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Music Man–Grumpy Old (music) Man

[ 4 ] November 25, 2008 |

I go to see four or five different unsigned bands every single week. That doesn't make me cool, it's my job, it's what I do for a living; I go to shows. What makes me cool is that I show up on time for virtually every one of them. Now that I think about it maybe that's not cool, it's actually the polar opposite of cool. Doesn't matter, the fact is I don't want to miss any part of the show if at all possible. If I'm going to make the effort to see a band, chances are I REALLY want to see them which means I want to be there from the beginning. What if I were to miss the song that got my attention in the first place? What if the singer comes out and does a mind-blowing rendition of Radiohead's "No Surprises"? What then? I'd be a little ticked, that's what.
But what really gets under my skin is when a band says they're going on at say, 9:00, but they don't actually go on until say 10:00. It's ok if it's not really the band's fault. Maybe they're playing the StarBar which routinely runs an inexcusable minimum of an hour and a half behind (I'll save my thoughts on that for another time). But normally the band knows perfectly well that they are not in fact going on at "9", they're just saying that to make sure everyone gets there on time. I know, I was in bands for a long time and I did the same thing. The problem is that when you're out and about trying to catch as many shows as possible, you're sometimes forced to leave another show a tad early just to be sure you make the other one on time. And when that happens nothing is more infuriating then finding out that the band you went to see hasn't even sound checked yet.
It seems like that has been happening more and more, and I'm kind of over it. Bands: The smart, and dare I say "cool" thing to do would be to tell everyone the actual time you are going to hit the stage. If they miss the first half because they were late then that's their problem. Your show should be good enough that people want to get there early for it. Or it should be such an amazing performance that for the rest of the night the person who is late hears about from those who were smart enough to get there on time. Make people want to be at your shows, and don't earn a rep for lying about set times. I know this makes me sound old and crotchety, and perhaps I am, but I've wasted more time watching bands set up their gear during what they told me was their set time than I care to recall. Word to the wise, be honest about when you're going on stage, especially when you're still trying to earn fans.

Current Listening:  Glasvegas, School of Seven Bells


Category: Music Man

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  1. teamluis says:

    man, thats a tough one.
    on one hand, i totally agree with you – i hate waiting around, mostly if its getting late and i’ve got other things going on.
    You also know, musicians, like all artists can be flakes sometimes (sometimes?) and schedules aren’t the most important thing to them. they also want more people in the audience for when they decide to blow your mind with their rendition of Radiohead’s Surprises.
    I’m not too sure about the Star Bar thought – last week at Big Trouble I had no problem getting the bands to start at the exact time we’d planned for them to play. 10 to 1045, 11 to 1145 and 12 to 1245. Smooth like butter. I was especially amazed that I managed to do it with possibly the most rowdy frontman in Atlanta on the bill. He had no problem sticking to the schedule.
    Honestly, the one and only time a PDS event has gone off schedule at the Star Bar was at the Day of the Dead – but that wasnt the Star Bar’s fault – the Constellations forgot a synth and didnt realize it until they were about to go on – it happens and it delayed the schedule by an hour. Sure it pissed some people off, but everyone played and at the end everyone was happy.
    I asked them though about it – because I had heard complaints in the past – and honestly, they just said “we delay the set times if we think we can get more people in.” As much as it sucks for those of us who get their early, it makes sense – and i think its a great thing that they do for the bands – not to mention they’re probably the only venue that doesnt take a cut at the door screwing bands out of money.
    OK, thats it. i guess today WAS a day for a rant….

  2. Music Man says:

    Yeah—it is definitely good for the bands to play in front of as many people as possible–and I certainly don’t blame a venue for wanting as many people in as possible (its for alcohol sales not band satisfaction, or maybe it’s both)—my blog was directed more at bands (and I know I’m in the minority–hence the name of the blog)–just gets annoying when I miss shows in order to make it on time to another show—btw, I’m a big fan of the StarBar–I go their more then any venue in the city—they almost never run on time–PDS events are usually the only ones that do—its all good though, it’s the nature of the beast and I totally understand, I just don’t always like it : )

  3. Rock Daddy says:

    Hmmmmmmmmm, well I WORK in a venue somewhere just about every weekend and I disagree with blaming everything on the bands….. Yes they can be slackers at times but there are also problems that happen which are just totally unpredictable and have to be taken care of before the show starts. Too many to list!
    Bands WILL sometimes tell their crowd to come later but it’s also ultimately up to the venue and who’s running the show as to the start time. It depends if bands drop out at last minute or the day before cause of some bullshit reason, or if a band wants a short set, or any other thing that happens to make the venue change the schedule last minute.
    Yes it is pretty much all about the alcohol sales but if a bands crowd hasn’t all shown up yet and they want to wait for them, it usually means no one else is coming and they are just being hopeful. Most acts talk a good game about themselves to get booked and give the venue confidence they will bring a crowd. The marketing is pretty much dependent upon myspace anymore and they could give a shit about pounding the pavement and telling everyone they come in contact with about their music….. Most of them are just plain lazy, but I am getting off topic.
    There are MANY factors as to why shows start late but if you’re going to bitch at anyone, I would bring it up to the room first….. Simple practice is:
    For huge national shows get there on time cause the stage manager doesn’t fuck around and he could give a crap if the crowd is there or not.
    For smaller national acts get there pretty much on time but a half hour won’t kill ya.
    For Local acts get there an hour late cause they always start an hour later or more than posted time, and I would expect it to run behind cause most local levels don’t even know what a schedule is.

  4. teamluis says:

    i was just playing devils advocate….happy thanksgiving! any good shows this weekend????

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