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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Frank Hamilton Music Etiquette Question -- Blind Spots (65* d) RE: Music Etiquette Question -- Blind Spots 26 Sep 99

Alcohol is the problem. People go to bars to "loosen up" which is often a euphenism for becoming obnoxious. When I played bars I selected material that could penetrate the alcoholic haze. Thoughtful ballads and story lines that required concentration on the part of the audience didn't work. Some could pull it off. Bob Gibson was a master at it. To play bars, you gotta' be there in that there's an identification taking place. You have to be in the "bar space". I don't go there so I have trouble with those scenes. When people drink, they don't want to pay attention too closely. They want to be entertained which means to me the want to laugh or be shocked in some way or have background music for their conversation which generally consists of raucous laughter and animated talk. If I play in that kind of environment, I'd prefer to be background music. It's easier.

I think the pub scene is different in England and Ireland than it is in America. When I sang an American folk song in an Irish pub in Spittal, everyone listened intensely and identified with the performance. The same was true when we visited "O'Neils Ballad Lounge" to hear a group in Bundoran, it was the same experience. Drunk or no, the audience was "into it". It' probably because the people there are very close to their folk roots.

I don't have any advice except that there's no worse audience than a drunken American. By in large, a gross generality I realize but we are so jaded when it comes to entertainment.

Frank Hamilton

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