Life is full of perspective…
Life happens to each of us from a unique worldview and in a unique perspective. That being true, I thought it fitting to have my first guest blog be from a friends perspective of Saturday nights events! Dave, from Unobtrusive Lucidity, tells the unfortunate tail from the perspective of the audience member! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
After you’ve known Renee for a while, you learn that she is prone to…how shall I say?…misadventures. It’s not her fault, really. Strange events have a way of finding her. The great result of that for her friends is that she always has stories to tell…but, if you’re a regular reader here, then you already know that.
Once you start hanging around Renee, you eventually get to witness these misadventures in person…like the time I drove her to the train station only to discover she really wasn’t taking a train that day…but that’s a story for another post.
Karen and I like to support fellow artists whenever we can, and that’s especially the case with close friends. I hadn’t been to see one of Renee’s shows for a while, so when she told me she was playing at a local coffee shop Saturday night, Karen and I made a place in our schedule to take in the gig.
Now, let me qualify this by saying that, as punctually challenged as I am, Karen and I together are lateness squared. We don’t try to be, it just turns out that way. Sort of happens against our will. In any case, we arrived at the shop just after Renee had finished her first set. We caught up with her, looked forward to her second set, and I went inside to order a drink while Karen got a table in the courtyard. The intermission act was just getting ready to play.
That’s where the night became interesting. The coffee shop doesn’t really feel like a coffee shop…small tables combined with bright, poorly repaired walls, a giant screen TV with video games, and a flashing red “OPEN” sign create a cognitive dissonance that makes you feel as though you’ve wandered into a part of town that you’d rather not have wandered into. Oh well. I can deal. And I did deal…I dealt for a really long time in line while the owner of the shop chatted it up with a guy who strongly hinted that he just wanted to pay for his drink so that he could see the show, while listening to the annoyed and pronounced sighing of the high-school student behind me who was beyond annoyed at waiting for the chatting to stop. I had to wait for my drink while the owner then tried to joke with said high-school student (guess how well it was received?). I stood in line for so long that Karen made eye contact through the window at one point, with an expression inquiring what was taking so long, because I had been gone long enough that a hold-up was a viable explanation at that point. Finally, by the time I needed to shave again, I had my drink and went out to our table for the 15-minute intermission act.
Soon after sitting down, Renee beckoned us over to her table to introduce us to some friends. That’s where things became…cacophonous.
You see, the courtyard is enclosed in high stone walls that narrow toward the front entrance gate, sort of like a funnel. The issue was that the musicians had set up on the wrong end of that funnel, so that the sound was being shot toward the audience as though from a sonic cannon, rather than dissipating out over them in a pleasant mix. For a softer music style like Renee’s, this is not a major issue. For the distortion-driven blues riffs that kicked off the intermission, however, it was beyond loud.
Now, I love live music, and have certainly lost a bit of my hearing to that love. For exactly that reason, I quickly couldn’t take it any more, and retreated back inside the coffee shop. I wasn’t alone. The difference was that many others left entirely. Advice to high-school guitarists everywhere: louder does not mean better.
“Only fifteen minutes,” I thought to myself. “We’re five minutes into that. Not a big deal.”
Thirty minutes later, Renee and Karen had joined me inside…along with those of her friends who hadn’t left. An hour later we were wondering if the intermission act was ever going to surrender the mic. Another thirty minutes later, Renee finally regained the stage, and our six-dollar cover charge earned us four songs from our close friend and ears that rang for two days.
The sad thing is that the guitarists that played intermission were talented. There were even moments when they played softly enough that you could tell. I like my music loud, but when the audience is in pain, you’ve gone overboard.
The great thing about knowing Renee is that, if you hang out with her, its just a matter of time before one of her misadventures occurs in your presence, and you get to be a part of the story that will be told to others later. In any case, you’ll be glad your path crossed hers, if only briefly. And you’ll almost certainly hear, or perhaps witness, something really interesting happen.
Here’s to the next gig.
Here IS to the next gig Dave, that doesn’t cost you $6 or any more of your priceless hearing! Here, HEAR!