Like holding the door and not peeing on the toilet seat at your girlfriend’s house, so has concert etiquette fallen by the wayside. After an unwelcome experience at Backroad Pizza, I realized an unofficial guide for audiences and bands was in order.
I dragged my nutjob mother to Backroad last Thursday night for Scott Cadenasso’s
. Sadly, our fellow diners, what few there were, seemed to go out of their way to carry on the loudest conversations of all time. Amid the inane chatter, I learned that I’ve been making an ass of myself by listing Cadenasso as acoustic pop and rock in our Hear, Here calendar. In reality, he is more of an acoustic R&B kind of guy. With solo arrangements of Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and others, Cadenasso proves that even older white dudes can soulfully belt out the most classic doin’-it jams without coming off as phonies.
Furthermore, Cadenasso sings beautifully, plays the guitar like a classically trained octopus (that means I was impressed by how much just one man is capable) and looks pretty cool while he’s at it.
Long story short, I loved it and was sad to see him so underappreciated. Next time you’re attending a show (or, in the case of my last example, playing one), follow these loose guidelines for maximum concert enjoyment and minimum douchelordness.
When people such as Tim Franke, Jamie Lenfestey or the fine folks at
book some killer show and only a handful of people show up, it’s discouraging. As music lovers, do we not owe it to ourselves to check out as much live music as humanly possible? Maybe you haven’t heard of whatever band is playing, but I have a feeling a lot of the smaller names coming through will blow up any second, and then you’ll have missed your chance to gain some rock ’n’ roll street cred. Also, supporting local acts is a pretty good way to look cool.
These musicians are working hard to not only satisfy their love of music, but to entertain you. Would it really be so bad to stay quiet for three minutes and listen to a song? When musicians say things like, “I do it for the love, not for the attention!” they are lying. Musicians need constant affirmation, for they are lonely and sad people. They want you to watch and clap and hang on their every move. This is how they know they are valid human beings. Even if you’re bored, you can at least pretend to pay attention. Should this prove too difficult, take your conversation outside and let the rest of us enjoy the music.
Wait until later to vocalize your hatred of the band, and don’t heckle because it’s a lot harder than it looks. Maybe you should just not say anything at all. “But, Alex,” you might say, “you’ve shit-talked bands before, and in this very paper!” True, but that is part of my job.
Bands, Be Original
If your band has an expansive catalogue, then play every night if you want but, should you perform the same set more than three times a month, it’s pretty hard for anyone to care. You may also be interested to know that, for some of us, your songwriting chops are important. Yes, we’re all very impressed that your band learned some covers, and your singer can totally pull it off but, unless you identify yourself as a cover band (hey Chango and Love Gun!), let’s hear some originals! That way we can decide whether we actually like you or we’re just feeling nostalgic because we lost our virginity to that one Bob Dylan song.
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