The Random Griffith

A short beef regarding certain audiences

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson Griffith on 16/03/2010

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

8 Responses

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  1. Warren Bishop said, on 16/03/2010 at 05:29

    Same story, same night, different venue for us; the people in question both have been members of bands I have actively supported for nearly a decade, yet off they went while were setting up. There are a number of reasons why I have curtailed my attendence at shows that I’m not personally involved with doing either sound or playing, and that’s one big one.

    • jaxong said, on 16/03/2010 at 05:56

      Yeah. I know how difficult that can be. It’s certainly making me rethink my own reciprocal support, as in, well, so-and-so has showed up to see me, so I’d better make the effort to get out and return the favor. I don’t like to stop seeing people whose music I like because they can’t be bothered to check out what I’m doing, but if they’re playing on one of those nights where there are several choices, oftentimes I end up somewhere else. Definitely not etched in stone, though; my overriding drive is to see and hear good music. But, as a performer, one must be cognizant of who’s coming to see us: Bread, buttered, et cetera.

  2. johnny dowd said, on 16/03/2010 at 05:50

    gee-that never happened to me he said ironically or hysterically

  3. Warren Bishop said, on 16/03/2010 at 06:16

    btw, the offer to record at my place still stands …

  4. jaxong said, on 16/03/2010 at 06:43

    Warren, thanks. My issue is transportation right now. I mean, kinda wack for a guy who turns 55 on Sunday to be riding a bicycle, and not from losing my license from boozing, either, but from a crap economy. Here’s to both our fortunes rising dramatically this next year. All our fortunes. Yours, too, gentle readers.

    • Warren Bishop said, on 16/03/2010 at 09:36

      Cheers to that; I can provide the transpo so long as we set up the time in advance … it would be no problem at all.

  5. Brother Dan said, on 16/03/2010 at 09:03

    Hey Jackson-

    Thanks for saying something that needs to be said more often . . . I understand not being able to stay all night, every night, to the bitter end . . . but it seems some of the worst offenders are our fellow performers, leaving as soon as they’re done and taking their friends with them . . . keep up the good work . . .

    Brother Dan

  6. Kevin Gailey said, on 16/03/2010 at 22:27

    I too find it disheartening to see people walk out the door as we go on. As a member of Warren’s band, I thought Sac would be different from the LA area I grew up and gigged in for 20 years. Nope… and it gets worse as we aging musicians get older, regardless of talent. Does music matter to younger generations anymore?


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