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we have a date with the underground, chapter 33
by Michele Christopher
Ok. This will be an easy one that came from a conversation I had awhile back. Something that has always divided people when it comes to playing shows. Keep in mind, I really don't have an opinion on either of these, but some people have to fight tooth and nail to get it their way. I have a slight preference, but that slightness changes every night. So see, I don't even know which one is better.
What is it?
Underage clubs vs, overage clubs.
Remember before we start this, I really have no opinion. Only my experiences and really, if you nail me down, I am going to tell you I don't, never have, and never will give a fuck. I am pretty decisive sometimes.
The thing with underage clubs is that if you hit the right night and the right town, you can pack a lot of rooms with almost no promotion. Play a show on a Wednesday night in Nothingville USA you are probably going to get the place filled with minimal promotion. Almost nothing but a few hand bills and some quality time in whatever downtown area they have and you are pretty much golden. Just find a town with nothing for the kids to do but sit around and talk about how much life sucks at a local coffee shop with 150 friends and you got a show. So, sometimes it works. Other times it just sucks. I guess you really have to look at it from different angles. Something I don't like to do. Life gets too complicated when you have to look into things like "tommorow". Kids will bring in more money, but what if you don't have the door? What do you do? Wait till next time you come around and hope they have told their friends and they come back? I mean typically, that is what you want, but unless you are on tour for 12 months a year, it probably won't happen. I am a pessimist like that. Plus, it's harder to find a place to crash at those shows. Not many 16 year olds are going to take a bunch of stinky, drunken punk rockers back to their house to drink beer all night and eat their food. But, as I said, sometimes it works. I mean it's not about the booze. I could really give a fuck less if they have an open bar or not. If I wanted to be wasted I would be. Hell, I don't think I've ever been to Disneyland sober in my life. And being wasted there is like trying to get into Fort Knox. Well, maybe not that hard. After all they do let you come back in and out and the Land of the Mouse. Besides, I only have to be in the club for a few hours. There has got to be a bar somewhere around your town. That's where I'll be till around 10 o'clock. Send someone to fetch me when we are up cause until then, I'll be here trying to peel my face off of the table. Thank god for ins and outs or a lot of bands would have quit along time ago.
So as you can see, underage shows really don't effect the greater goal of being so wasted that I can talk to jesus about the next weeks Lotto numbers. Cause hey, if the big J-man don't know the next winning numbers, then who does? Might as well sell my soul to jesus for the next Big 7 cause I already sold my liver to the devil.
One of the things I do like about underage shows is the energy of all the kids. I am no fool. I'm old. Well, not that old but not 23 anymore. So that climbing on stage shit was left back in the 90's. Cause my back hurts. Plus this nice smoking addiction has got me down to oxygen tanks when I stare too hard at the TV so climbing on a stage is kinda out of it for me. This is where they come in. They drive the show insane if they want too. Plus, they can get more kids in the door. More kids equals more chaos, which in reality is what I am here for anyways. Well, that and the greater goal.
So once again, I am in the middle of the great debate.
But, let's talk about the other side. Bar shows. Bar shows can be good or bad. I have found that if you are a known band, it works. And really, you only have to be known to a few people and 21 over shows turn out ok. Small towns are kinda sad. I mean, if it is a regular hang out bar with music seven nights a week, you have your built in audience. Those shows work. I guess. The regulars don't buy shit from you as far as merch cause they see four bands every night. So unless you shoot flames out of your ass or blow one of your fingers off, they aren't going to buy anything. They have seen everything before you and after you and lighting yourself on fire just ends up warming their beer. Never make an alcoholic drink warm Pabst unless you plan on blowing some body part off to entertain him. You also lose the kids who do have that energy thing going for them. Most people who sit around at bars watching shows every night are the same way I used to be.
"Say..that band is ok. Wanna watch them?"
"Nah. Let's get another beer."
I mean it sucks, but it is the way it goes. Maybe they might bob their head every once in awhile, but for the most part the only movement you can see is when they are reaching for their last dollar to get in on the dollar Hamm's Dark pints. Which for the record, are pretty damn good if you are broke. Also, at the end of a set, it is kinda cool to hang out and drink while the other bands play instead of running off to the closest bar til you have to leave town. Forced socialization, I guess. Networking was never my game.
As I said, I really don't care. At 21 shows you get drink tickets, which is kinda cool. I have no idea who thought up only serving well vodka for tickets was really going to stop us from drinking it. Chances are whatever they had behind the bar, the shit we had in the van was ten times worse. So bring it on and make it a double. The only kind of vodka we all swore off was Safeway brand vodka. Shitting blood isn't the way you want to wake up in the morning. There is just something wrong about that. But that is another story for another day.
So in the end, I really still haven't figure out which one I like better. I mean the kids have the energy, so I am going to have to lean towards them.Of all the shows that went to out of control, it was always underage. And those were always the coolest. I had the most fun at those. And, unfortunately, since I am over 21 now, telling me about how I felt in the past about getting locked out of shows really doesn't do me any good. I can't remember what I had for breakfast a few hours ago much less how I felt 15 years ago. So no sympathy from me there.
So I don't know. I guess if I wasn't playing that night, I would go with overage shows.
But, you have to realize, I only went to get fucked up.
Cause someone has to win that Lotto jackpot.
Turtle still doesn't know which one he likes better and probably never will.
I guess I like all ages shows more, in principle if nothing else.
Although, I've never found myself at an overage show and wished there were more kids there either.
Posted by: Dan | December 11, 2006 11:51 AM
in principle, all ages shows are great.
i remeber back in the late 80's clubs started, in california at least, to have two different shows. one mantinee like at 4. and then the 21 and up one at like nine. I wasn't really playing back then, but i can imagine that wouldve sucked for the bands.
i don't think that trend lasted over a year
Posted by: turtle | December 11, 2006 11:54 AM