If you've been noticing a certain uptick in Lake Worth bookings along the hardcore, punk, and related spectrum, it's not just you. The rosters at the Speakeasy Lounge and Propaganda are packed in coming weeks with performances by big-name touring acts like Set Your Goals and Chelsea Grin. They're all set to appear on multiband bills designed to also give locals time to shine and for all-ages audiences that usually get shunted to venues outside of the usual club circuit. For this, kids can thank On Fire Booking, a nearly three-year-running partnership between locals Austin DiSalvo and Alex Kenny.
DiSalvo had been booking shows since 2008 and Kenny since the impressive start date of 1991, when they met in 2009. "[Kenny] started helping me out with stuff here and there. Every once in a while, we ran a show together. We decided to merge together and become partners," says DiSalvo. "At first, it was under the name of ADD Productions -- I came up with that name 'cause a lot of people call me A.D. and it just so happens that I have ADD. It was kind of just a hobby at the time, nothing that I had intended on taking far, so I didn't really care about how the name sounded. But when things started to get serious, I decided to change the name to sound more professional."
Things got professional fairly quickly. DiSalvo and Kenny began booking mostly local acts at venues like Backbone Music in Delray, moving on to the short-lived Club Eclipse in Lake Worth, and then the DIY venues the Pit and Ground Control in West Palm Beach. As they developed a large and loyal following, they decided to book their first big-name touring acts, and by treating them right, their access to these bands and reputation within the scene continued to grow.
"We never have and never will short a band on money if not enough people come to a show to cover expenses," says DiSalvo. "Both Alex and I have been on tour before and know what it's like to be shorted, and we can't bring ourselves to do that to someone else. We always make sure all the bands that were promised payment get what was agreed on."
It's also made them popular with venues looking for an infusion of fresh blood. The partnership with Speakeasy started this year after DiSalvo got a call from the club's sound engineer, with whom he had previously worked at Propaganda. "The second I walked in, it instantly reminded me of the old Ray's Downtown Blues in West Palm Beach, which closed in 2007. All the best shows were always there; it's where I basically spent my life from 2004 to 2007," DiSalvo says. Like that venue, the Speakeasy also had a convenient location to offer. "There's plenty of parking available for bands and attendees, and it's right by the downtown area, so there's plenty to do before and after the show."
Besides the Speakeasy, On Fire continues to book shows at nearby Propaganda as well as Rocketown in Pompano Beach and, occasionally, the Pit in West Palm and Swampgrass Willy's in Palm Beach Gardens. The dream, though, is to break out on their own. "Someday Alex and I would love to open up our own 1,000-cap venue in West Palm Beach somewhere," says DiSalvo, "but until then, we're very happy with the venues we work with."
The next On Fire Booking show is Set Your Goals, Cartel, and Hit the Lights at the Speakeasy on April 16, but you can check the whole upcoming slate of bookings here. Local bands interested in consideration for performance slots can email materials to firstname.lastname@example.org or message the On Fire Booking Facebook page.
Proving your group's worth at the all-local gigs could lead to slots opening for the bigger out-of-towners. "We pay attention to what bands are able to generate a good following and what bands kids seem to be into and keep coming back to see," says DiSalvo. "If we like what we see in a local band, then we offer them an opening spot on an upcoming tour package."
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