Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Bad Timing at the Baroc

May 9, 2012

Yesterday I spoke about the importance of a great audience, and how it affects the whole performance and ambience, and how I found that audience on Monday at the Coolin. Today I will write a footnote to that post by saying that the audience and the timing of when a performer takes to the stage can also have its part to play. I think the audience at the Baroc open mic last night was no doubt superb. But I had the bad fortune to arrive very late for the open mic and just get squeezed in at the end of the list, and it was really, really bad timing.

I mean, it was only midnight when I took to the stage, but the audience had been through several nice acts, some good clapping and foot stomping and singalong songs. And then it was announced that we had to unfortunately cut down the volume as it was too late for the neighbors, who do not want to be disturbed.

So I took to the stage when the volume was turned down and I decided to do a quiet, fingerpicking version of “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Big problem. I could not hear the guitar or my voice in the PA, and people immediately started clearing out to smoke – after a great act before me – or to stand around the bar and chit chat. There was no way I would reach any of them with that song, and I did not have the right or the desire to jump into a loud and raucous “What’s Up!,” which I have done far too many times.

Nor did I want to compete for people’s attention over the sound of the PA by shouting. So I did something uncharacteristic for me, I pulled off to the side, sat on a chair away from the mic and just sang the song for myself – which is exactly what I thought I was doing behind the mic anyway. I finished the song, then said thanks and left the Baroc. There were a couple of kind spectators who said they liked my song. But I could not have asked for a colder shower response to my moment on the stage as compared to the night before at Coolin, or even at Le Baroc last week. So important is timing – the audience had had enough by the time I got up there. So had I.

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