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by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & Locals Only


& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & P & lt;/span & erformance is a challenge best faced head on. Any band will tell you, you can't plan stage presence or practice it. You've just gotta get up onstage and play. Likewise, you can't really prepare for big gigs by playing small ones. If you have ambitions of playing big gigs in big cities, you should start by playing big gigs here.





One of the great things about Spokane's not quite big city, not quite small town music scene is that we have a couple big venues that are open to headlining sets by well-established local acts. That's a rare thing. At this stage of her career, Kristen Marlo couldn't get a headlining gig at the Crystal Ballroom or Neumo's, but she got one at the Big Easy last Thursday.





And she worked it, experimenting with all those big stage production standards. Full lighting effects; band member introductions; an acoustic reprise (getting back to her roots wethinks); a band-only jam session; an encore. It was fascinating watching a young songwriter put on the mantle of rock star and take it for a test gig.





Not everything Ms. Marlo tried succeeded, of course -- people started milling about during the jam session and leaving before the encore -- but that's part of the process, figuring out what works for your fans and what doesn't. It's invaluable experience. It's also the kind of thing Big Easy Production Manager Brandie Louck says she wants to facilitate a couple times a month.





There are options beside the Big Easy too. Michael Smith, manager at the Bing, says he'd like to do more local shows, but no one ever really asks. "Before the Big Easy we did all those shows," Smith recalls, and he'd like to do them again. ou'll need to prove you've got the fanbase, but if you do, hit them up.

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