If you were your audience would you keep coming back?

9 Aug

Much to my dismay the highlight of my weekend turned out not to be Broken Social Scene.

That night at the Kings Arms the usual tensions had everyone on edge. Everyone pushing for prime position. Everyone shoving for the bar, and then for the toilet. Everyone hoping that tonight would somehow be different, more special, than any other night at this place. I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t.

On the following evening I found myself at a charming little warehouse on Cook Street, which had been transformed into a makeshift venue.

This was the last stop on a national tour for Die! Die! Die! – one of the country’s most prominent and talented indie acts. With a stunning new album behind them, the party had attracted both old fans and new. The audience mingled, sipped from hip flasks and buzzed with anticipation as the band took the stage.

Bodies surged and speakers rattled on their stands. It was the perfect environment to witness such a chaotic set of songs.

For those of us who perform live music, it’s easy to fall back on the comfort and security of an established venue. But for your audience, that comfort can quickly become monotony. Why should anyone be excited to see you play when you never surprise them? Is the comfort you feel playing in the same old space actually sucking the energy from your performance?

I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone. So if you’re a musician, or you know someone who is, this is a challenge to consider the experience you’re creating for your audience.

Would you be delighted to see you play? Do you interpret your venue in a remarkable way?

If you were in their shoes, would you keep coming back?


2 Responses to “If you were your audience would you keep coming back?”

  1. Aimee August 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    you nailed it again, Jonny.


  1. CFS Loves 69 | Code For Something - September 2, 2010

    […] The surprise and delight factor. My friend Jonny wrote this nice little piece on venues: If you were your audience would you keep coming back? Super relevant to bars methinks! PS. I went to the Die!Die!Die! warehouse party described and it was brilliant. Check out their song HowYe: […]

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