The other day I got to chat with Lou Molinaro, co-owner and promoter of Hamilton’s live entertainment venue, This Ain’t Hollywood. We spoke about the success of local artists, Hamilton’s music scene and how social media factors in to the success of the venue, events and the artists who play there.
After leaving his previous job due to creative differences, Lou and his business partner, Glen Fulman found their own space. In April 2009 a space for a new live entertainment venue was acquired and in June of the same year, This Ain’t Hollywood opened.
Local Arts & Community
This Ain’t Hollywood contributes to the local art scene, taking part in the art crawl each month on James Street North. Every art crawl, a new/different artist will display their art at the back of the club.
Although the majority of the events that take place at the venue are 19+, Lou and his team ensure they don’t forget about the younger music fans. Every Sunday they showcase an event for all ages, for artists to get a taste for performing in a live venue. Lou creates relationships with young performers, so in the future once they (and their fans) are 19, they know where to play.
I asked Lou about the importance of social media and having an online presence. In regards to their social media accounts, they have hired an individual who manages This Ain’t Hollywood’s Twitter and Facebook page. Since Lou has been in the business, social media has changed the dynamic of promoting and marketing events. He revealed that it has allowed This Ain’t Hollywood to reach cross border audiences, resulting in an increase of fans from Buffalo and Detroit coming to catch shows in Hamilton.
Marketing/promoting shows at This Ain’t Hollywood is a mix of old school promotion (print and posters) with the new school marketing of social media. Local artists are hired to create posters for upcoming shows.
“Hamilton is a city that has a lot of street traffic,” said Lou, who mentioned the location of the posters is always strategically planned. At the same time the posters can be seen, the local artist ties into the promotion of their artwork and/or show through social media. CFMU student radio station at McMaster University, is another outlet where Lou promotes events at This Ain’t Hollywood.
Lou also shared a story about booking Monster Truck shortly after opening the club. The show was a Monday night and they were promoting it heavily because it was a Monday and not on a weekend. The show was a double bill with Monster Truck opening up for Mick Jagger’s son James Jagger and his band Turbogeist. The success of the event and response Monster Truck received from the local crowd was amazing. Monster Truck has since found positive recognition in Canada and across the globe.
Artists and Social Media
When it comes to promoting artists through social media, Lou suggests it’s a balance: “As much as we want to promote every show, sometimes it can be overkill. We don’t want to flood people’s social media feed, [to a point] at which they won’t stop and read our post.”
Terra Lightfoot, Lee Reed, Hachey The MouthPEACE and Monster Truck are great examples of how social media can help spread success. Social media is great tool for helping and supporting artists with upcoming album releases and shows. It allows the artists to enlarge their fanbase and interact with their followers.
Lou emphasized that he embraces social media, as he believes it’s an important means of promoting, communicating and encouraging audiences to talk about and review the show. He enjoys going home after a show and seeing all the videos, pictures and comments posted online.
This Ain’t Hollywood is not one to simply follow a trend for the sake of doing so. The artists they book are from all genres of music. Lou believes this variety is crucial in reaching a wide range of music fans. Lou also believes in quality music, therefore he often pushes for more quality sounding artists than the most recent hit sensations looking for a stop on tour. This Ain’t Hollywood isn’t about what artists will be the next big thing, its about supporting local artists, music and the community.
Hamilton’s Music Scene
Hamilton nourishes their artists. With better known ones often taking newer or younger artists on tour with them. What sets Hamilton apart is they don’t shy away from their originality. Lou mentioned he’s seen a migration of artists coming from Toronto, which is making Hamilton’s music community more confident.
Don’t count out Hamilton as one of the leading music cities in Canada. Artists and others in the music industry have taken notice of Hamilton’s music scene, which is growing, but also not afraid of offering something different.
“Hamilton is becoming a true music community,” said Lou as he also noted there are seven venues in Hamilton that showcase original live music. “Not trying to be trendy or create a scene, we are community; this is how it will be in 5, 10 years time…Doing things our way!”
This Ain’t Hollywood is located at 345 James St. N. Hamilton, ON. For more information and upcoming events check out their website http://www.thisainthollywood.ca/. You can also follow and like them on Twitter and Facebook.