Show Killers

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Show Killers

Postby Dawg » Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:38 pm

I went to see the Drive By Truckers at the 40Watt last night (the second of three sold-out shows in a return to Athens). It was a damn fine show - they're gearing up to release the new album "A Blessing and a Curse" in April.

Knowing this, everyone expected to hear some new songs. I never have a problem with that anyway. However, they BEGAN the show with a new song that, obviously, no one was familiar with. Not a song off a new release, a brand new song. After the crowd going nuts when the Truckers came out, to launch into a song no one knew absolutely killed the momentum. Fortunately, they made up for it and played about 3 hours last night.

Also, the band didn't go on until 11:30. This is another killer for me. I had to leave after the first set ended 'cause I was so tired. Shows in Athens don't begin until LATE, which gets me out to less shows these days (what with the 33 years old and the two boys under three!).

Finally, I found out my brother-in-law is one of "those guys" at shows. Pumping his fist in the air, loudly singing every lyric, turning around when the song starts and going "Yeeeeah! It's "Name of Song"! Woooo!". (To be fair, this is strange in Athens, where most folks are too cool to show enjoyment of a band beyond the "head nod", unless you're REALLY into it and move your arm a time or two on a big shift in the song).

Wow - looking over this I sound like a whiney asshole. I'm really not; I actually had a great time last night. Hope I'm not being too petty.

DBT kicks ass is the real moral of this post.

So what types of things that bands or audience members do kill the enjoyment of a show for you?

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Postby Heitzie » Sat Jan 21, 2006 5:30 pm

Offences by band members:
Telling the audience "I/We are sooo stoned right now"..(that means prepare for a show that will suck). Ryan Adams/Evan Dando are repeat offenders.
The only time this is coll is if the artisit is SO stoned that they fall and break something (Adams) or have a nervous breakdown onstage (Fiona Apple) which at least makes it a memorable show.

Forgetting the words to your own music and humming instead. (Free pass to Mark E Smith on this one, and making up new lyrics is usually OK)

Encouraging audience members to sing along, or sing the chorus. (I paid to hear YOU, dammit!)

"You fucking rock, Cleveland/Detroit/Minneapolis!"

By audience:

Drunk chicks (or sober chicks) climbing on people's shoulders.
Spastic dancing (more excusable at the Buzzcocks than at Aimee Mann)
Hurling on the dance floor
Repeatedly calling for a favorite song, especially when I'm taping the show (why do you think they have a setlist?)
In the 90's, it was skanking or moshing at shows by Lou Reed/Leonard Cohen/REM or other non-ska or grunge/metal acts.

I'm sure there are more I'm forgetting.

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Postby miss carol » Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:44 am

Bands:What Heitzie said. Apologizing for being American. Apologizing for Bush. Fuck off and the play the music. Stop trying top placate Canadians; they're pious enough. Openers who don't tell us who the fuck they are at the both the beginning and end of the set.

Audience: We've been over this before. Stretch fucking armstrong at the front of the room. Stupid girls on shoulders. BACKPACKS. All old ground, I'm sure. And what Heitzie said.

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Postby Jake » Sun Jan 22, 2006 10:40 am

miss carol wrote:Stupid girls on shoulders.

Unless they're topless and it's 1976.

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Postby jonas » Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:11 pm

Exhorting the people in the balcony to stand up, and then dissing them when they don't. People in the front aren't always standing up because they deify you, dude; sometimes they're doing it because they can't see after everyone in front of them gets up.

Yeah, that's right, Jeff Tweedy...I'm talking to you.

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Postby Little Timmy » Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:23 pm

Bands: Lame, incoherent jokes, a la Cat Power; running hissy fits with the sound guy; over-the-top merch peddling.

Audience: Dangerous frat boys, people who can't stand in one place and spend the entire evening carving their way through the crowd, public displays of affection bordering on foreplay.

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Postby steve-o » Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:00 pm

As far as bands, I'm willing to cut them a lot of slack. If they look like they aren't particularly enjoying themselves, or they seem a little sloppy, I just give them the benefit of the doubt. Touring is hard, and you can't always be 100 percent every night. But I don't extend that tolerance to a usually much better rested, well-fed audience.

First, I hate not only people that yell song requests, but people that intentionally pick some super-obscure song to show everyone how well they know the bands material. Yeah, yeah we all know you own every imported/ limited edition/B-side-EP-split, no one cares.

And people that still yell "Freebird" at shows. You're like the guy that still thinks it's funny to make the "I guess it's free" joke to the cashier when an item doesn't ring up.

Really, I think at shows there's just a certain level of audience courtesy that should be expected. No one expects you to sit there with your hands at your sides not moving, but I came there to see the band perform, not to watch the sweaty guy next to me get drunk and yell at the band/attempt to dance/otherwise make a spectacle of themselves.

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Postby worpswede » Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:53 pm

What Steve-o said, with the reality that I have been "That guy" at a couple of shows.
I was "that guy" who shouted out "Indian Summer!" to Luna when they came back on stage for an encore. They ignored the shouts of "Ride Into The Sun" and did "Indian Summer" instead. Go me.
I was "that guy" who yelled "Take Me To The Other Side" to Jason Pierce at a Spiritualized show. They did it as an encore too, but it was already part of their set because I yelled "Can I have the set list?" to one of the roadies after the show. It was on the list, and my jaw still hurts from blowing that roadie.
I am "that guy" who continues to yell "Love Yer Brain" at every Flaming Lips show I attend in the hopes that they can push pause on the dvd player long enough to do something spontaneous again. It's now become a form of personal feedback to the band rather than a real request.
But be comforted, "that guy" usually doesn't go to that many shows. Instead, an older white guy with receding hair typically finds a place in back to sit and watch the show far away from those crazy kids up front. They'll poke their eyes out, if they don't watch what they're doing.

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Re: Show Killers

Postby quasarwutwut » Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:56 pm

Dawg wrote:Knowing this, everyone expected to hear some new songs. I never have a problem with that anyway. However, they BEGAN the show with a new song that, obviously, no one was familiar with. Not a song off a new release, a brand new song. After the crowd going nuts when the Truckers came out, to launch into a song no one knew absolutely killed the momentum.
I tell you what, and all you who are in a band or who have been in a band can probably back me up on this, but there's just no way to please everybody. And this is not at all a diss on you Dawg, because you're saying an opinion that probably half the other people there held also. My band wrestles with stuff like that Every time we make a set list, and I've talked about it with other bands too.

When you make an album you make it (ideally) for yourselves. You don't write songs and construct the album to please your "fans" (unless you're talking about a greatest hits album). But when you play a show you're obviously trying to give the people what they want, so to speak. We frequently open with one of our better known songs, but in the unlikely event that we have a new song we'll often open with that too. Thinking being that some people have seen you enough that right off the bat they want to know they're seeing a new show instead of the same ol' thing. And we get mixed results; sometimes the crowd responds and sometimes it doesn't. And you never know why. It could be that the sound was still getting worked out for the first track, it could be that most of the crowd could care less and you have to win them over, it could be that you as a band are nervous right off the bat and are fucking up. I really wish there was a tried-and-true formula that would ensure maximum crowd enjoyment. I don't know. I'm speaking from fairly limited experience, so if someone can share a better plan please do, I'm all for it.

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Postby Alias » Mon Jan 23, 2006 6:19 pm

band: with Miss Carol on the political rants or any mention to the fact, go run for office or something.

See I love it when people are really involved and dance about or scream for their favs inbwt songs...I'll take a lively obnoxious audience anyday over a stand in my square and just pose coolness audience any day.

Plus, I don't mind PDA, as long as its natural and not gratuitous, yah know the couples who are doing it for attention or out of expectation of being there as a "couple", but spontaneous PDA, all for it and totally cute in my book.

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