i played a really awful show this weekend. i mean, i played ok, and my co-stars, alyce maclean (aka fair jeanne, check that out), and vik dugandzik (of back pocket material) played great. but the bar was full of screaming, drunken dude bros who have about as much interest in music as i have in axe body spray.
i hate to be whiny about it, but i just don't understand why people would want to spend time getting ready, going to a bar, paying cover and then sitting through 3 hours of music they don't enjoy just to get hammered with their pals. unless the whole point was to wait till their "buddy who knows how to play guitar" can drunkenly ask one of the performers if he can get up and play a few tunes. and then give him a standing ovation when he plays a rather pedestrian version (is there another kind?) of wagon wheel. true story. i didn't let him use my guitar.
the thing is, i've played this show before. many times. and i'm sure most of my music making friends can say the same. why does it keep happening? maybe i'm playing the wrong bars. maybe it's overflow from the big dance club closing down. but it seems to me that this is one of the only professions where you're expected to put in years of practice and time, and then become mere background noise for people to get drunk to. you're a jerk if you ask people to settle down and pay attention. to avoid it you might have to very carefully select your shows - still no guarantee of an attentive crowd - as if it isn't hard enough to make enough money to cover even a fraction of your expenses in this business anyway.
sometimes i wish i just liked that popular garbage that these morons gobble up. they have lots of drinking money, that's for sure. cover bands make a killing. but i just don't. and the truth is, after playing both types of show many times, i'd still rather play to ten people who are paying attention than a hundred who make me feel like i'm imposing on their night out by playing the gig i booked.
maybe i am just playing the wrong bars.