A House of Kids

The Sippy Cups are playing three shows at the House of Blues the weekend of April 14th – at three different House of Blues clubs in two days.

The kids band is playing the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip on the morning of April 14th and House of Blues Anaheim at 3:30 p.m., with another show in San Diego the next day. A spokeswoman at the HoB on Sunset does not recall any band ever playing two of the venues in one day.

But kids acts are becoming big hits in mid-sized venues, giving the facilities some income on otherwise dark afternoons – including The Sippy Cups to Ralph’s World to an amusing event Pollstar has reported on, Baby Loves Disco. According to Paul Godwin, aka Sippy Paul of The Sippy Cups, there is a neglected demographic: young parents who can’t get to the clubs in the nighttime but long for that experience again.

The Cups became an afternoon staple at San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop, then Café Du Nord, filling up the latter for two shows on the same weekend afternoons. In December, the band played an afternoon at the Great American Music Hall, selling out two shows. Godwin now has the Fillmore and the Warfield on his wish list.

"I tend to find that you get immediate adoption with music industry people who are parents," Godwin said. "We wound up resonating with our agent, Marty Diamond, because he has a 3-year-old where Frank Riley’s kids are grown, so he might have appreciated what we are doing, but he didn’t jump on it.

"And with the venues, I think it’s similar. When we find a booker or a buyer that’s got young kids – for instance, I understand the Live Nation buyer in D.C., his kids are Sippy Cups fans – then you’ve got a guy who’s actively saying, ‘I want to do a show with you.’"

Others, though, might not believe that these venues could turn on the lights, bring in the staff, and get enough people in it to turn a profit on a kids shows. First of all, the bar is an integral part of any profit margin, but are there adult beverages served?

"You betcha! Oh yeah!" Godwin said. "We typically will do a 1 p.m. and a 4 p.m. show, and also some early shows like 10 and 11 a.m., and I know that House of Blues said they were definitely pouring some Bloody Marys. But typically, there’s lots of beer flowing by the afternoon show and juice boxes for the kids. In our rider, we request there are juice boxes, goldfish crackers and snacks for the kids. There has to be kid-appropriate beverages being served."

Godwin believed more clubs should consider afternoon kids shows and talked to Diamond about it. Diamond came up with a name and pitched HoB with it: The House of Kids. HoB, which has had the popular Gospel Brunch on Sunday for many years, was ready for the idea, and the concept includes another popular band, Ralph’s World.

The Sippy Cups – which was formed by parents of pre-schoolers – has yet to visit the East Coast, but Godwin was expected to sit on the kid’s music panel at SXSW in Austin, Texas, and a nationwide presence is forthcoming.

For right now, though, Godwin has to figure out how he and the band are going to get from Hollywood to Anaheim in one day.

"Backline is everything here. We’re going to walk in there with both shows and props and keyboards and costumes but not with drum kits and amplifiers," he said. "The advance is going to have to be done at the second show and, frankly, I don’t have the staff to do an advance team. We’re going to have to rely on the House of Blues for that.

"But I think it’s going to work. It’ll be down to the wire but the one beauty of our show is that the attention span is not too long with the kids. Our show is only an hour."