Monday, August 16, 2010

"Why can't EVERY night be like tonight?"

Ok, here's my first blog on this webzine. Hopefully you will take something away from it, even if it's just "Wow, this guy rambles!" Rich asked me to do a write up on the show that I booked this past friday (the FOD/McRad show). I'm not going to go into a lot of detail regarding the bands and the performances and all that because Rich already did that. Plus these bands are all amazing and should already have you looking into them and coming to see them without me reiterating what Rich has said. Instead, I'm going to talk about elements of the show that I find particularly interesting and important.

Friday was one of the best shows I've booked in the Valley, if not THE best. Not even because of the lineup, although it WAS rather stellar. No, the reason it was so great is because of the atmosphere that we had throughout the night. From start to finish, we had a solid crowd that was into every band and supported them all. We didn't have the typical irritation of people staying inside the bar all night or hanging around outside while the opening /supporting bands played to an empty room. Even when we had to endure the unfortunate long delay between the first and second band, people were still hanging out upstairs, talking and looking though band merch and being patient. Every band had a great crowd to play to, lots of dancing was happening, everyone just had a lot of fun and that is what this is all about.

Far too often these days, we have shows where people just don't bother to show respect to the bands they don't know by giving them a chance and watching them play. I've never understood that. Not to be "that guy", but when I was a kid and going to shows, I LOVED seeing new bands that I'd never seen before. It didn't matter if they were the first or last band. Yeah, I saw lots of shitty bands play first, and more than once I walked out after a few songs and couldn't take it anymore. But I still at least gave them a shot and gave them the respect I felt they deserved for playing. Those of you who have never been in a band may not understand what it's like to be excited to play a show and spend the time leading up to the show to get ready and be hyped... only to show up and play to 3 people while the rest of the show-goers are standing outside in the parking lot or in the bar ignoring you. Maybe your band sucks, but maybe your band is great. Problem is, only those 3 people are going to know because nobody else bothered to watch. It is heartbreaking and frustrating to be that band, and even though everyone says "we'll play to 5 or 500 people, we don't care", the truth is EVERYONE cares about how many people watch them play. For me, it's a cathartic experience and I'm able to exorcise a lot of personal demons despite the number of people in the room. However, it doesn't bother me as much if the show just has a low turnout. It's knowing that there are a ton of people at the show but the people are too damn selfish to come inside and give you the time of day that bothers me... ESPECIALLY when these same people talk about how they are the hardcore/punk scene and preach respect and unity. These people will shell out 20 bucks at an asshole venue like Crocodile Rock to see some band that is doing a big tour, but they won't pay a meager $5 to see five bands that aren't "big names", let alone drive more than half an hour to see them.

Maybe I'm making a big deal out of it because I talk about this subject a lot with my friends, but I just can't understand that mentality. Friday night, a lot of people saw Rough On Rats for the first time. A band who are local and haven't been around a long time, but are damn good. A lot of other shows, the crowd would miss ROR because they wouldn't bother to see the first band play. This is a real shame. Friday, people didn't spend the entire time in the bar while Ambergris played, instead they got to see just how great their performance was, as it always is. I can't even count how many times I saw a band open a show or be on early that turned out to be a huge band that I hear people say "wow, can you imagine seeing these guys before they blew up?" Yes, I can imagine it because I DID see them play. So many people love the Dropkick Murphys and I saw them when they were the first band on the bill in NJ with Murphys Law and 9 Lives. If that show happened today, imagine how many people would have been standing outside ignoring them play?! How do you know that you aren't missing out on seeing a band you would LOVE while either not going to the show because it isn't "cool" enough or because you were too busy outside chatting or drinking in the bar?

By the way, I am aware that not everyone can go to every show that gets booked. I can't go to a lot because of life responsibilities. However, I make it to what I can, and I book as many as I can. I love putting shows together and I love to see people enjoying themselves at them. i just wish that the majority attitude was "I'm going to go to that show and check out all the bands" instead of "I'm going to go see the hyped band play a show but I'm not wasting my time with whoever else is on the bill". If you were at the show friday, take that feeling you had as each band played and how much fun we all had and bear that in mind next time you get to go to a show. Go check out those bands you don't know. At least give them the courtesy of a song or two before passing judgement. If you're in a band, go to shows other than the ones your band plays, too. I was approached by someone that night to hook his band up at a show soon and the main reason I was happy to do it is because the kid comes out to a ton of shows and supports all the bands.

ok, that's it. No more running on about that subject. Next time I will go on about something else entirely, but friday night was such a shining example of how every show ought to be that I felt it was important to stress this subject. So, 3am, I'm out.


  1. Dead on dude. It was a killer lineup, with an even more killer crowd. I know I'm guilty of going down to the bar for a beer, or outside for a cigarette between bands, but i do my best to get back up there in time to see them start. Even if I can't I'm usually up there before the first song is done. It's always frustrating when a band brings in a huge crowd that ignores the other bands. The show when Razorblade Handgrenade played to like 15 people was the most frustrating because they are so fucking good. More people need to see all the bands when they go to a show. And I actually meant a write up of the Joe Vide Benefit, but I'm glad you touched on this point because I know it's something you feel extremely passionate about.

  2. I'll do one of the Joe Vide benefit tomorrow, too tired now haha. But yeah, it's one thing to be out of the room but trying to catch a band and another altogether to just not give a fuck like a lot of people tend to act like.

  3. It sucks. I'm not trying to say this to piss anyone off or call anyone out, but some of the biggest offenders are a band that I really like seeing and are a decent bunch of guys and their supporters. I also don't go to every show because of family obligations but when I can I go whether it's a band i really like or not. The Lehigh Valley scene can't grow without constant support, and by ignoring bands that you're unfamiliar with isn't supporting the scene. A perfect example: Straphangers showed up late. If this would have happened at a different show, chances are certain people would have lost patience and missed a killer band. We had a good crowd (I say we meaning the scene) and people stuck around and got to see how great they are. Emily couldn't get over to the table fast enough. As soon as she put the mic down I wanted to get my hands on the cd. Another good example that you mentioned above is Ambergris. I've seen them a bunch of times, and the first time the draw was I had kind of met your brother a couple of times, so I wanted to see his band. The first time I saw them I was blown away, but every time I've seen them other than this show, people are off fucking around while they play and missing out. I don't know if it's ignorance or if it's just stupidity, but it gets old when good bands play to empty rooms because the "cool" kids are downstairs drinking. Take my example: Pound those beers between bands, and fyi, 2 shots is more booze and is quicker to drink than a beer. Just saying. Ok. Now that I've ranted for a while, i'm done.

  4. I kinda wish the bar at the Burner's was in the same room as the show. Of course, I realize that isn't really do-able in PA, with an all-ages show--and also of course, people shouldn't need to choose between drinking and watching the show, when both can be done, as Rich described above.

    It's definitely lame to ignore all the bands except the one you came for. And definitely sucks for the band who has to play for a partial crowd while most of the crowd is just fucking around outside or downstairs.

  5. This is also not just the Burners that this happens. It's just particularly frustrating at the Burners because that's OUR spot, you know? But I have seen this attitude all over the place. I don't know what it is exactly. Maybe it's the internet created scenesters that are in it for the false sense of importance or something? Who knows... People have to wake the fuck up, though, or there won't be much of a scene in the future.