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)
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.”
- Saturday, June 4, 2016, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
De Oro Mine Co,
9924 Campo Road,
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.