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Re: Musicians Wanted

There is no looping content in what follows:

Although this does appear to be sleazy spam aimed it musicians, it  
brings up a real issue for the performing musician and reminds me of  
something that happened last night.

I was playing at a largish cafe/wine bar and there was an opening act,  
a piano-based singer songwriter.  She and I have shared a few bills  
locally and so I was looking to provide some support during her set.  I  
made sure to sit relatively up front, closer than anyone else had at  
that point, and to lead the applause after each song (musicians aren't  
the main event at this venue, so response can sometimes be....lacking).  
  So, as soon as she'd finish, I'd start clapping firmly  and continue  
until other people started clapping.  It took about three seconds,  
which feels like a long time when you're the only person clapping.  A  
group of other people would start at that point and then about three  
seconds after that, most of the back of the room.

I would guess this is mostly contagion at work, but it helps remind  
people that someone's doing something there in the stage area and (I  
think) help direct a bit of their attention towards something that they  
might otherwise tune out in the same manner as the CD player.   
Regardless of the "sincerity" of the applause I know that it cheers up  
the performer (this one in particular doesn't have a lot of stage  
experience and gets a bit nervous), and happy performers who feel  
appreciated always do a better job than someone who feels like Kirk in  
that Star Trek episode where he ends up "out of phase" with the rest of  
the Enterprise.

After five or six songs, I held off on starting the clapping and in  
those instances it seemed there was less of it.  Then I resumed my  
"planted" clapping and it picked up again.

Then it was time for my set.  I've played there many times before and a  
lot of the regulars like my stuff and I generally get a good response  
in these situations, and so it was again.  But, as the two hour gig  
went on I witnessed a common phenomena, which is that after a while  
people sort of acclimate to you and applause drops down.  You can argue  
that maybe I frequently start to suck after an hour, but personally I  
think that people just grow accustomed to you there (remember, this is  
a show where people don't pay cover and there aren't a bunch of seats  
in row facing a stage) and having made their appreciation know six or  
seven times, get wrapped up in whatever else they're doing and "forget"  
to clap.

Anyway,  there was a girl studying at a table near the stage who was  
obviously interested in what I was doing and had been clapping, along  
with everyone else.  Then I got to the point where I finished a  
piece...and no-one clapped.  Like I said, I've seen this many times, so  
it doesn't really bother me, but I looked over at her and she had given  
a few quiet claps and she said "I'd wanted to clap, but I'd feel stupid  
being the only one."  I laughed and told her "But see--if you start,  
everyone else will follow."  And after the next tune, that's what  

Like I said, you could theorize that suddenly I sucked on the previous  
number and no-one thought it was worthy of clapping, and then recovered  
on the next one, but I'm don't buy it.  On the gigs where my girlfriend  
comes along, she always does the clapping plant, and I've seen it work  
often enough to feel confident that unless you're in a room with the  
most oblivious or rude audience in the world, people will follow the  
lead of someone clapping, as long as it doesn't sound like some ironic  
commentary.  And, maybe even then.

Which brings me back to the rent-a-babe mail.  When I was playing  
regularly with bands, we noticed the "performer force field" phenomena,  
which is that in a club, people are reluctant to get within a certain  
distance of the performer.  This varies according to the size of the  
club, but is generally far enough away that you couldn't swing a mic  
stand and hit them.  15-20 feet in a rock club.  We'd get one of our  
friends to walk up right in front of the singers vocal monitor during  
the first song and stand there resolutely, and you could see everyone  
else go "Oh, I guess it's not a minefield up there..." and move forward  
another ten feet or so.  It just took one person willing to stand there  
feeling like a bit of an idiot for a few minutes.

I feel certain that given the typical audience composition at a club,  
employing a hot looking woman to do the same thing would be doubly  
effective.  And if you can dial down the, what shall we call it--"Slut"  
factor, I think many managers would regard this as a shrewd investment.  
  Liquor and tobacco companies have been planting women in clubs to hawk  
their products for years, and given the seeming near-total rejection of  
the idea of "selling out" in the pop world these days (remember when it  
was a bad thing to let your music be used in a commercial?), I would  
guess this is going to become an increasingly common promotion  


On Feb 12, 2005, at 6:12 AM,  
Loopers-Delight-d-request@loopers-delight.com wrote:

> From: "samba -" <sambacomet@hotmail.com>
> Date: February 11, 2005 4:12:06 PM PST
> To: Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com
> Subject: Musicians Wanted
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
> -
> Reply to: imagepalsmail@yahoo.com
> Date: 2005-02-11, 11:43AM PST
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