mudcat.org: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2]


Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?

Bobert 31 Mar 03 - 09:45 PM
Maryrrf 31 Mar 03 - 10:01 PM
SINSULL 31 Mar 03 - 10:11 PM
Clinton Hammond 31 Mar 03 - 10:14 PM
Deckman 31 Mar 03 - 10:14 PM
Clinton Hammond 31 Mar 03 - 10:17 PM
khandu 31 Mar 03 - 10:21 PM
Maryrrf 31 Mar 03 - 10:24 PM
Sorcha 31 Mar 03 - 10:55 PM
Bobert 31 Mar 03 - 10:55 PM
Clinton Hammond 31 Mar 03 - 11:19 PM
DonMeixner 31 Mar 03 - 11:46 PM
GUEST 01 Apr 03 - 04:28 AM
An Croenen 01 Apr 03 - 04:36 AM
Hamish 01 Apr 03 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,steve benbows protege 01 Apr 03 - 05:29 AM
Hrothgar 01 Apr 03 - 07:44 AM
kendall 01 Apr 03 - 08:17 AM
InOBU 01 Apr 03 - 08:24 AM
Dani 01 Apr 03 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Foe 01 Apr 03 - 09:13 AM
alanabit 01 Apr 03 - 09:35 AM
wysiwyg 01 Apr 03 - 09:54 AM
Jim Colbert 01 Apr 03 - 10:52 AM
Clinton Hammond 01 Apr 03 - 01:40 PM
kendall 01 Apr 03 - 02:03 PM
Willie-O 01 Apr 03 - 02:11 PM
wysiwyg 01 Apr 03 - 02:16 PM
Clinton Hammond 01 Apr 03 - 02:25 PM
GUEST 01 Apr 03 - 03:39 PM
M.Ted 01 Apr 03 - 04:03 PM
Naemanson 01 Apr 03 - 04:05 PM
duuuude 01 Apr 03 - 04:31 PM
Bobert 01 Apr 03 - 05:58 PM
CraigS 01 Apr 03 - 07:10 PM
kendall 01 Apr 03 - 07:40 PM
Mary in Kentucky 01 Apr 03 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 01 Apr 03 - 11:40 PM
open mike 01 Apr 03 - 11:44 PM
GUEST 01 Apr 03 - 11:44 PM
Jazzyjack 02 Apr 03 - 01:44 AM
GUEST,Boab 02 Apr 03 - 02:32 AM
Deni-C 02 Apr 03 - 02:32 AM
Mary in Kentucky 02 Apr 03 - 08:22 AM
Maryrrf 02 Apr 03 - 09:24 AM
kendall 02 Apr 03 - 09:50 AM
JennyO 02 Apr 03 - 10:06 AM
Don Firth 02 Apr 03 - 12:58 PM
Bobert 02 Apr 03 - 08:37 PM
Cluin 02 Apr 03 - 09:07 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Bobert
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 09:45 PM

Not too sure how this happened but I've got an open mike/coffee house thing organized and this Friday is its debut. All I have to go on is my experiences of performing in coffee houses in Richmond, Va. in the 70's. The audiences were respectfull and the there wasn't any talking during the performances.

Well, I'd like to bring about that same situation with this new venture. Is is possible? I was thinking that I would have a little talk with the audience before the first performer and talk about what coffe house used to be, and talk about how these performers were bringing something so much personal than the cover band at the local honkie tonk and repeat this little talk between the performers.

Is it unrealistic to expect folks to be respectfull. I have been to a few open mikes where the audience just talks loudly and wanders around and the performers are lost. I don't want for this to happen or Iwon't be able toget performers to come back.

Any ideas? I'm all ears... or eyes....

Bobert


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:01 PM

Well, I think your approach is a good one. A lot will depend on your audience and how respectful they are, but if you make it clear that you are asking them not to talk during performances, and tell them the reason, I would think there is a good chance they would comply. Then again, you never know and sometimes it's only one table that disrupts things.   What coffee houses did you perform at in Richmond during the Seventies? I was around Richmond a bit during those years.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: SINSULL
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:11 PM

Might want to mention the tradition of snapping fingers vs. applause out of respect for the neighbors.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:14 PM

Power to ya but really, I think you'd be better off trying to herd cats than control an audience... The audience, after all, is the best barometer of what they like or don't like... And when it boils down to it, they're the reason yer there... (And well, audiences today are NOT the audiences of the past... for good or bad...)

"make it clear that you are asking them not to talk during performances, and tell them the reason, I would think there is a good chance they would comply"

Or they might ignore you and just sit and spend money on coffee and chat with their friends... That's more likely why they're there in the first place...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Deckman
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:14 PM

Ahhh yes, the age old question? How to get them to shut up and listen ... for what's good for them. My answer probably will NOT surprise you, veteran that you are. Simply walk on stage and take COMMAND! Take control. In a few simple words, let them know the pleasures that await them. Let them know the performers, educate them as to the manners that you expect. Let them know, with humor, the cost of breaking the rules. Then smile, grin, give 'em a song, and let the show begin. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING! (don't give then a chance to screw up and they won't ... after all, it's YOUR show isn't it!). CHEERS and best wishes, Bob(deckman)Nelson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:17 PM

"Let them know, with humor, the cost of breaking the rules"

What exactly is this alleged COST you mention???


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: khandu
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:21 PM

Yo, Bobertz! Deckman is right. Speak kindly, but with authority and tease'em a bit. You set the stage, you are in control. You da man! :~>
But, even in the best audiences, there are people who gonna do what they want.

Good luck to you and let us know how it goes!

k


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:24 PM

Well, yes, the audience is the best barometer of what they like or don't like - but if everybody's talking then even those who want to listen won't really be able to hear the music, will they? I know what you mean about herding cats. Some audiences are like that. But it's worth a try to attempt to get them to be quiet and polite while the entertainment is on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Sorcha
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:55 PM

How about--

HEY, YA'LL, LISTEN UP! WE ARE TRYING TO PERF0M HERE AND WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR ATTENTION! (then whup up side of heads or throw things)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Bobert
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:55 PM

Maryrrf:

I played the Crossroads Coffee House on Franklin Street. And guess what? Its still there. Not sure its been there all along but OI heard that it's still going! Danged!

Deckman and Kenny:

Good advice! I was gonna use all the humor I had in me anyway, but it's good to hear some folks who think this is the way to go. I *can* be strong when I need to but I don't want to run anyone off. But, just in case, I have a blue grass jam occuring at the same time at another resturant just four doors up so I always have the option of *suggestin* a possible transfer or exchange.

Bobert


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 11:19 PM

"HEY, YA'LL, LISTEN UP! WE ARE TRYING TO PERF0M HERE AND WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR ATTENTION! (then whup up side of heads or throw things)

Is more likely to earn ya a good "Why don't you shut the f^ck up, hippy!!" from most crowds...

Or maybe that's just this area...

:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 11:46 PM

Recite a good rhymning poem. No one is ever prepared for than and they shut up just hear whats being said. Follow it with an appropriate song. I usually do "Spainish Johnny" and then "When The Works All Done This Fall".

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 04:28 AM

"And now we are going to hear from xxxxxxx, so a little quiet please for......... XXXXXXXX"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: An Croenen
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 04:36 AM

Also, don't turn on the sound system full blast, but rather keep it at low volume so that people have to stop talking if they want to hear what's happening. That's if you're using mics, of course.
An


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Hamish
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 04:54 AM

If there's a separate area where talking can be allowed, then you could ask the desperate to move. I've seen this work quite well.

If it's to be a regular event, you have to train the audience over a period. So if you take what I read as being Clinton's advice of letting the audience decide the rules, then it's the noisy ones will come back, and the ones who want to listen won't. Your choice. But you may need the venue's understanding if they think you're turning away noisy but paying custom. Assure them that in the long run the approach will work. (And then hope that it does!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: GUEST,steve benbows protege
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 05:29 AM

sorcha,
    My good friend Dorris Henderson uses that approach quite frequently just without the throwing bit. Actually works every time for her!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 07:44 AM

Bet you have more trouble with the coffee machine than with the audience.

Very difficult to tell the proprietor to turn off his money machine.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 08:17 AM

I once heard Dave Mallett ask a crowd, "Why did you pay to come here and talk, when you could stay home and talk for free."?
That advice about keeping the sound low is good; the higher it goes, the higher the talking goes, and it becomes a battle.
Personally, I don't have trouble with audiences; maybe because I always start with something funny, either a song or a joke.
It also helps to stay away from stuff that has been worn out. If you are not funny, don't try to be. That is a put off.
But, most of all, the stage manager should control the rowdies more so than the performer. If one person is louder than the rest, make fun of him. Say something like, "That's ok, I remember my first beer."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: InOBU
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 08:24 AM

There used to be a pub in New York which had a row of broken fiddles over the bar, all of them broken over the heads of loud patrons who dared to talk loud while Johnny Cronin was playing...
Cheers
Larry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Dani
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 08:53 AM

The restaurant we acquired this year has a long tradition of music once a week. Before us, it always seemed to me that the musicians were background music to the talking, visiting crowd. When we started to make changes, this was one thing I wanted to figure out.

We do not serve as mc's,(tradition? Shyness?) Bands and musicians just begin playing. Mostly people either come to listen to the music and do, or pick up on the tone, and do. Not always. It's usually the charisma and quality of the music/musicians that determines attentiveness. That's why Kendall's so good at this ; )
(NB Kendall: No one has EVER listened to a musician at the tavern we visited until you were there!)

Some things that are in our power to do to encourage an atmosphere of respect and attentiveness:

- Arrange tables and chairs so that no one is facing AWAY from the stage. Sounds simple. Makes a big difference. If half a large table is looking the other way, conversation is easier and more appealing.

- Servers can set an example by their behavior and attitude (doing major cleanup and clearing in between sets, using respectful voices and body language when waiting on people)

- Good old-fashioned hairy eyeball: If a table of adults who should know better is REALLY loud and rude, just keep clearing their table, quit refilling their coffee, and stare at them with a smile on your face. If a child is extremely disruptive, keep visiting in as friendly a manner as possible, "Can I get you some more crayons? Does he want a snack? Maybe he'd like to get down and dance?"

- Show by your own attention to the music/musicians

Good luck!

Dani


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: GUEST,Foe
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:13 AM

I worked in a Folk Club in Tucson in the 60's and we had a off-duty police woman who would come in two or three nights a week, get drunk, and then sing along with every song from every performer - whether she knew it or not. We never did figure out how to shut her up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: alanabit
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:35 AM

It's a good question. What often happens is that you get one table talking, then the next one can't hear. They start talking... I liked Kendall's advice earlier and I also agree that it's not a bad idea to keep the sound low so that the audience has to listen. Other points to bear in mind are that you should always keep something happening. You use tunings, don't you? So you will need to have some patter to keep them occupied while you are retuning.
One of my favourite techniques for quietening a room of chatterers was to start off in a quiet voice (rising to a crescendo), "I am now going to play a dirty, low down, perverse, sleazy, filthy, depraved song - ABOUT SEX!" (Pause- and then in a matter of fact voice),"...actually I am not. But you are all listening now, aren't you?" It works a treat, but you must follow it up quickly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:54 AM

If you let the word out among your core group of patrons, that will help establish the quiet from the beginning. One of the causes of talking during sets is that a regular (usually quiet) patron may bring someone along who does not know the ground rules.... if YOU don't make the expectations clear, you are putting your regulars in the awkward position of having to be the cop or ignore their date.

The best tone I have seen set has depended on the host/ess telling people, in the welcome/announcments, that THIS IS A LISTENING ROOM, where people are accustomed to listening during the music and talking between sets. You can add: "We've been privileged [or we're hoping] to present top artists who really enjoy playing here because the audience is here, first and foremost, for the music. If you are used to hearing live music in a club [bar], this may seem a little different to you, but we think you will appreciate the distinction."

A placard on the table IMO would not be offensive, with the guidelines about noise and the reminder to tip the servers, along with the calendar for upcoming events.... you don't have to be heavy-handed; you can word it intelligently, like this:

So and So Coffeehouse
The Best Listening Room in [town name]

~Susan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Jim Colbert
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:52 AM

To me, bottom line is, you really can't dictate what the audience does or does not do. In an open mic situation in a bar, there are people there to have a good time... in a coffee house, ditto, although perhaps not as boisterously... tough call. Alientate the regulars of a commercial establishment by basically telling them to shut up and you'll not be asked to return. I think every audience has people there to listen- best thing is to be as accomodating as you can to them, keep them up front and close to the performers.

I like the placard on the table idea, and if you are fortunate to be in the situation where EVERYONE there is simply there to listen- simply spell out the ground rules in advance when you open the show, that a little consideration and respect can go a long way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 01:40 PM

"Why did you pay to come here and talk, when you could stay home and talk for free."

What a stupid question... Why go to a pub when you can drink at home? Why go to a movie when you can watch TV at home???

How asinine

People go out mostly to socialize... The venue is secondary... be it a bar, a pub, or a coffee house... They are there primarily to meet the people they are going to meet... A coffee house to me at any rate is first and foremost a place to sit and talk with friends...

" Johnny Cronin was playing..."
Never heard of him... glad I haven't too...

"bottom line is, you really can't dictate what the audience does or does not do"
My point exactly... :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 02:03 PM

Maybe not, CH, but, I can dictate what I do. That's why I don't perform for booze guzzling empty headed assholes. They should go to some upholstered sewer and listen to a screeching jukebox.
I only do venues where people come to listen. It's easier than trying to make others do what I want them to do.

Mallett's question wasn't stupid; those with more than a teaspoon full of brains got the message.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Willie-O
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 02:11 PM

Clinton, you're a fulltime working musician and yet you don't think there's any need for or value in capturing an audience's attention? That, I just don't get.

It might not be your style--it's not always my style either. If one is hired to be background music, well, that's what you expect to be. Fine, you just play.

But there are lots of other types of gigs. And a lot of people do come to hear the music--and don't like it if all they can hear is the rowdies!      

It's understood that not everyone has the same interest, but I always hope to get the people closest to the stage engaged--a big rowdy thing going on right in my face gives me the "why am I here?" feeling.

It's always worthwhile speaking to the assembled throngs if the environment is getting overly distractive. It is ESSENTIAL to keep a friendly tone though, cause no one including the music lovers is there to get scolded. You gotta figure most of them are predisposed to like you, cause they're there, so you work on maintaining that while winning the rest of em over.

If it's noisy at the back, you might ask if they can hear you back there, and adjust the volume accordingly.   

Best situation of course is to have the management clued in and supportive--if they will take care of the real jerks, it makes the job a lot easier--just an occasional friendly reminder to the cheap seats can make a big difference.

Canadian audiences are notoriously shy. A lot of times, they are too shy to applaud in a restaurant or bar, cause they're not sure it's the right thing to do; you don't find out that they are enjoying the music until you stop playing. Too bad they're not so shy about talking.

A lot of places, especially the dinner music type gigs, my objective is just to have a small portion of the room listening intently. Gives me something to focus on.

W-O


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 02:16 PM

I often wonder, at Mudcat, "How come with folkies the questions so often devolve into debates about trying to control people?"

It isn't about control.... it's about good hosting. I've been in loud bars and quiet coffeehouses... people choose where they would rather go when both are available. I've been in quiet bars and loud coffeehouses. You get a feel for what it will be like if you go to hear folk music very often.

At No Exit coffeehouse, there was a fine tradition of people coming in the early evening to play board games (Go, chess, etc.), chat over coffee or tea, to read the indie papers, and so forth.... but once set time arrived, chatting would stop. Mostly it was spontaneous, but the announcements from the host didn't hurt either. The coffee machine did indeed make a lot of racket, but it became fodder for performer jokes, and I suspect that there had been a word with the host about the set list to let the machine operator know that there would be one or two very quiet songs during which a minimum of coffee-drawing would be appreciated. It was a matter of cooperation, not control... everyone benefits when there is cooperation asked and given.

At another well managed and very well attended venue, it was a bar, and there was therefore alcohol. Know what? It was still billed as and operated as a listening room. It was commmonly understood that the first set (starting about 9:30 PM) would be received quietly, and then the peformers tended to use their more rollicking material in the second (and sometims third) set. People who were drinking would be ready to make noise about the time it got noisy-- but this was noise in response to and joining in WITH the music, because the performers knew how to cultivate that.

At Godfrey Daniels, one of the most respected listening rooms in the US folk world, I was lucky enough to see Seamus Kennedy do two sets. It's BYO booze there, and the host opens with a short mention about the place's atmosphere as a listening room. Seamus has a lot of jokes about drinking, and he does his sets in such a way that any audience noise is pulled INTO the set, not at odds with it. Again, it was not about control, except maybe the self-control of an experienced artist.

BTW, I have seen idiots making a scene asked to leave all sorts of venues. It doesn't hurt overall future attendance-- it helps prevent the listeners from being driven out in droves.

In a room that is not run as a listening room, there is goiong to be noise, and of course no you can't control it, it's a different atmosphere and you go with it for good or ill. Some people like that kind of setting, to play in and hear people in. Me, I like listening rooms, but I have never felt anyone was trying to control me or the others present.

~Susan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 02:25 PM

"I only do venues where people come to listen. It's easier than trying to make others do what I want them to do."

That's one hell of a luxury there Kenny... I'd be right there beside you if I could.. but in this area, we take what we can get... I'm lucky enough to have some 'listening type' gigs... thinking of those is part of what gets me through the other gigs...

"booze guzzling empty headed assholes."

My... how arrogant and elitist of you... Too good for the pubs eh? good... I'll take the bookings... There's a BIG downtown venue here where we play from time to time... and it's LOUD and it's DRUNKEN, and it's full of scantily clad jiggy... and ya know what, I LOVE it! Where else is a tired old folk wanna-be like me ever gonna get that rock star feelin'?? LOL

"you're a fulltime working musician and yet you don't think there's any need for or value in capturing an audience's attention"

I never ONCE said that did I...

What I'm saying is, try, but don't be surprised if your audience tells you to get stuffed...

If they don't, count yourself lucky, and have a great show!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 03:39 PM

i have always found a great way to have an audience pay attention.. is to get them involved....
talk to them.. focus on 1 or 2.. talk to THEM... look at them in the eye.... ask questions.. "do you wanna sing?!".. i do a set of singalong stuff. and try to introduce each one.. easy, (gypsy rover), hard (mary mac), easy (tie me kangaroo down....)
when i sing something they know.. they get involved.. then i have them for the next harder one.. which of course they wanna try...

but most of all i try to find people in the audience who ARE paying attention.. focus on them.. and often the others will wonder who you're talking too and stop to listen... but the best advice that i have is to connect with the people in the audience.. any way you can....

i used to play with a fellow Danny Burns, who passed away last year... irishman of note... and one of the best front men i have seen for a band.. ever...
he could tell stories.. jokes.. whatever... and get away with it... and keep the audience involved with the band... and the music...

things like.. "are you all having a good time???" (repeats it louder).. 'we'll soon put a stop to that!"..
or:
'right.. let's all dance the ***(name of bar) way!..ladies, take your clothes off!!"

or.. nobody on the dance floor... he'd shout out.. 'change partners!"

always gets a smile from people.. and they would turn to listen....

Look at them.. talk to them.. pick individuals... get them involved.. even if they are at the other side of the bar/room... it's amazing what you can accomplish with eye contact and a smile...

my $0.02 worth...

musicman


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 04:03 PM

People would rather be entertained than not--the problem is that, especially with open mike situations, you get some performers that may not be very entertaining--Best to keep things moving--But Bobert, I suspect that you will not have any trouble keeping people amused--call it a hunch--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Naemanson
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 04:05 PM

Every time I see one of these threads I feel so grateful for the area I've been in. I have never, let me repeat that word, NEVER, seen any coffeehouse where the performers were not treated to a respectful attention from the audience. And that has included some pretty awful performances.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: duuuude
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 04:31 PM

Kendall, you say "booze guzzling, emptyheaded assholes" like it's a BAD thing! I happen to resemble that remark somewhat, but still know how to show proper respect for anybody attempting to entertain me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Bobert
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 05:58 PM

Well danged! Here I've gone and started a food fight right here in the Catbox. Jus' funnin'..

But, no, seriously. I thank everyobe for their contributions and will certainly follow the more practical advice. The seating, with eveyone facing the performer is excellent. We have two big round tables but they fold up and that's exactly what I'm gonna do. Fold 'em up. And, WYSIWYG's idea of the place cards on the table and the intro is excellent.

I can get away with a lot of arm twistin' and cajollin' with these floks because it's a relatively small town and everyone purdy much knows everyone and well, I'm not sure why, but I am considered to be the town's *character*. Well I do know why but I go around huggin' folks so I get away with a lot of mischief.


So I think I can do the "Welcome to__________. We're fortunate to have with us some very talented singer/songwriters tonight wyho have come here to share_____________.

And turning the sound system down is excellent and makes a lot of sense.

I'm also going to treat the stage as a little set with a quilt on the wall behind oit, a couple of compfy chairs without arms and a table with some flowers between the two chairs and a Persian style carpet> Hey, we used to do something similar back in Richmond. Real homey!

But, I'll keep checkin' this thread daily between now and Friday night and will post a review on Saturday morning.

Thanks again. Really.

Bobert


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: CraigS
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 07:10 PM

For what it's worth, here's my best line - "Every song tells a story, so even if the material is not what you are used to, listen to the words ... " It has worked with audiences from heavy metal to heavily finger-in-the-ear trad.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 07:40 PM

CH, I wasn't aware that you were a full time musician. That changes the whole picture, and, of course you can't be as fussy as a dabbler such as I. I don't have to perform, and that gives me a big advantage.But, "elitist"? ME? a mossy horned democrat? Guess I'd better take a good look in the mirror.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 07:45 PM

Some tricks I learned in teaching adolescents...not sure how they apply to performing...

Engage their minds in following directions to perform simple tasks. Give one direction every 4 or 5 seconds and DON'T REPEAT...just keep going. Maybe this is a bit like Don's suggestion of a rhyming poem. Or maybe a bit like George Carlin's or Dennis Miller's lists, you strain to hear what's next.

Also, the bit about speaking softly over the long run helps bring the volume down.

A shock action (I can whistle real loud) will work once, but has to be followed by something worthwhile.

I once lost my voice and had to use hand signals...the kids loved it.

I once observed Bob Hope "control" an audience of several thousand. You could hear a pin drop, it was all in the timing and having something funny (or worthwhile) to say.

In teaching attention-challenged classes it was best to divide the period into three segments of about 10 minutes each, the attention span just didn't last very long. Physical action (perhaps clapping...ever notice how white folks clap on the beat and black folks clap on the "and"...demonstrate the way to clap bringing the elbows back to the sides...) helps get the audience involved.

Are you the emcee for numerous performers? Perhaps perform yourself too? If so, the problems will occur when a group loses the crowd and you have to get it back. Study Billy Crystal! ;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:40 PM

If the performer is worthy...the audience will be also.



Sincerely,

Gargoyle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: open mike
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:44 PM

the espresso machine, as mentioned earlier, is harder to
cope with than conversation--you might ask the customers
to wait to order drinks requiring the steam engine bzzzzzzzzzz
to wait until break time, them make sure to leave a "coffee break"
in the middle , or between performers, for the cappuccino...
i have had trouble with ice machines, too sometimes, making
a racket. Will you have several performers? HOw do you
determine who plays when? Are there sign-ups? Is there
a pre-determined length for each time slot? Good LUCK!
enjoy and i hope your players and listeners enjoy, too!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:44 PM

Where you teach, Kentucky?



divide the period into three segments of about 10 minutes each



Never known a period less than 45 minutes, most ar 55/60 and some run 2 hours on block-schedule.



Holy Holly - no wondeer de litteracey rait be sow low in de woods.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Jazzyjack
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 01:44 AM

Back in the fall I arrived at an open mic early and the host and I chatted about how rude it was to be talking during performance. After she did her thing, I got up AND SHE PROCEEDED TO TALK CONSTANTLY as I sang. Now I am the host of an open mic and although I was disgusted by her behavior, I find THAT I CAN'T SHUT UP COMPLETELY EITHER. People are trying to chat up the host all the time and discuss the music. Solution; Make sure it is not all acoustic. Have a loud enough sound system AND MONITOR so that the performers can hear themselves. They'll get used to it and the best will get the attention they deserve. Otherwise you'll find the experience of hosting to be a big pain.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 02:32 AM

Bobert, it strikes me that you have scant need of the advice of the likes of us! Your attitude as far as I can see would be hard to better. Audiences are fickle. If a venue is not a regular "music spot", then it will always take an m/c with a talent for being everybody's friend---plus a fair measure of the qualities suggested by Friend Gargoyle, above----


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Deni-C
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 02:32 AM

I think I would just put little stand-up cards on the tables asking (no RESPECTFULLY requesting )the patrons to keep talking to a minumum while the artists are on. That way you don't have to keep nagging. Allow the breaks between artists to be long enough so the poor beggars can chat occasionally as the social thing is what they're there for.

I agree with the guy who said take command, entertain them and they'll shut up. On the other hand sometimes audiences ARE just discussing and appreciate the music.


BUT give the audience too much stick and they'll think it's all a crashing bore and stay away in future. PA is also the best idea. Not too loud.....

good luck with the venture.

Deni


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 08:22 AM

Bobert, I wasn't clear on that 30 minute "period." A typical math classroom (grades 6-12) for mainstream students has 30 minutes of teacher "on stage" activities, then uses the remaining time for doing homework assignments during classtime. This teacher-controlled time is analogous to performimg. It can be lecture to explain how to work a math problem...DON'T TALK MORE THAN 10 MINUTES; group question-and- answer dialog; challenge questions; boardwork; games for younger students; previous homework problems done on the board by students.

Think of your typical church service. The sermon is only about 20 minutes, but seems like forever if the speaker is not particularly gifted in public speaking.

Over the long run of a "performance," it really helps to vary the activity...with no one narrative longer than 10 minutes...be that a ballad, a type of music, or just any controlled activity. Hopefully, the various performers have arranged their sets to hold the audience's attention, but don't count on it. If you are the emcee, your main jobs will be to get the audience back and to facilitate smooth transitions.

PS: I like the idea of the quilt. Seems like that would set a "homey" atmosphere. As a side...Montessori classrooms emphasize the visual surroundings...they reduce the visual stimuli in order to promote a calm atmosphere.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 09:24 AM

I'm not so sure that "If the performer is worthy the audience will be also". If there is a lot of talking going on even a worthy performer won't be heard properly and even if there is one loud table it will detract from the performance and make it difficult for those who want to listen to concentrate.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: kendall
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 09:50 AM

If someone puts the rowdies in their place, the ones who came to listen will appreciate it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: JennyO
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 10:06 AM

My folk club is set up like a coffee shop. It is a unique situation, actually. During the week, in the daytime, it actually functions as one, as well as being a plant nursery, It is in the grounds of a former psychiatric hospital, in a beautiful old stone building with marvellous acoustics.

Because the audience know what they are there for, and have to pay to get in, we have no trouble with people talking at the wrong time, but we make sure that there are breaks where people have an opportunity to talk and get a coffee. We realised pretty early on that the singers could not compete very well with the coffee machine (with the notable exception of the Wheeze'n'Suck Band, who are known for their ability to drown out even the coffee machine) so it is turned off during the performances.

I think we have the best of both worlds! And we'll be doing it all again tomorrow night.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 12:58 PM

Well, I've had a lot of experience singing in coffeehouses. Not so much in the boozers.

In Seattle, the association between coffeehouses and folk music was established within the first few weeks after the first coffeehouse in Seattle opened in 1958. Most people went to a coffeehouse both to enjoy the coffees, teas, and pastries and to hear the singer or singers, so there was rarely a problem. Occasionally you would get a couple of people or sometimes a small group who were a bit loud and rowdy, once or twice actually heckling the singer, but they were usually dealt with by the management. For example, Stan James (a good singer himself), who ran The Corroboree, spent most of his time in the kitchen, but he kept an ear on what was going on out front. He would come out of the kitchen, assess the situation, and either politely point out to them that people came there to listen to the singer, and they were causing a disruption. A few times he tore up their check and told them to get the hell out and not ever come back. I've actually seen the audience break into applause when this happened, so Stan didn't have to repeat himself. This was pretty much the way things were handled in most of the coffeehouses around here.

Occasionally I had to deal with the matter myself. On one occasion, I was asked to sing at a new coffeehouse in Port Angeles, out on the Olympic peninsula. The coffeehouse had only been open for a few weeks, and I was the first singer they engaged. They also hired a young girl named Marilla Waesche. Marilla was very much a beginner to coffeehouse singing, but she knew some unusual songs, she had charm, and she had a lovely singing voice. I was introduced and I began to sing. The audience in general was pretty unreceptive. Some people wanted to listen and tried to shush the others, but the louder I sang, the louder they talked. No intervention from the management (who, incidentally, was very young and didn't really know what he was doing), so I finished my set and rose to introduce Marilla.

By then, I was pretty angry. I can put on a fairly loud and commanding voice when so inclined. I thanked those who were listening, but suggested that the others were apparently not familiar with civilized ways. Suddenly they were listening, and some of them were not too pleased with me. I just flat lectured them like a bunch of rowdy high school students (which some of them were). "Apparently some of you don't know how to behave in a place that offers entertainment. It's customary to listen to the entertainer. If you're are not interested or don't like the entertainer, you can leave—or you can shut up so you're not spoiling it for those who do. That's how it's done in the big city, folks! Now! Marilla Waesche is fairly new to singing in coffeehouses and, understandably, she's a bit nervous. But if you show her a little courtesy, you'll make this a pleasant experience for her, and you'll see that it's a pleasant experience for you, too. So let's give Marilla a warm welcome!" Suddenly, big applause!! From that point on, it was a good, attentive audience. The following night, some of those I had read out came back, and they were educating the newcomers. Sometime you just have to let people how they're supposed to behave.

And sometimes its just one person who is a chronic disruption. A guy named Alex used to frequent a coffeehouse where I sang regularly. He fancied himself an actor, and although he hadn't actually done much acting, he was full of advice for people such as myself who entertained. While someone was singing, he often ran his mouth while others were trying to listen. When spoken to about this, he asserted that it was the entertainer's responsibility to capture his attention, and if they didn't, well, tough Nabiscos. He reserved the right to behave as he wished. One evening, he was holding forth at a table when I began my set. I figured he'd quiet down once I started singing, but he didn't. He just raised his voice to talk over me and the PA system, despite the fact that he was embarrassing the people at the table with him, and people at other tables were giving him dirty looks. Stan was sufficiently occupied in the kitchen that he wasn't aware that Alex was doing it again. I figured it was time to deal with Alex once and for all. When I finished my first song of the set, I leaned very close into the microphone.

Suddenly, the Voice of God boomed and echoed through the place.
"ALEX. . . ." it said.
Alex looked up, surprised.
"ALEX, SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!"
The place burst into applause. Alex hesitated for a few seconds, then got up and walked out. That's the last I ever saw of him.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 08:37 PM

LOL, Don. But, yeah, I might have to become a heavy. Buty I have this quirky sense of humor that makes even my heaviest only *lite heavy*.

One nice thing about where we are doing this is that there are three different major rooms to the joint and if folks wanta talk they can find another place with out leaving the joint. Another good thing is that we are doing a blue grass jam four dooors up at another resturant and I'll be running between the two, while talking with folks in one of the other rooms about future performances.

I'm taking my guitar but probably will not play until after the organized program. Plus, I'm going to play at the next one when the theme will be blues.

Thanks everyone. This is all good stuff.

Bobert


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Coffee House: How to Quiet Audience?
From: Cluin
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 09:07 PM

Turn up the volume on the system.

And throw a few swears into your songs/act. They'll listen.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 January 5:34 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.