Shows & Touring

Best & Worst Dressing Room Awards


Best & Worst Dressing Room Awards
The Dressies

Posted by Charlie Recksieck on 2024-03-05
These articles here on the blog peel back the curtain a little on what it’s like to be in a band. Not life on the road for a famous band; rather, we’re portraying what it’s like to play in 50-150 seaters. A successful "tour" for us is to pay for hotels, gas, etc. and to come home with 5 dollars more than when started.

As such, we frequently don’t get green rooms. You do know what a "green room" is, correct? The backstage area where performers get to relax before a show.

In that spirit, I’m creating the Low-Level Music Venue Dressing Room Awards, aka "The Dressies."

Best San Diego Outdoor Green Room

Nominees: Del Mar Fair, Gay Pride Festival, Starlight Theater

Fun category. These aren’t normal green rooms, it’s more like a contest for the nicest holding pen. The Starlight Theater was a great venue, the only problem was promoter had no people there, but very nice guys. Del Mar Fair always runs professionally and has a great backyard. But the golf cart services and cold drinks and fans on a scalding hot day gives the nod to the San Diego Gay Pride Festival.

Winner: Gay Pride Festival

Worst Outdoor Green Room Situation

Nominees: Humphrey’s By The Bay, Ghihardelli Square Chocolate Festival (San Francisco), Guemes Island 4th of July Festival (Anacortes, WA)

Humphrey’s outdoor stage is great to play but a disappointing conference room as green room is thumbs down. Everything about Ghihardelli Square fest may have been exacerbated because I was there solo. We LOVE Guemes Island but this show was so weird we had to write about it in detail
Winner: Guemes Island 4th of July Festival

Most Helpful Staff

Nominees: University of Oregon, House Of Blues (San Diego), Redlands University
The U of O gig was a bust on the inside but they paid GREAT and we had six students carrying everything for us. House of Blues are total pros. But we got to hand it to the students at Redlands. They treated us great and those students seemed to like us.

Winner: Redlands University

Worst Bathrooms

Nominees: Desi’s (San Diego), Canes (San Diego)

These two are so bad that we couldn’t even spoil this category with a third candidate. We love Desi’s for being so chill, this isn’t personal. That said, a faulty sewage line has problems and terminates right at Desi’s. P. U.

Winner: Desi’s

Worst Load-In

Nominees: Tiki Bar (San Diego), Biscuits & Blues (San Francisco, CA), The Bitter End (San Diego)
The Tiki Bar was just a regular dive when we started out, stairs and a narrow walkway. The Bitter End (which is now the Tipsy Crow) is a basement with no basement load in. Opening for Toots Thielman’s at Biscuits & Blues in San Diego was a lot of fun. But zero parking was provided and I got a really pricy parking ticket. Fuck that place (they’re out of business now).

Winner: Biscuits & Blues

Worst Road Audience

Nominees: Brain Wash (San Francisco), Rogue Performance Festival (Fresno), University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)

We’ve written about the spooky bad audience at U of O. As for Brain Wash, it was trying to be a hipster laundry and good music venue; unfortunately it was neither hip nor good. Staff was unfriendly and the whole thing was ill-conceived. But at the Fresno festival, as it turned out I was opening for a burlesque show. Just not my crowd, lets say that.

Winner: Rogue Performance Festival

Friendliest Road Audience

Nominees: Bobby’s Idle Hour (Nashville), Wise Fool’s Pub (Chicago), Anderson’s General Store (Guemes Island, WA)

Chicago was a magical night for a little band like us . Bobby’s in Nashville I played solo and it’s the only place where the crowd gets angry at covers and goes nuts for originals. But how could this be anything other than Guemes Island where we are local celebrities. I think 10% of the people on that island have our Chubbed Up CD.

Winner: Anderson’s General Store

Worst Green Room

Nominees: Brick By Brick (San Diego), Genghis Cohen (LA), Piecora’s (Seattle)

This isn’t fair to Piecora’s, this is more of a complaint at the difficult load-in and tiny stage; we love those guys. Genghis Cohen is one of our favorites, I released a live album from various shows there - but god love them, the green room really is the size of a closet. Brick By Brick we played a few times years ago when starting out. The whole place was pretty unprofessional, and maybe I’m holding it against them because we were there for the 2004 election when we had false hopes about John Kerrey being president. But wait, what’s that? It’s Canes music. We nominated them in another category but their green room was a shithole, worse than having no green room at all.

Winner: Canes (San Diego)

Best San Diego Green Room

Nominees: Anthology, Belly Up, House Of Blues, Mission Bay Boat & Ski Club

OK, special mention for our old favorite the Mission Bay Boat & Ski Club. That room wasn’t much but how can you not love getting high with the members over an abandoned snooker table. The others here are legit. House Of Blues and Belly Up are total pros, plenty of room and well located but still have that ratty old couch classic green room look. Not so for Anthology (which is now Music Box). A giant craft services spread, great window above the stage to watch the audience with earlier bands. Simply the best green room experience we’ve had.

Winner: Anthology

Best Road Green Room

Nominees: Tom’s Garage (Appleton, WI), The Screening Room (Portland, OR), Knitting Factory (LA), Benny Huie’s (Sheridan, OR)

Knitting Factory is a nice room, small crowd for us (just like Fais Do Do in LA too). Benny Huie’s was a blast - we had a separate room and all the Chinese food we could eat (and a drunk Andy Machin). We feel terrible that John had to close The Screening Room in Portland; it was a real theater, and great idea. But Tom’s Garage in Appleton was the biggest contrast between a great green room when we needed it on the road vs. and underpromoted show and small audience. We’d like another bite of that apple sometime.

Winner: Tom’s Garage