Saturday, February 21, 2009

Life's Minor Indignities

Tonight, I did, quite possibly, the worst, dullest, most boring gig that I've ever done.

It was in the suburbs (Arlington Heights), at a grammar school (St. James), in a gymnasium. There was a Mardi Gras theme to the event (appropriate since Mardi Gras coming up next Tuesday), and the purpose of this little soiree was to raise funds for the school so that none of the children will be left behind, or something like that.

A noble cause, I'm sure.

Anyways, it was a pretty typical gig, for this type of event. There were about 2 dozen tables set up, with about 10 chairs apiece. Along the sides of the gym, a silent auction/raffle was set up, going from end to end. The stage was at one end, and a cash bar and catering was at the other.

I've done a million of these things, so as I say, pretty typical.

What wasn't typical was that another part of the theme of the evening was "ladies night".

That means there were no men (except for the unlucky 20 or so husbands of these ladies that had the jobs of serving and pouring drinks to all of the said ladies). Almost a dream come true for a motley crew of blues guys, don't you think?


These women were so dull and boring. Nothing was getting them excited or even a little interested in what was going on. And I mean that they were not interested in ANYTHING. Not even when the guitar player played with his teeth like he was doing something unprintable.

Aside from the band, which was smokin', there was also the announcements of winners of various auction items, raffle items, etc. Like I said, lots of things going on.


No pulse. No heartbeat. No interest. Nothing.

Is this thing on?

Look, I understand that being the band at some fundraising event (or wedding, or Christmas party, or whatever) isn't part of my rock and roll fantasy. The band is usually not the focal point at these kind of events. Nobody is coming to see how good I look, basically.

No problem. I'm a pro, and it's nothing I take personally. It's very normal (although it still boggles the mind when the band can be right in front of someone and that person never even looks up and acknowledges the sound and fury before them. Not even once. How is that possible?).

Tonight, though, was one for the ages. The gig was a 3-set night. After the second break, before the third set, the woman who hires us comes up to us and says that she wants us to play overtime. And not only does she WANT us to do it, she felt as if we OWED it to her. Her position was that since the auctions and raffles and all the other things went long, we didn't actually play as much as they had expected. Or paid for?

So, ummm, could you just stay an extra 20 minutes since we took too long to do all that other crap?

You've got to be kidding.

Are you scolding us like your class of school kids?

The band gets a detention?

As I said, at the beginning of this useless diatribe, this was a sleepy audience to be sure. Maybe they couldn't get loose and get down because it was a school thing, and the ladies had to keep their guard up. Wouldn't want an embarrassing, drunken moment at this kind of party? Sure, I get it. Nobody wants to be the one that's talked about on Monday morning ("Can you believe Sally got up on that table with you-know-who and danced til the table broke and you could see right up her dress? I knew those hurricanes were nothing but trouble.") But to complain that we hadn't played enough for them?

And we owed them time?

Like I said, you've got to be kidding.

I hate the minor indignities.

In the end, we actually got a small tip for the overtime, which was a good gesture. If that was taken care of in the first place, like it usually is done, I'd be asleep right now, and you'd have nothing fun to read.

So it goes...

1 comment:

  1. OMG! Playing in the burbs, at a school, for a bunch of moms, my first thought was a bunch of tight ass, self righteous, snobs. They have certain code they have live to by. They have appearances they need to keep up. They live in a little bubble and have no clue how to relax, let their hair down, be real, and just have fun. When in the public they are always "on". They never ever cross this invisible line they have all created for themselves and each other. It's all about appearances. Do you know what they were doing at those tables? Instead of enjoying themselves, the great music, the possibly good food, really feeling the energy that you guys were putting into the room......they were talking about each other. So self involved. It's more important for them to keep up their appearances for one another than it is to just live in the moment, have fun, be in tune to the electricity that comes from the music. Since they are so caught up in themselves and what everyone else thinks of them, and ensuring that they can belittle everyone around them to make themselves feel better, they forget how be human.

    I'm sorry it was like that for you guys last night. Ya get all pumped to have a great gig...and then.....welcome to the Stepford Wives. That's how it is suburbia. I know this first hand. I've seen it. I have gone to more than one occasion at my kids school and watched this type of thing in action. I have my own little, I mean little, group of moms that I sit with. There are only 3 of us. We sit in the front of the room, we are loud, we laugh, we act like the kids. We create out own little out casted bubble. And ya know what? The dads all want to sit by us. It's funny actually. We are the ones that are talked about. We are the ones that don't fit in. Why? Um, I think it's because we refuse to give in and conform. We just are, ya know. Don't really give a fuck about anyone else.

    I feel kind of bad for those other women. I don't think they realize that there is more to life than the fishbowl they have put themselves in. Too bad for them. Wasted time that you don't get back I say.

    If me and my little pack were there last night.....the story you wrote would not have been told. Our little table would have been the only one in the room as far as you guys would have been concerned. Fun, fun, fun.

    As you can see, I have a little bit to say on the subject. Thankfully not everywhere you play is like that. I'm sure you're glad it's over and done with. MOVIN ON.