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Tom's Place

a d v e n t u r o u s    m u s i c    c o m e s    h o m e
Simon says, “Improvise!”
t d @ p i x a r . c o m
3111 Deakin Street, Berkeley CA

Information for Performers

Tom's Place is a living-room concert series, with shows taking place about once a month on a weeknight. The scheduled start time for all performances is 7:30 PM. Usually performers load in at around 6:00. If you think you'll need to load in early, please let us know a few days in advance. There's a driveway on either side of the house; we try to pull our cars forward enough that there's room for a musician's car behind us in either driveway. Failing that, there's usually plenty of street parking within a block or so, with no surprising restrictions on concert nights. If you don't have any heavy equipment, public transit is an option. The Ashby BART station is quite close by. The AC Transit #1, 1R and 800 buses run along Telegraph avenue one block east of our house. The #49 bus runs along Ashby, three blocks north. Check their maps and schedules here.

The capacity of the room is roughly 20. We have occasionally had as many as 30 people attend, with the overflow peering through the door from the kitchen or sitting in the sitting room, where you can't see the stage but the sound is surprisingly good. (For our second anniversary show, 47 people showed up. There were people standing in the kitchen and hallways, with no way of seeing the stage, but everyone appeared to have a good experience.)

We have a Yamaha C7 piano. (It's a high quality 7-1/2 foot piano, smaller than a concert grand but larger and with better low end than a baby grand.) If you plan to use the piano, try to let us know at least a couple of weeks in advance so that we can schedule the piano tuner.

Beware, the piano fills most of the stage area. We have had trios with piano and percussion (once with a trap set, once with a kettledrum and small percussion), and the stage has been full but comfortable. If no one needs the piano, we move it to the back of the room, which gives us space for 5 or 6 musicians on stage. Even if you don't need the piano yourself, you may be on a bill with someone who does. Plan accordingly.

We have a small PA system: two passive JBL Eon speakers, a small power amp and an old 16-channel Mackie mixer, and no separate monitor speakers. We have two or three microphones and stands for them, but nothing fancy. In a pinch we can often borrow something more elaborate, but we need to know about your needs well in advance. It's a small room, so sound reinforcement is usually superfluous, except for performers using electronics or very quiet instruments, like small lamellophones or clavichords.

We don't charge the audience a fixed admission fee, but we do ask them for donations. We suspect that we net more money than any fixed fee would give, and that we get larger crowds by not scaring away the relatively impecunious students, musicians and retirees that form a large part of our audience. In any case, we divide 100% of the proceeds amongst the performers. We pay no rent on the venue, which we own, and we take nothing out to pay for the refreshments we provide for the audience and performers — we view it as a cheap price to pay for music and company that we enjoy.

We like to record every performance using high-quality stereo microphones and a professional digital recorder. We try to make unedited original recordings available to performers within a few days, if they ask. We would like to put edited high-bitrate mp3s of all shows on our web site. So far that's more a wish than a reality. Of course, should you want us not to record you, we will respect your wishes.

(Image by Michael Zelner, original here.)