We've been playing together for a few years now as a band, but when you're starting to branch out into other cities and states, it's a bit like starting over. Sometimes you're going to get lucky and someone will find your music after seeing an event notification at a local bar and they'll tell people about it, etc. etc. until you have a decent crowd in those places. Sometimes it'll be the opposite and the show won't quite take off, so things need to be looked at differently.
We played first in Lawton, Oklahoma, at a small dive named The Railhouse Saloon. When we arrived, there was a dart tournament going on and it seemed to be important business because we were told we wouldn't be starting the show until around 10:45 (which is late by most accounts) but we didn't mind if it meant the crowd would fill out. As we approached the time to play, it seemed like some people left and others came back and by the time we got started, we had a crowd of about 20 folks, which isn't bad at one of those out of town shows without a bigger act to support. The bar owner was wonderful and her drinks were well priced. The people that were there seemed to enjoy the music, bobbing their head from time to time. The sound guy was attentive and helpful, though we had some issues with the monitors. Overall, we had fun. I left that night with a giant bag of homemade beef jerky from a vendor who mentioned he was a bit fatigued with the trucking business and I thought it was cool he was doing what he was doing. The jerky was amazing and I think I shared it with everyone in the bar in several drunken rounds.
The next night we performed in Enid. We got a room at the Holiday Inn Express and picked up some BBQ at Swadley's Bar-B-Q and sweet baby Jesus was it delicious. The service was phenomenal and it said something about the people of Oklahoma. We hit the venue 1927 that night and met with an amazing staff there. We shared drinks, took some jello shots in syringes (not to the veins) and played to a pretty empty room. I talked for a while with the staff on methods for promoting and I think they passed on some good ideas. But each band still played and though we mostly played for each other, we played with the same fervent excitement and love for music that we always have. In a room of other bands, you know, at least, they love rock music and metal, they're going to support you, you're going to have a wonderful time, and there's a shared, mutual respect for the discipline. The sound was the best I think I've heard for a small venue after some tweaks and we left after giving out a few CDs.
So, while we weren't in sold out rooms, we had about as good of a time as any, because we were surrounded by some of the best damn people in the world.