Talent Buyers Shift in the Seattle Music Scene

Tiffany Wan / January 17, 2012
Images via The Crocodile, Eli Anderson, and Neumos (Composite by Nikki Benson)

In the world of talent buying and show booking, everything is fair game, and that includes luring away prime talent from competing venues. It was announced yesterday that Eli Anderson would be leaving his post as Senior Talent Buyer at The Crocodile for a similar position at Neumos. “I’ve got years of history on that corner, and a lot of love for that room,” said Anderson in a press release. “I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities [The Crocodile] provided me, and for all the super fun times.” Although The Crocodile matched the competing offer on money, Anderson still decided to take the position at Neumos. “His decision definitely came as surprise, but ultimately we’re all excited for Eli and wish him nothing but the best of luck,” said Melissa Darby, Talent Buyer for The Crocodile, who has worked with Anderson since February 2011.

Taking his place will be Hunter Motto, who leaves his position as Program Director at Mount Baker Theatre and co-booker at Shakedown (a 150-capacity venue in Bellingham) to join The Crocodile staff. “Hunter came to mind immediately and has done great work up north!” said Darby. “[He’s a] hard working dude, motivated, and knows firsthand how this weird, incenstual industry works. All in all, we feel very confident in the team we’ve built heading into the new year.” Alicia Amiri, Local Booker at The Crocodile, also told SSG Music, “Hunter is hot and ready for action.”

So why was Neumos so eager to steal Anderson away from The Crocodile? Steven Severin, Talent Buyer and Part Owner of Neumos, told SSG Music they needed the “best guy in town,” and Anderson was the obvious choice. “Eli is a bad ass,” said Severin. “He works hard and EVERYBODY loves him.” Severin also spoke highly of Anderson’s music knowledge, relationship with bands, and extensive booking experience. “He can help keep us on our toes while we book shows at Neumos and the millions of other things that go with owning and booking a venue.” Jason Lajeunesse, another Part Owner of Neumos, hinted that Anderson may be the heir to the Neumos throne once he and Severin retire from booking duties down the road. Severin agrees that they need someone capable to pass the torch to, but that won’t be for some time. “Look, we’re not getting any younger…we’ve finally found somebody that fits that role,” Severin told SSG Music. “Don’t’ worry, we’re not going anywhere next week. I still LOVE booking shows.”

Anderson’s first big undertaking will be to turn Neumos soon-to-be-finished, 200+ capacity basement venue into Capitol Hill’s hottest new spot. The space will feature a stage, full bar, and a complete sound and lighting system. People can expect to see both local and national acts, plus DJs and special events. Last month, The Crocodile also opened a second stage inside its back bar. Although it has a smaller capacity and is less private than Neumo’s new space, it has given The Crocodile the chance to support local acts and put on all ages concerts. “We’ve had the chance to work with up and coming local bands that we’d never get the chance to work with,” said Amiri, who primarily does the booking for the second stage. “We’ve received a ton of great feedback from bands about the space. It’s a super low overhead to do a show, and the room is easily packed out and bumpin’!”

The addition of Anderson to the Neumos staff could also be seen as a pre-emptive defense to recent competition from The Neptune, which has been booking solid shows since it opened last fall. “Anytime you bring in another venue with the weight that Adam Zacks and Sasquatch carries, it’s going to have an effect,” said Severin. “We all battle for shows all day long in hopes that everybody will want to play Neumos. I’m not going to whine about it. We’ll just keep doing what we do and work smarter and come up with new ideas.”

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