Philly Music 101: How to book a show at a Philly venue

Photo by John Vettese
The Bul Bey rocking the house in West Philly | Photo by John Vettese

Philly Music 101 is our regular series guiding you through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving participants, from artists to venues to studios and more.

Life as an independent artist in Philadelphia can be rough, especially when it comes to booking shows. When you approach a venue, what exactly are they looking for? Will your music appeal to them or turn them off? Where does social media presence lie on the spectrum? What will get your band a coveted spot on their calendar? Where is the damn instruction manual for booking a show?

We hear it from Philly artists all the time – they want to play out more often, but they haven’t had any luck getting promoters’ attention. Well, The Key is here for you! In an effort to provide some transparency in the live music world, we decided to hit up talent buyers for a handful of venues throughout Philadelphia to get an idea of what they expect, why they expect it, what will wow them and some general pointers on how to book a show. Continue reading →


Shaking Through: Creepoid’s “Old Tree” (curated by Sean Agnew of R5 Productions)

September’s episode of Shaking Through—the online audio and video collaboration between Weathervane Music and WXPN—features a song by Philadelphia’s own Creepoid, “Old Tree.” Earlier this year, the rock quartet released its debut LP, Horse Heaven; around the same time we interviewed drummer Pat Troxell and recorded the band for a Key Studio Session. This month’s session was Curated by Sean Agnew of R5 Productions and featured guest producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson.

More from the folks at Shaking Through:

Creepoid combines an eclectic set of influences including folk, hardcore, and psychedelia to create a unique and meaningful sound that is all their own. The band consists of longtime friends Sean Miller on guitar and vocals, guitarist Pete Joe Urban, and husband-and-wife Pat and Anna Troxell on drums and bass respectively.

“I chose Creepoid because I’m a big fan of their music,” states Sean Agnew, guest curator. “They are also one of the harder working local bands. As someone who sets up shows and concerts, I appreciate the effort that’s put into it. They email record labels, get their own shows and don’t just sit down and complain about how no one’s doing anything for them.”

You can watch the finished video and listen to the track below; visit the Shaking Through website to see photos, interviews, and more (including individual raw tracks for independent mixing/remixing) from the session.

Shaking Through: Creepoid from Weathervane Music on Vimeo.


This Month’s Shaking Through Artist: Philadelphia’s Creepoid

Photo by Michael James Murray

The folks over at Shaking Through—the online audio and video collaboration between Weathervane Music and WXPN—have announced that this month’s artist will be Philadelphia’s own Creepoid. Earlier this year, the rock quartet released its debut LP, Horse Heaven; around the same time we interviewed drummer Pat Troxell and recorded the band for a Key Studio Session. From the Weathervane Music blog:

It’s a new month, and it’s time to introduce a new Shaking Through artist! For October, we’re psyched to present a session with Creepoid, a band that finds the unlikely nexus of folk, hardcore and grunge music. Creepoid is singer and guitarist Sean Miller, guitarist Pete Joe Urban, and a husband-and-wife rhythm section made up of bassist Anna and drummer Pat Troxell. Together, the four-piece band creates psych-pop music with occasional recollections of the horror film genre (check out the video below). This session is curated by Sean Agnew, whose who D.I.Y. promotional business R5 Productions has brought thousands of bands to multiple venues in Philadelphia since 1996.

The Shaking Through episode with Creepoid will be posted on Tuesday, October 18th.


Union Transfer launches new website, releases official opening schedule

Union Transfer is officially set to open Wednesday, Sept. 21, with a show featuring Philly’s own Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, according to Dan DeLuca’s article in today’s Inquirer. As we mentioned yesterday, dates for shows at the new 600-capacity Bowery Presents venue—which will open at the site of the old Spaghetti Warehouse (1026 Spring Garden Street)—had been appearing at various places online, including band websites and tour sites such as, but they hadn’t been confirmed by the club. Well, it would appear that the folks behind Union Transfer (including R5 Production’s Sean Agnew, who will book shows at the venue) are finally ready to get all of their announcements out of the way. Along with the 1000-word feature in the paper, Union Transfer has launched its own website and released a handful of opening dates, which you can find below.

And, as both Agnew and DeLuca are quick to point out, it’ll have air conditioning. Anyone who has ever sweat it out at an R5 show in the basement of First Unitarian Church knows that will be welcome feature.

The coolest thing about Union Transfer, the Spring Garden Street music venue set to open Sept. 21 with a show by Philadelphia indie-rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, might be that the club will actually be cool.

That’s cool as in temperature. The club, booked by Sean Agnew of R5 Productions in partnership with New York promoter Bowery Presents, will be the polar opposite of the three-digit thermometer readings frequently registered at the First Unitarian Church, the wood-paneled sweatbox that’s the centerpiece of Agnew’s indie empire.

“That’s what I can’t wait to tell people about: It’s going to be air-conditioned,” says Agnew, 33, smiling through his beard one day last week at Noche, the Center City bar owned by Avram Hornik, the third partner in Union Transfer. “I’m so excited.”

You can read the rest of DeLuca’s article here.

9/21: ??Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
9/28: Mogwai
9/29: Shellac
10/7: The Aggrolites
10/14: RJD2
10/19: Wild Flag
10/20: Gillian Welch
10/21: CSS
10/23: Dum Dum Girls
10/25: Friendly Fires
10/28: Boris
10/29: We Were Promised Jetpacks
10/31: World Inferno Friendship Society
11/17: The Sea and Cake
11/21: Radio Dept


More info on Philly’s new Bowery Presents and House Of Blues venues with the update:

Ever wonder if this town is big enough to support another big concert venue, let alone two? Pretty soon, we’ll know the answer.

The Bowery Presents, a New York-based concert promoter and club operator run by (among others) former Live Nation exec Jim Glancy, has taken a long-term lease on the big building at 1026 Spring Garden St., the former Spaghetti Warehouse. If all goes well with their Liquor Control Board application, BP will open a new rock club on the site in the fall.

There’s also a huge, 3,000-capacity House of Blues entertainment venue coming to the waterfront area, near the SugarHouse Casino. That’s if City Council concludes that the project, which David Grasso (owner of David Grasso Holdings Development Co.) has been striving to realize for several years, won’t negatively impact nearby residential areas.

As the concert company has recently done in Portland, Maine, and Boston, Bowery Presents has enlisted the aid of a local promoter, R5 Productions’ Sean Agnew, who has a strong relationship with up-and-coming bands and bleeding-edge concertgoers, and an interest in expanding beyond his current venue limits. (R5 does all the shows in the basement and chapel of the First Unitarian Church, plus a scattering of events at Johnny Brenda’s, the Barbary, Kung Fu Necktie, the Starlight Ballroom and occasionally co-promotes at World Cafe Live, the Tower Theater or Academy of Music.)

You can read the rest of the article here.