A short beef regarding certain audiences
I went to see some friends play a small club the other night. I’d missed the first act, more because I had a meeting not long before the show started, and I had a couple of things to do before going to the venue. But truth be told I wasn’t all that motivated to go early, based on some past experiences with some of the people who often show up to support that first act. Now, don’t get me wrong; I happen to like them as people; we share the same, shall we say, social milieu, and some of them, I’d consider to be my friends. Nevertheless, as an audience, their behavior blows.
What I’m talking about is when a group of people flocks in to see one act, and as soon as it’s done playing, they bail, en masse. If they do stay, they’re often inconsiderate to the other acts on the bill, talking through their sets — which they also tend to do if another act is opening, and then when their friends come on, they actively shush anyone who deigns to speak out loud during that set.
I probably shouldn’t say anything, but I felt really bad for my friends Rich and Brent, who suddenly found themselves playing to an audience that was much smaller than they deserved. As for the ones who left, I’m guessing no one ever has called them on their behavior, so maybe that’s why I’m writing this now. It’s really up to the act the people came to see to help educate them. A simple, “Hey, we’re really glad you came out to see us, but please stick around to see so-and-so who will be playing next, because they’re great,” said from the stage at the end of a set, will go a long way to provide the kind of context to ensure the audience, or at least part of it, sticks around.
Having been onstage during such an exodus, as a performer, I can tell you that it really is distracting and demoralizing when it happens. —Jackson Griffith