I talk to band after band that complains about how they can't make money doing original music because nobody comes to their gigs and good cover bands bank. Let me break this down as simply as possible. When most people go to see live music, they want to hear what they know, what is familiar to them. Have you ever been to a Foo Fighters or Green Day show? You know every song they play. You stay engaged because you know the material. So the question is, if you are doing original music on the local level, how do I make my music familiar to people? First (and you have heard this over and over,) give your music away. As Martin Atkins says, "Free is the new black." Not just from your myspace, facebook, website (you better have your own but that is another topic,) etc., but burn a few copies at home and give them out at other band's shows. I am not talking about indiscriminately handing anyone and everyone a CD but, giving your music to someone you actually have a conversation with that will tell you "yes" when you ASK them if they would want to take a listen to your music. Make sure and write your contact info on the CD including your website (you better have your own but that is another topic,) myspace, facebook, etc. When attending music conferences, there are tons of bands just walking around and spraying their CD's into the hands of anyone that will put their hand out without actually talking to anyone. THAT IS A WASTE OF TIME AND YOUR CD'S.
If you are recording full length CD's, give tracks away before you release it. Then, when you have a CD release show, the audience might actually know the material which will engage the audience. Don't worry, if they dig you, they will still buy your CD at the show (and probably your t-shirt too!)
I am not saying that this alone will get you to the point of selling out 500 head rooms and actually making money, but you have to get your music heard to build your tribe.