While the first part of this week was optimal for spending time outside – having lunch on the patio, taking your kids to the park – most of the time in February, indoors is the preferred place to be leisurely.
That’s why bars and restaurants that have indoor opportunities for musicians can really thrive in the winter, when artists looking to get their name out may have a tougher time finding a gig.
“This time of year is slow. You’re fighting everybody to get decent gigs,” said Steven Davidson of Mooresville bluegrass band Coddle Creek.
Coddle Creek is on the regular rotation at The Vinyl Pi in Huntersville, where the band generally plays once every other month. Its next gig at the pizza restaurant and bar is Wednesday, Feb. 13.
In the summer months, Vinyl Pi co-owner Matt Dobson said anyone can set up a chair outside to accommodate an artist – the patio there was renovated last year to allow for outdoor shows – but places to play become limited as the temperature drops.
“We do better than in the summertime since there are so many outdoor options,” Dobson said. “We always do better in the winter.”
Coddle Creek has grown its following enough to play at one of the top outdoor venues along the Catawba River – the U.S. National Whitewater Center stage. The center’s River Jam series runs three nights a week from April through September.
And that’s the time of year when bands should be planning for when outdoor shows are no longer feasible.
“If you’ve done your work and done a good job during the year, it comes a little easier,” Davidson said. “If you’re not beating the streets 24/7, then it’s going to be really hard.”
For Davidson’s band, that means spreading the word with an electronic press kit, or EPK.
“It’s your resume,” he said. “A press kit with music, photos. This is all electronic with videos. People either use Sonic Biz or Reverb Nation as a press kit.”
Charlotte-based rock band The Hawthornes frequents north Mecklenburg for its performances, having recently done a show at Old Town Public House.
“We're based out of Charlotte so we're fortunate to have several good venues in the Lake Norman area we can perform regularly,” Hawthornes singer-guitarist Mike Prescott said.
Prescott also performed at ‘Tawba Walk in September and has made appearances at Vinyl Pi.
In addition to Vinyl Pi, BoatYard Eats also has the inside-outside option for its live music. The Cornelius establishment opened last August and generally has bands playing Thursday through Sunday.
Davidson, a mandolin player, said he’d love to play outside when the weather is in the 70s; however, the band’s scheduled gigs through March are indoors. After all, prior to the vernal equinox in North Carolina, his band can’t count on having those conditions months in advance.
“I’d rather feel my fingers,” he said.