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Daily gripe... Background music at gigs

Johnny J 28 Jan 10 - 05:32 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 10 - 05:40 AM
Hamish 28 Jan 10 - 05:42 AM
Johnny J 28 Jan 10 - 05:43 AM
Johnny J 28 Jan 10 - 05:44 AM
bubblyrat 28 Jan 10 - 05:52 AM
Valmai Goodyear 28 Jan 10 - 05:54 AM
TheSnail 28 Jan 10 - 05:55 AM
Hamish 28 Jan 10 - 05:57 AM
Banjiman 28 Jan 10 - 06:04 AM
Valmai Goodyear 28 Jan 10 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 28 Jan 10 - 06:13 AM
TheSnail 28 Jan 10 - 06:15 AM
banjoman 28 Jan 10 - 06:18 AM
Valmai Goodyear 28 Jan 10 - 06:24 AM
melodeonboy 28 Jan 10 - 06:39 AM
The Villan 28 Jan 10 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 28 Jan 10 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 28 Jan 10 - 10:57 AM
Will Fly 28 Jan 10 - 11:02 AM
Banjiman 28 Jan 10 - 11:20 AM
Will Fly 28 Jan 10 - 12:11 PM
Banjiman 28 Jan 10 - 12:20 PM
melodeonboy 28 Jan 10 - 05:39 PM
Folknacious 28 Jan 10 - 06:59 PM
Rockhen 28 Jan 10 - 07:21 PM
melodeonboy 29 Jan 10 - 03:46 AM
Hamish 29 Jan 10 - 03:50 AM
stallion 29 Jan 10 - 04:07 AM
Banjiman 29 Jan 10 - 04:09 AM
Hamish 29 Jan 10 - 04:28 AM
kendall 29 Jan 10 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Ed 29 Jan 10 - 05:23 AM
Folknacious 29 Jan 10 - 06:16 AM
melodeonboy 29 Jan 10 - 07:15 AM
Folknacious 29 Jan 10 - 07:33 AM
melodeonboy 29 Jan 10 - 07:37 AM
billhudson 29 Jan 10 - 12:21 PM
John MacKenzie 29 Jan 10 - 12:26 PM
reggie miles 29 Jan 10 - 12:39 PM
Bert 29 Jan 10 - 01:49 PM
kendall 29 Jan 10 - 01:56 PM
agingcynic 29 Jan 10 - 02:01 PM
Les from Hull 29 Jan 10 - 02:30 PM
Mark Ross 29 Jan 10 - 02:39 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 10 - 03:22 PM
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Subject: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Johnny J
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:32 AM

*For info, I'm also trying this one out on a couple of other forums but I'm sure it'll get a reaction here too"    :-))


They do this everywhere...even at our own folk club, unfortunately.... but it now seems to be the accepted practice. So, nobody seems to complain and they're unlikely to listen to me. :-(

However, most of us come along to a gig to listen to the main act and/or support (Preferably both) but we don't really want to hear the sound engineer's choice of music prior to and after the gig or during the interval and any other necessary(sometimes not) interludes which might arise during the evening. At least not on every occasion.

After all, it's one of the few opportunities to have a chat with people...old friends, new friends, and potential friends etc and background music can often be very distracting. In many cases, it's too damned loud and even worse when it's the same CD or artist(s) played over and over again...ad nauseum.. all bl**dy night.

Of course, this doesn't need to stop people having conversations but they just shout instead. The background music also detracts from the main performance too and can be quite a "come down" after a great first half from the main act...it's often nice to savour the experience in your own mind but that becomes impossible.

Now again, I am generalising a little and some venues are obviously much worse than others in this respect. I agree that, sometimes, a little musical interlude can be fairly innocuous but it's never really necessary although some of you might wish to argue that it adds to the ambience.

When I first started going along to folk clubs many years ago, it was a much more sociable experience and there was often an opportunity for an informal session during the break or at the end of the night. No chance these days though. You just get "blasted" out instead. :-(


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:40 AM

I bet you're quite old.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Hamish
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:42 AM

My main gripe is when the main act has just finished their encore with a suitably memorable sing-all-the-way-home song and then something totally inappropriate destroys the mood entirely. They can get the message across (that's all folks!) by just putting the house lights up.

It's also annoying when people are trying to tune up before, say, a singaround or guest night with floorspots and none of them can hear themselves because of the background music.

Moan, moan, moan...   ;-)


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Johnny J
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:43 AM

I certainly am... :-))
However, the younger ones haven't known anything different.. Unfortunately.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Johnny J
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:44 AM

I agree with you Hamish. My last response was to our "Guest". :-)


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: bubblyrat
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:52 AM

"Johnny J" has a good point ! "Guest" ,however,does not.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:54 AM

I heartily agree with Johnny. However good the recorded music, it shouldn't be used as packaging for a live performance - something to stuff in the cracks. This sells the recorded music short as well.

We recently put the incomparable Irish fiddler Tommy Peoples on at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club. I had emails from several people afterwards saying that they'd consciously avoided listening to other music afterwards for hours and even days, because they wanted to keep Tommy's music circling in their minds. This is an extreme example, but I think that if someone had tried to switch on a recording afterwards, even of Tommy himself, murder would have been done.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:55 AM

Quite agree with Johnny J and Hamish especially about destroying the mood.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Hamish
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:57 AM

Bet we're all (relatively) old* ;-)

*where old = mature, experienced and wise


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 06:04 AM

..... or just old?

I see nothing wrong with a little background music as people arrive for the evening.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 06:13 AM

As people arrive for an evening I like to hear background music in the shape of a few chorus tunes on whatever instruments are to hand, but not a recording.

Valmai (55)


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 06:13 AM

At Stroud Ceilidhs we have a break without a "spot". It is up to the band what they do, but we prefer the lull to be a time of social interaction. I cruise the auditorium meeting newbies, encouraging them and handing-out flyers for the next dance. It doesn't register with me if there is music (usually there isn't any).

However there is usually music before the performance, I find it more inviting, especially for the newbies who may be intimidated by a wall of socialising that they might not be able to contribute.

If the music is folkie (and it always is) I will accept the offered choices. I don't own or play CDs (except those I have reviewd for magazines) - I prefer to make music at a session to fill that need in me. As drummer I still don't get to choose the tunes. And when I sing - I have limited choice because my memory is not what it was....


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 06:15 AM

Banjiman

I see nothing wrong with a little background music as people arrive for the evening.

Like a little group of musicians playing in the corner?


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: banjoman
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 06:18 AM

I think that some sound engineers need a lesson in common courtesy. It annoys me when the band is trying to tune up to have to listen to the sound man's latest CD and to find that he is annoyed when we ask him to switch it off.
However, I have come across a similar problem in our local Church when I have been tuning up acoustic instruments ready to play for a service when someone puts a favourite hymn cd over the pa system. Complaints made are usually brushed off as "Trying to set the mood" or similar.
I have now secretly removed the fuse from the plug on the cd player which has worked now for several weeks.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 06:24 AM

'I have now secretly removed the fuse from the plug on the cd player which has worked now for several weeks.'

Good thinking, Batman! Much more subtle than a full-frontal attack with a pair of insulated wire-cutters.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: melodeonboy
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 06:39 AM

I'm with Jonny J on this one. Having spent an hour or thereabouts listening to a performer/performers, and with another hour or so of the same coming up, it makes the evening for me if I can socialise in the break, without having to shout in someone's lughole.

Sign of the times, I suppose; noise pollution everywhere - factory, supermarket, clothes shop; even the bloody banks have started on it. As for "music" being played over radio news bulletins, traffic reports and so-called "documentaries" on telly, don't get me started!


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 07:21 AM

At Faldingworth Live, we do not put music on in the intervals.

Before the main act does an encore, it isn't before our M/C has thanked everybody for coming along and asking people to take their glasses etc back to the bar at the end.
The artist(s) then does their encore and when they have finished, we put the lights on and thats it.

If we have a main guest and 1 suppport act, the support does 30 minutes and then we allow 15 minutes for people to get drinks/toilet/chat whlist the main act is getting ready on stage.
Th emain act does 45 minutes then we have 30 minutes break, when people get more drinks/go to the toilet/chat and we do the raffle.

We only open the bar when the performers are not singing.

I have been asked in the past why we allow 30 mintues in teh middle as they thought it was too long.

My answer was that we normally have at least 70 people in the hall and only a few toilets, so we need to give the time. Plus serving drinks to such an audience takes time even though people behind the bar are pretty quick. I also point out that its a time to circulate and have a chat. Likewise, we are not getting any younger and people that suufer with artheritus etc need to try and get their bodies untwisted.

We start at 8 and do our best to finish by 11

I had one person, who moaned about the time and I explained, but I have never seen that group again.

You can't win them all.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 07:32 AM

And then there are the non-specialist venues which, having booked an acoustic folk / Irish act, will blast out The Dubliners while the musicians are setting up (and during the break) or an old timey / bluegrass band having to follow a build up from Johnny Cash.

Done with the best of intentions but not as embarrassingly unhelpful as hearing one of your own CDs coming through the speakers before you start...


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 10:57 AM

Bah! What a bunch of curmudgeons...

I was regular at Hedge, an alt-folk night in Manchester. They had a policy of getting people (often other musicians who had played at the venue) to do short DJ sets betwween the acts. It worked very well. Of course, being under 50 and brought un on punk, post punk, indie and so on, I'd find it weird NOT to have music between the the sets. Of course, just having the sound engineer bung a random CD on shows a dispiriting lack of imaginiation and should be avoided, but recorded music in itself surely isn't a problem? It's 2010, you know!

I grant you it would be a bit weird to lug my turntable to my local singaround for a quick DJ set in the interval, but as this is a participatory rather than an audience event, a few tunes by attendees in the break is quite nice.

Shouting was necessary neither at Hedge or the singaround. It's about volume control not the presence or absence of background music.

Having said that, if I turned up at an event and there was silence between the sets apart from people who already know each other talking amongst themselves, it wouldn't make me cry or anything...


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 11:02 AM

Well, having played for years in pubs and social clubs (in bands), I just got used to there being music before the gig, in the interval, and after it! What we used to do, if we could, was to join in with the canned music track that was playing just before we started. The pub would cut the recorded track - and we'd finish it off before going into our first formal song/tine of the gig. Always got a smile from the audience if we could pull it off.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 11:20 AM

Spleen Cringe....... the voice of the under 50's! I'm with you mate.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 12:11 PM

Hey, don't forget me, Banjiman - I'm a young 65!


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 12:20 PM

Sorry Mr Fly!


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: melodeonboy
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:39 PM

Comments about how old people are or what they have been brought up on are a bit lame. Has independent thought disappeared?

"You're all individuals." (Life of Brian)


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Folknacious
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 06:59 PM

Some people do like to moan about pretty much anything, don't they?

My experience is that appropriate background music, well chosen and played at a sensible volume, often results in people coming up to the desk and asking what they're hearing. It can sell records by hard-pressed artists. It can subtly advertise future gigs. It can (shock, horror) provide a nice social atmosphere where people can talk. Many may feel inhibited about doing that if a bunch of musicians are having a tune session - since many live in fear of the no-fun shushers and tut-tutters at any gig involving folkies.

Rule of thumb (or perhaps ear) is that you should be able to comfortably talk over it - i.e. not need to shout. Same applies to restaurants . . . where personally I hate having live music as I feel very rude having a conversation and eating, even though that's what the place is for.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Rockhen
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 07:21 PM

I like background music to be as Folknacious suggests above, quiet enough to talk over. If I am performing, I don't like going up to play a quietish set of songs and waiting for the sound man to turn off a cd or ipod with the latest dance mix or a rock anthem...it is hard to follow that with an acoustic set.
I am not keen on walking into a new venue, with no background music and lighting which requires the donning of sunglasses. To me, it can feel very stark. When we put on gigs at our local venue, we often use tealights on the tables and it does seem to create a nice atmosphere.
I guess it is maybe personal choice. I would far rather walk in somewhere gently lit with quiet music on.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: melodeonboy
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 03:46 AM

Yes, Rockhen, lighting is very important. At the folk sessions at the Good Intent in Rochester, the landlady usually dims the lights and we have tea lights on the tables. This greatly improves the atmosphere. And the lighting they use at The Barge in Gillingham (candles, lanterns etc.) is just magical.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Hamish
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 03:50 AM

Ah yes... that reminds me of the gig I did recently where there were quite a few people from India in the audience. The first set went well, but during the break the disco played a loud Banghra number. That was hard to follow. Mrs Robinson, populist enough for many crowds, just didn't hack it I'm afraid. But it was a Christmas party, so I couldn't complain!!


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: stallion
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 04:07 AM

trouble is........... talk over cd background music and talk over performers.......is the prevalance of background music encouraging chitter chatter.....maybe receptors switch off, although it is there people don't notice? I am actually one of the crowd of people that think that people come out for a night out which also means talking to your mates, joining in with the singing and listening to the music but not in segments, so in a concert situation shut up and listen, in a session, be yourself. I know that a few of the muso's at the Tap & Spile session get hacked off because people chatter through the tunes and, by and large, shut up for the singing, although, as commented by some recent additions to the session said, it is a battle to get started! Anyway, as someone said earlier, can't please everyone all of the time


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Banjiman
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 04:09 AM

Hamish, have you thought about throwing a Banghra number or 2 into your set? I'd pay to see that!

Apologies for my ageist comment earlier but you did kind of leave yourself wide open.........

Back to the thread, as with most things, each to their own I guess. The key thing to me is that some thought has gone into creating the right atmosphere. Some appropriate background music can help with this.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Hamish
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 04:28 AM

I think that's the critical word: "appropriate", Paul. The thread covers lots of different sorts of events and what's right for one sort isn't necessarily right for the others.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: kendall
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 05:14 AM

I'm with Johnnie J on this one.

And for Guest, remember those tee shirts that were popular a while back that said "If It's Too Loud You Are Too Old"?
I Have one that says "IF IT'S TOO LOUD, IT'S TOO FUCKING LOUD"

Protecting my excellent hearing is far more important to me than any place where the music is painful. It's a no brainer. I'm 75 and I can hear a flea fart at 20 paces.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 05:23 AM

I can hear a flea fart at 20 paces

No you can't. A stupid comment.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Folknacious
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 06:16 AM

I can hear a flea fart at 20 paces.

That's because all the other fleas were going "shush" and giving you stern looks. And fleas have very short paces. And loud farts.

I'd rather have well chosen background music than listen to a load of old farts.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: melodeonboy
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 07:15 AM

"I can hear a flea fart at 20 paces"

Surley that's a figurative statement, as in "You could hear a pin drop", rather than a stupid comment.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Folknacious
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 07:33 AM

Surley that's a figurative statement, as in "You could hear a pin drop", rather than a stupid comment.

You're just a spoilsport. Surley. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: melodeonboy
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 07:37 AM

I'm not usually surly - honest!


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: billhudson
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 12:21 PM

As to back ground music before the main act goes on is good but if anyone out there has ever played a Ground Round you know the true meaning of the word, hell. They use to have the music playing while someone is singing happy birthday and then there's you in a corner singing wondering all the while, why the hell am I here?
Now a days before the gig I tell the bar owner…no TV on or music in the background when I am playing. If anyone wants a good concert setting they might try it. But yes I know in bars it can get, well nuts sometimes. This one gig I had years ago was a trip. The crowd was so loud in talking it was hard to listen to yourself sing. They only would listen to you if you did a song just like the radio hit songs. So I did everything but and they still did not pay the lest attention except when I mooned them and told them to kiss my ass. I was thinking I was going to get kicked out but the bar owner asked me, "Is this where the party is?"


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 12:26 PM

REAL folk clubs, don't have sound systems :)





I'll get me coat ☻


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: reggie miles
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 12:39 PM

Just played a relatively new open stage at a place where the manager turned up the canned music so loud beforehand that I could hardly hear my guitars to tune them before I got up to play. I was first on the list to play that evening. So, having to tune while on stage was a little annoying, not just to me but I'm certain to those listening too. Some folks just don't understand how to offer live music in their venues. They need to consult a professional about how best to feature it.

Maybe I've just found a new job description, "live music production consultant".

I also have to agree that offering the wrong kind of music before, after or in between an acoustic performance is presented is counterproductive to what will be appearing on stage. Fortunately, my performance was strong enough to counter the throbbing electronic disco that the manager saw fit to shove down our ears via his volume knob. He even asked for my contact info afterward.

I went to another relatively new open mic event that had the stage area in a corner near one of the exits. The bands played behind about a three and a half foot wall. So, if you stood while playing, the upper half of you could be seen over the wall alright but if you sit in a standard chair as I do when I play, don't count on getting any eye contact. Couple that kind of separation from the main body of the room with poor sound gear, no lighting and a giant flat screen tv with sports events playing right next to the stage area and you've got a recipe for sonic wallpaper. They might as well just play cds as have real folk offering their music in such an inhospitable environment.

I've played at venues where they saw no need to turn off their big screen sports tvs or even turn the volume down. Some still allowed customers to plug the juke box while I was offering my music. One place decided to allow the open kitchen area's radio to stay on and bleed into the space where I was being paid to entertain. I don't get it. If They're going to pay for live entertainment, why do they seem to do their level best to minimize it with so many other distractions, clacking pool balls, flashing video games, loud dart games, pinball games beeping, big screen tv sports droning?

Most musical events like open stages happen for about three hours a week. The venue pays a host to act a MC and handle all of the sound gear etc. The host usually puts the word out about the open mic and asks friends to come down to participate and offer their talents. I've noticed that many venues then won't allow that live music event to be the focus of that three hour time slot. They want to continue to feature all of the many other pleasant distractions that they normally offer their customers at the same time that they offer their live music event. Then, they wonder why the live music doesn't ever work or capture the attention of their customers. Duh!


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Bert
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 01:49 PM

...Some still allowed customers to plug the juke box while I was offering my music...

I pulled the plug out of the Juke box one time, no one said a word, even the guy who had just put a quarter in it.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: kendall
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 01:56 PM

..a stupid comment...only to someone who has never heard of exaggeration for effect.

Let me put it this way; I have never abused my hearing with loud music or people and I plan to keep it that way.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: agingcynic
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 02:01 PM

i have no trouble playing in or visiting smoky bars

but if the 'background' music is too much in the foreground, i beat a hasty retreat


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Les from Hull
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 02:30 PM

If it is a gig in a place set aside for that purpose, it should be up to the paying public to decide if they want 'background music' or not. In a regular venue people might want to talk to each other and find out what's been going on since last week/month. If it's an occasional venue some quietly played music might help set the scene.

My objection is calling it 'background music'. If there's music being played, I listen to it. I can't help it, my brain's wired up that way. Oh, and I am quite old by the way.


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Mark Ross
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 02:39 PM

Then there was the joint I played in Montana where they kept the police scanner radio on for the whole night, punctuating the music with the sounds of 911!

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 03:22 PM

John McCutcheon has CDs with selections of music he'd like to introduce people to, and he has the venue play them before concerts. He often gives a plug for other performers at the beginning of a concert. Seems to work pretty well. That way, he gets to choose music that will fit the mood of what he wants to do.
-Joe-


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