The other day I came across a really funny cartoon which depicts the type of crowds that come out to see a rock show. You can check it out here: The Crowd At A Rock Show. It’s really funny because it’s so accurate in it’s depiction of the makeup of a typical rock show audience. Being a live musician up there onstage, I’ve made a lot of observations about the crowd at our gigs.
When I play I can always tell when there is another band there listening to us because they watch what we’re doing so intently. The really critical ones will stand in the back with their arms folded and watch our band play while discussing it. I love it when that happens because it always makes me play better. I take it as a challenge to really kick ass with my playing. There are friendly bands that will show up to listen to you and when my band goes out to check out other bands, we always try to be a friendly band. The friendly bands will sit toward the front and clap and cheer you on. You can still tell they’re a band because they clap in all the right places and for solo’s or drum fills that most of the audience doesn’t notice. Again, I always try to step it up and play better when there’s another band in the room.
I always enjoy it when friends and family show up as well. In The Crowd At A Rock Show they’re depicted with cameras and big goofy smiles while they intently watch the band. It’s always nice to have them show up because they make you feel like you’re important.
Then there’s the groups of people that are there for just one member of the band. It’s always funny because they may be into the singer and cheer for every note they sing but they completely miss the solo’s and other cool bits of music. I have to admit I kind of feel left out when that happens but I dig it when there’s a group of people that are only into the guitar playing.
Finally, you get the people that are a little too intense. It always makes me nervous when a guy will come right to the front of the stage and stare at my hands while I’m playing. He’ll scrutinize every note I play and then invariably during a break, will ask “Can I play your guitar?” to which I always say “No”.