Emily Yamane interviewing Børns before his set
As Børns prepared to play School Night at Bardot in Hollywood, crowds wrapped around the club awaiting entrance. The event, one of the most anticipated in the program’s recent history, attracted the interest of thousands of fans, all lining up early to make it into the show to see the “Electric Love” singer and a slew of other performers take the stage at the iconic Hollywood venue. The packed house on a Monday evening demonstrated clearly that for a good show, fans will show-even on a school night.
While the Børns show was a special occasion to those in attendance, the event was just another Monday night for the show’s founders Chris Douridas and Matt Goldman who have been running School Night for nearly eight years. The show began back in 2010 when KCRW DJ Chris Douridas was working an event at Bardot. With the venue vacant on Monday nights, they took the opportunity to fill the club with established and emerging musicians to draw crowds in.
As Chris Douridas explains, “I was calling in favors basically, literally just asking bands I had known for years through KCRW, like Lucinda Williams, Chrissie Hynde, Ben Folds. We had these big names and then we put the baby bands on there to open the night. Pretty soon I ran out of friends, I ran out of favors, but by then the baby bands had become famous and the booking agents had seen this as a cool night, and so they started feeding us what they thought was going to be coming up.”
Since the program began, the duo has defied initial expectations. “When we started, people told us ‘nobody comes to Hollywood on a Monday,’” Chris explains. The full crowd was a telling contradiction to this statement; for the special night with Børns fans began lining up over 12 hours before doors opened to fill the crowd. As Chris and Matt noted, this marked a special night for the event: “I thought it was really great that [Børns] would come back, because he played his first Hollywood show at School Night so it was nice that he was giving one back to the night.”
The crowded club was not just the result of the night’s all-star lineup. As the two explained, they have been building up their following ever since those first nights: “We have built a good following. There are a lot of really cool early adopters of music who come to the show every week. The labels, and the publishers, and the booking agents, want to get their bands in front of this crowd because this crowd helps spread and build a buzz around the bands.”
The event has made a mark on the Los Angeles music scene by bringing free shows to fans and giving emerging talent a platform to find music industry partners. As event promoter and co-founder Matt Goldman explains, “[School Night] has provided to LA Music what its provided to the music industry in that they needed a way to bring people to see new talent or they need a way to find new talent. I think that it serves both purposes. It’s for LA as much as it is for music in general. Bands get discovered here, bands get signed here, and that’s what it has become about.”