The Mercantile Saloon has cancelled the three bands that were scheduled to play the bar's 30th anniversary party this afternoon and evening, which we blogged about just hours ago.
According to a member of Liani Moore's band, the Merc cancelled the performances because the bands didn't bring their own PA systems. So the Merc has decided to stick with what they usually have: a DJ.
Now, the Merc knows its audience, and no doubt many will be happy with just a DJ. But to anyone who doesn't hire bands regularly, please note: Bands don't provide their own PA systems, especially when there are multiple bands. Unless it's a wedding or some other "casual" gig, it's enough to haul drums, amps, instruments, for minimal money, without having to haul and set up a PA on top of it. Venues provide PAs. It's that simple. Lesson learned?
A call to the Merc by BLOGGINGTHEGRID produced bartender Michael - he declined to give his last name - who said that the bar's owner was too busy to talk, and that the person who booked the bands wasn't around. He gave Moore props, saying it is a "huge disappointment" for the Merc that Moore won't be playing. However, he didn't know if the Merc still planned to pay the bands. They say they have signed contracts; Michael wasn't sure that said contracts existed.
The disappointment is mutual: The musicians weren't getting paid much - musicians in this town rarely do - but they'd posted the gig, told friends, rehearsed and gotten geared-up. Perhaps they'd even turned down other gigs where the promoters of the show had a PA system. The Merc, which rarely has live music, apparently wasn't about to rent their own. Even for their 30th anniversary.
Hey, I've got an idea for how Sacramento can get a little classier: Pay the artists better! Most musicians, (including, in full disclosure, yours truly), get what they were making decades ago. Actually less, considering inflation. Or, they aren't paid at all. Or, in the case of today, they are dropped when they become inconvenient. It's a drag. It's just wrong.
All of which makes the Frank Black show tonight at 9 at Harlow's even more appealing. This is Blacks' first show here in a year - he played Harlow's a year ago, but that time was solo acoustic. This time he's got a band, which will, most likely, roar. (And, presumably, get paid.) Tickets are reasonable: $18 at the door. The opening act, Eastern Conference Champions, starts a bit after 9. Black's band should hit the stage by 10:30.
For her part, Liani Moore will be playing Wednesday night at Old Ironsides. Show her some love. And tip the musicians.