Ninja Gigs – the power of Social Media

March 28, 2011

I don’t get to live music as often as I’d like – it’s one of the issues about working with volunteers; they’re mostly available at evenings and weekends so I have to be, too.

So I was disappointed to find that one gig I could have made, Mitch Benn at the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club in Manchester, was sold out. Oh, well, that’ll teach me to book earlier next time.

For those who don’t know much (or even anything) about Mitch he is one of those rare individuals who can combine comedy with music – and topical comedy at that. You can find out more, as well as watching some videos and listening to his podcast on his own website

Being a fan, I follow Mitch on Twitter (@MitchBenn) I spotted a series of tweets from him on Saturday afternoon:

“Getting a lot of tweets from Manchester twoops sad that tonight at the Frog & Bucket is sold out- here’s the thing…”

“Most of the punters in the F&B tonight will just be out for a night out and not particularly interested in me. That’s fair enough, but…”

“… it saddens me that those of you who ARE interested in me might miss out, so listen up: I don’t have much on before about 9.30pm…”

“… if you can round up enough of you and find a room, I’ll do a ninja-gig this evening. Start collaborating, use hashtag #ninjamitch

Those of us who really like Mitch’s brand of musical comedy, but had been unable to get tickets, went into “Twitter overdrive”. For a while it looked Like Mitch was going to play a front room in Bolton (it was a little far away from his 21:30 gig, though) then I managed to source a room in Eccles (but no bar and no PA) then, at just after 5pm the Kings Arms in Salford joined the party and the ninja gig was on.

You can see more pics on Cat Ashton’s photoblog and also hear a little more about how all this started – it’s she whom we who managed to go have to thank 🙂

Sean Fisher managed to video Mitch’s most recent release and, if you watch it you’ll see a fat slaphead scouser about 40 seconds in 🙂   You can see it here

Obviously I got there in plenty of time – time to get a prime seat and, happily for me, to welcome Mitch as he arrived. I offered to get him a drink (my life is defined by famous people for whom I’ve bought drinks – current running total is 0) but he just wanted a pint of tap water!

The room started to fill up and the gig was on!

It was a great evening – I doubt that the folk in the Frog and Bucket had as good an experience. And it was a ninja gig (no idea where that name came from – but Mitch used it) so not everything would go smoothly. Indeed, half way through he had to stop and answer his phone – just in case it was the Frog & Bucket asking where he was!

But it also reminded me that, as well as responding to international events (such as the Tsunami in japan or the conflict in Libya) Social media can also be used for local events and interests.

As Mitch himself tweeted afterwards:

“I’m still agog at how the net in general and twitter in particular lets you organise things INSTANTLY in ways that simply weren’t possible…. I had the first hint of an idea for a #ninjamitch gig at 3.35pm; by 5.10 I had a venue & an audience. Mental.”

But it was also a reminder that sometimes, if you go the extra mile for people and are prepared to put yourself out a bit, then rewards can come. I doubt that Mitch made much money on the gig (he passed a pot around and sold a few CDs) but he’s certainly gained some new fans – and validated those of us who’ve been following him for a while.

What a top bloke.