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positive heckling? people talking to you while you're singing.

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by soul-o, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. soul-o

    soul-o Friend of Leo's

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    Some of you all who do a lot of solo acoustic gigs will relate to this. I did a wedding in the Dominican Republic this past weekend (fancy schmancy place, Jay Z and Beyonce' were there) and played the cocktail hour on the lawn while everybody guzzled chardonnay and mojitos. There were a ton of older guests standing around the little portico where I was playing, so I threw in some oldies with my usual mix of "music to eat shrimp by".

    Listen to the lady at 1:18 in the video as she recognizes the song I've been playing directly into her ear hole.

     
  2. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I don't "gig", but it always amazes me how often, when people come upon me singing and playing my guitar, they feel free to just strike up a conversation. I try to just ignore them, and sometimes give them the death glare as I continue, but usually people who feel free to do that are too insensitive to recognize my response, and I have to stop and ask them what they must want that is so allfired important.
     
  3. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Then there's always...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    okay, so this may sound kind of weird, but i have a theory about this.

    Most people are kind of lonely. you know the old 'we are born alone, live alone and will die alone' idea. That we are in a crowd of people, many who love us, have been around us our whole lives... but, there are all these thoughts and feelings and experiences that are singular...

    Music is maybe the biggest of those singular experiences. When we were teens and sat in dark rooms with headphones on listening to the words to songs, driving in the dark or alone with the radio guiding our imaginations...

    And then we are at a wedding, funeral, family gathering... or even at the local bar... and after a couple of cocktails.... there it is...

    a total stranger playing something that triggers that loneliness, that longing for a time gone, for an experience past that will NEVER return... that we can never capture, that lost youth, innocence, moment of insight...

    and you, the entertainment, have triggered all of this in a moment, a flash of a second, to a person who may have a full and satisfied life... is reminded that she is both alone (in her memory of those past moments) and connected by saying something to you...

    effectively, you are her time machine and it is really important (emotionally) to connect to you and to let you know that what you just did really really really mattered to her.

    We do Wichita Lineman and it is routine that we'll have 4 or 5 people tear up and we'll see them wiping their eyes... it is a common song for people to have feelings about... those feelings are not so much for the great song... but for memories of when they heard it in their youth.... it is remarkable how many times 'a fan' will thank us after or come up to the stage during and just stare at one of us or say something...

    it is that very emotional need for a connection in the vast sea of singular experience and loneliness.

    What you did was magic...
     
  5. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Good summation getbent!

    Mentioning Wichita Lineman reminds me of an excellent instrumental version by Johnny A., who, like soul-o, also happens to be from the Boston area.
     
  6. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    At this point I'm convinced that a rather large contingent of people simply don't know how to act in public. I've no clue why folks insist on attempting to converse with me while I'm singing, but it seems to happen more frequently than I'd prefer.Tune will be done in a minute and a half, but I suppose that's an eternity in the instant gratification fest that's sometimes referred to as modern society.

    A few months back I was playing this bar with no stage, I was on the floor. A woman came up to me and started yakking at me right in my face as I was playing and singing. I wasn't unpleasant to her, I smiled, but kept singing and playing (my foremost responsibility is to entertain the room, not stop what I'm doing immediately to cater to one overly inebriated person). Irate, the woman stormed off, loudly muttering to herself. Moments later the woman came back, again mouthing loudly (but unintelligibly) as I was singing. This time when I did not immediately reply to her, she dumped many little pieces of paper that she'd torn up, onto my head, like confetti, and kept mouthing. I had/have absolutely no clue what this woman's deal was. But at this point the woman's date/husband/pimp/CPA/john/? came up and grabbed her by the arm, loudly proclaiming: "c'mon honey, he doesn't GET IT".

    Whatevah. Lots of patrons clapped as "the couple" exited the premises.

    I do Witchita Lineman too. Good thing nobody ever started mouthing at me during that one. I really love the Jimmy Webb number. I might just have to bite somebody on the nose for that one.
     
  7. ryokan

    ryokan Tele-Holic

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    I agree with this 100%. This happened to me a few months ago. I play jazz standards, and a woman in the audience just went nuts because her father who passed away decades ago used to play the same songs that I was playing. She was very emotional, and it was magic to be a part of...
     
  8. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah when it's nice it's a different thing. It just often isn't.
     
  9. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Yup, that's happened to me a lot. It's a bit distracting, and I don't mind it too much unless they're criticizing your song choice ("Can you play something fast? You're putting us to sleep!"). You have to be a real a-hole to say something like that to someone, and people don't realize that a solo guitar player/singer is not the same as a dance band.
     
  10. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

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    It happens more frequently when you on the floor level with them. I think it somehow lessens the aura of a performance in some of their minds.

    It can be irritating, but most of the time I just smile and keep on singing. The only time I get really pissed is when they decide it is okay to grab the mic. Then I might get rude.
     
  11. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Tele-Holic

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    Grab the mic? Better yet is when they just start singing real loud along with you and can't carry a tune in a bucket! :lol: :lol: :lol:

    I was playing for some friends of mine at a marina last summer when some drunk broad decided to sit down next to me and then started singing along with me in the key of 'heavily intoxicated'. :lol:
     
  12. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    That's the power of positive drinking.
     
  13. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, I had a guy grab the mic and try to sing along. He pulled that at a regular bi-weekly gig I had with my buddy Bob. We never minded people talking or singing along, but when the guy pulled that I told him to get [email protected]$# out.
     
  14. Chritty

    Chritty Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm betting that she was trying to tell you that she could sing that song for you.
     
  15. Stubee

    Stubee Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I wear a sign around my neck that says in big block letters: DO NOT TALK TO ME. PLEASE JUST LOOK AT YER SMARTPHONE. THANKS.

    To the OP: she didn't really say much. Nice wedding party song & vocal, BTW.

    It really doesn't bother me much what patrons do as long as they don't fall on my acoustic guitar. I do think GB has a point, and now that I'm thinking of Wichita Lineman again I'm signing off to weep in private.
     
  16. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Seems as though people believe that every gig is karaoke now, especially if you're on the floor.
     
  17. guitarboy57

    guitarboy57 Tele-Meister

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    At casual gigs...and for me, they're almost all casuals...stuff like the comment in the op's video just goes with the territory. I think nothing of leaning off mike, smiling and saying something right back. I see it as just part of the job. (Nice singing by the way OP!)

    And though I'm pretty easy going...I'm right there with Jack in that I don't want folks touching my stuff.

    Once two girls each grabbed one of my harmonicas and started running around the bar each tooting away in a different key. Naturally, neither of them were wheezing in the key of the song i was playing at the time...ha!

    I wasn't pleased...set my guitar down, went and reclaimed by harps, and they got an earful.

    I think Getbent is on to something for sure (once again) with the emotional connection thing...you never know what someone might be going through.

    Sometimes we forget how powerful music can be...My GF and I play at a lot of convalescent/senior centers. And we've learned to be ready for anything...seriously--way more unexpected behavior occurs than when I used to play a lot of bars.

    One time I look up mid song and there's a middle-aged guy in a wheelchair completely losing it. Just blubbering away...(I know my singing ain't great but I didn't think it was that bad!) I asked if he was okay after we finished the song, and the woman next to him replied, "yes he'll be fine, you just triggered some memories for him...he used to be long haul trucker." I never would have expect a reaction like that to Six Days on the Road...
     
  18. krisls

    krisls Tele-Holic

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    Yes it happens and can be ..ah, disconcerting if you're concentrating not having the song totally down. Mostly not a big deal though.

    That said Getbent's comment is one of the single best I think I've read on this site.

    Kristina
     
  19. garytelecastor

    garytelecastor Poster Extraordinaire

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    I always expect that at weddings, corporate events, private parties, etc., the music is more like the centerpieces on the tables. People are there to socialize and if it is a wedding they are catching up with relatives and friends so they really are not going to be that caught up in what the band is doing.
    In these instances, the term "back ground music" really does apply. A musician is there to add to the comfort of the event and the focus of attention is on either the bride and groom or the boss.
    That's why we have a completely different song list for these functions. We provide the buyer with a list of songs that fit for the Bridal dance, Parent dance, Bridal Party dance, Dollar dance (if they do it), and then all of the standard wedding songs and dances. What's a wedding if the guests get half loaded and the band doesn't play the "Chicken Dance"? We also sit with the bride and groom ahead of time and make sure we know when they want to do the standard stuff, bouquet toss, cut the cake, etc.
    In your case to the woman you were like the cake, and she was commenting on her thoughts about the music, much the same as saying how nice the cake looks.
    Don't take it to heart. "This is the business we have chosen for ourselves."
    Someday, I'll do a thread and talk about playing a party for some very serious Soprano types. Interesting.
     
  20. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I usually roll ok with these things with a smile and I'll use it and play off of it (if I'm on my A-game,) especially if it is fairly benevolent, as that lady's comment wasn't bad.

    BUT: As the hindsight-scale-of-balances teeters back-and-forth with the winshield-wiper-haze of the slate-gray-highway, I chew the cud and work it over, and work it over...all aligning-stars and circumstantial minutiae dissipating into yesterdays & last-nights, I am spent. I am puzzled by the lack of awareness and consideration that dribble-belches out of stir-olive-nightmare-martini entitlement.

    My better-self and the pro-in-me wants to reconcile this and frame it as a beautiful, personal, spontaneous moment of connection, perhaps a launching-pad for levity, tenderness, or repartee. The stuff that great gigs are made of, the magic in the memories....

    But the regular, simple, common-sense, years of toilet-scrubbing-poor-sacrificing-demeaned-looked-down-upon-pitful-wittle-artist-in-me thinks, (oh wait....we dont "think," we just get "moody," how silly of my crayon-brain) with what inconsequential shred of clean-shaven-lint-brushed-tip-jar-crying-dignity that is left:

    I do not care if I set somebody's lap-napkin on fire with my torch-tonsils, yelling ANYTHING at a solo performer while they are playing is RUDE. I just want to kick that cackle-monster right in the jock-strap and row my bad attitude back up the stream, because even when people are thinking they are doing you a favor by gracing you with their vocalized-superiority, by GIVING you their precious grunt-garble, they are being total, unapologetic, royal pricaholics.

    And yes, that is what makes it UPSTREAM. It's cumulative...
     
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