New Orleans, Austin, Nashville, LA, NYC, Chicago, et cetera…

Thanks for your time and consideration, and thank you to all of the people who allow us local musicians to do what we love for a living! -Ryan


Ken Leighton June 15, 2016 @ 9:09 p.m.

A week later still have not a word via email from Cathryn Beeks. I am prepared for my new role as a GIANT DOUCHE. At her direction, I have new irrigation bags installed. I frankly love it that we are in a music scene that is NOT so uptight that a major self-described supporter of local music can let go and anoint other musicians like Pat Hilton a GIANT DOUCHE because he doesn't like what CATHRYN BEEKS says. I actually think it is healthy that we can accept that Ms Beeks is now in charge of the San Diego music scene and will bust those of us who are lower on the music industry food chain. I asked Pat Hilton if he regrets getting involved in all this and he told me he is happy to endure the name calling and ugly slurs just so he can expose what Cathryn Beeks and Gigtown are all about. He, like myself, are now embracing our Cathryn Beeks-bestowed GIANT DOUCHINESS. Let the vinegary warmth rain down on us! Some of us get knighted and become Sirs. Others have to settle with simply being anointed GIANT DOUCHES!. On behalf of Gigtown, thank you Cathryn Beeks for the recognition. I wear my Beeks-endowed vinegar water bag with pride. And boy, do I feel fresh!


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