Call me old-fashioned, but when my band is asked to play a club, I stay to watch the other bands. Every set. Even if I'm opening for an experimental theremin player who sings bad opera in a radiation suit. (This has happened.)
When I see the other bands walk out the door when I'm taking the stage, and I know that they aren't touring or underage--important exceptions to the rule--it's quite obvious that they don't give a shit about plain old decency. To me, that's pure ego. And on both coasts, I've seen it happen more times than I care to admit.
Yes, I can understand the temptation to leave, especially when it's far past midnight, you're piss drunk, and you have to crawl back to work in a matter of hours. But there are days when the musician's life isn't about what you want to do. It's about what you've chosen to do. So have some humility about it.
Most bands spend weeks writing, rehearsing, and performing their songs in front of small audiences, working to find their true fans. You know the fans I'm talking about. They buy every album. They attend every show. They sign up for your mailing list. They cling to your lyrics like they're gospel.
Your band deserves those fans. If the room is empty, you deserve them even more.
So when the tables are turned, your fellow bands have earned your ass in a chair. It's not so hard, really. Sit and listen. If you don't appreciate their music, perhaps your roommate will. And if that totally hyped two-theremins-and-a-tuba band from SoCal really sucks, consider it a learning experience. The extra hour or two won't kill you, and you'll earn a lot more than just money.--David Sherwin, One Time Through
One Time Through play an acoustic show on Fri July 19 at Capitol Hill Internet Cafe with Mary Paynter and Travis Hartnett.