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Old 11-21-2014, 11:39 AM   #1
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Default Dead Audience

Ever have a gig and the audience just ignores you? It happened to us last night. These people must be brain dead or something.
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Old 11-21-2014, 01:32 PM   #2
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Yea... there's not a lot you can do about it. You can be at your best and do all you can and still get no real response. My first band once played a banking awards banquet. We were at our best. The food I heard was terrible and those who came were only there to see if they won an award and we were ignored. Once the awards were all handed out, everyone left. We had already been paid at the start of the night, so instead of playing to the janitors cleaning up the hall, we packed up and were gone by 930 that night. We tried our hardest but there's not much that can be done in that situation where the audience was forced to be there.

What kind of gig was yours?
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Old 11-21-2014, 01:46 PM   #3
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Some kind of dinner party for retired people. I think it's a pre-Thanksgiving party. The band sounded good, the room was boomy, but people just talked among themselves and for the most part ignored the band. We tried various styles of music trying to find something that the audience liked. We did well with similar audiences / similar parties before.
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:03 PM   #4
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Ever have a gig and the audience just ignores you? It happened to us last night. These people must be brain dead or something.
All. The. Time.
I try to remind myself that unless you're some sort of headliner or main attraction, people are NOT THERE TO SEE THE BAND. You're window dressing. Unless you can get the chix dancing, which is something we focus on.

That said...we used to have a great open mic here in my little town..a gathering of terrific players...it was held at the local coffeehouse/bar/hangout...and despite there being a decent crowd most nights, at least half the people barely listened. Pretty weird, 'cuz there's some terrific players where I live...
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:16 PM   #5
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I haven't experienced that yet (haven't played many gigs) but if it were to happen, I'd say consider it a dress rehearsal...that you got paid for .
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Old 11-21-2014, 03:41 PM   #6
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I try to remind myself that unless you're some sort of headliner or main attraction, people are NOT THERE TO SEE THE BAND. You're window dressing.
Yep. If you're playing a retirement party, you're just there for background music. People are there to talk to other people and celebrate, not hear you. They probably didn't even know there'd be a band until they got there. Just be thankful you got paid to do what a radio could have done, and look forward to your next REAL show.
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Old 11-21-2014, 05:49 PM   #7
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I've played litterally a hundred gigs where no body paid attention, and not because the music was bad, but simply because as stated, you were window dressing.

It really tests the Mettle of a band and it's members. Do you loose enthusiasm, or do individual members become insecure or uncomfortable?? Does someone want to leave mid gig?? I've seen all of that.

The best thing for the band, and believe it or not, the crowd, and especially the organizer, is that you continue as if "the thousands in attendance and millions watching around the world" to quote Michael Buffer, with as much energy and pop as you can so that at least you are seen as professional and willing to complete the job at hand. You might get called back to a crowd the next time that wants to rip off your clothes and throw panties....you never know in private gigs. I usually went into private gigs knowing that it wasn't about the band or the music, but the people there and their affair.
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Old 11-21-2014, 06:42 PM   #8
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Normal, still it used to piss me off, and still would if I was gigging.
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Old 11-21-2014, 08:00 PM   #9
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A few times as others have already mentioned. I'd much prefer to be ignored (like a lounge pianist) than get the polite, half-arsed clapping after a 4 second delay.

I do have an encounter indelibly burnt into my mind and up there with anything on Spinal Tap. This one time, at band camp, we played this club and as we were setting up, all these grey-haired ancients started arriving looking like extras from Cocoon. We approached the management and said "you know we're a rock band, right?" to which he said "yes, don't worry". Anyway, off we went backstage to get ready and came out, all guns blazing and when the dust had settled - we got 700 blank stares. A ten second pause of interminable silence. Then the half-baked polite applause I hate so much. We all wanted to curl up and die but on we ploughed, finishing each song to deathly silence, when the manager came on, thanked us and booted us off stage. And to make matters worse, we had to re-enter the hall and take down our equipment whilst they got the big band disco out and everyone took to the dance floor, having a whale of a time.

'Twas mortifying.
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:10 AM   #10
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That said...we used to have a great open mic here in my little town..a gathering of terrific players...it was held at the local coffeehouse/bar/hangout...and despite there being a decent crowd most nights, at least half the people barely listened. Pretty weird, 'cuz there's some terrific players where I live...
Word. Experienced this exact same thing at an open mic back home.

Basically, the place was a big hangout for Vermont Law School students and networking and kibitzing were their major priorities. Unless you were one of them and playing a really cold, sterile Grateful Dead cover you might as well had been an iPod on shuffle.

It's shitty but as has been said there's not really much you can do about it. Makes it all the more satisfying when you do manage to pull someone in, though.
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