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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Punk Show Reruns, or Why your band should play less and practice more- by Brian Weisserman


or: Why your band should play less and practice more
By- Brian Weisserman

I'll start this off quite simply: there's too many fucking shows going on in this city.  Now let me elaborate on this:  Looking at the calendar on Detroitpunk.org, on August 6th, I see listed seven different shows listed.
On August 11th (A THURSDAY, for fuck's sake), there are five in the Metro Detroit area. The 12th, there are four (if you count Ann Arbor). The 13th, six [seven if you count Dirtfest (though, why you would is beyond me)]. The 26th and the 27th of August have seven combined. And this isn't even counting Grand Rapids, Lansing, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Saginaw, Toledo, or the many other outlying cities in this state.
How this is a problem: a good number of these shows feature ALL LOCAL BANDS. Not only all local bands, but all local bands that play EVERY FUCKING WEEK. Sometimes TWICE a week.  In the case of the shows that DO have an out-of-town band playing, half of them were probably set up AFTER one of the great many events featuring only local bands had already been set up, confirmed, and had flyers distributed (or advertised on Facebook; very few of you seem dedicated enough to actually distribute paper flyers anymore.)
Now, what makes more sense, given the two options:
A)    Set up another show, most likely with MORE bands that everyone saw last week, creating more competition for the other seven fucking shows going on the same day, and guaranteeing another out-of-town band with mediocre attendance at best,
B)    try to put that out-of-town band on an event that's already happening, guaranteeing that not only that particular show will have less competition, but that those already planning on attending will actually have the chance to see someone that haven't already seen a week prior?
It seems like the obvious choice is option B. Unfortunately, most of you seem to be much more content with option A. It's easier. Even more unfortunately, a great many bands out there seem so devoted to playing as often as possible that they DO, feeling it necessary to play with all local bands every week, and, even worse, feeling it necessary to put four or five
or six bands on a show; to me, that doesn't say, "Hey, even MORE reasons to go to this!"; it says, "Oh, shit, I'm going to be stuck here by obligation even LONGER."

Yes, that's right; I'm sick of seeing your band. It becomes horribly boring to see you play for the 30th time this year, especially when you have no new material. You can only watch a rerun of the same South Park episode so many times; after a while, you just turn the TV off within 5 seconds of recognizing which episode it is. The same goes with live music; after a
while, I'd honestly rather just stay at home, drink a few tall cans, and lay on the couch listening to records. I know I'm not the only one with this sentiment, either.
I'm all about supporting local music, but I can only support it to a certain point; my pocket can't afford going to a show every night, my spare time isn't great enough to go to a show every night, and I'm sick and tired of saying "Oh, I was at this OTHER show I ALSO felt
obligated to go to", or "I honestly couldn't handle another fucking show this month, or I was going to end up blowing my fucking brains out after I kicked your drumset to bits and smashed your guitar I'm so sick of drunkenly seeing every other weekend."
Yes, that's right: after a while, YOU STOP BEING RELEVANT. People DO get sick and tired of seeing you every weekend, and they stop coming to your shows. There are plently of bands, most of whom I'm very fond of, that will play five or ten or fifteen shows in a row and I won't go to a single one of them.

Why? Because I know damn well that I can probably see them again in two days if I really feel like it. Your band's show attendance HAS gone down, and this is why.

Not only does that make you, as a band, feel like no one wants to see you anymore (which is the case, especially when you're so busy playing shows that you're too busy to practice), but it makes it harder for people to find new bands. The best way for people to find new bands is seeing them live, and it's awfully goddamn hard for people to find out that they like this
particular artist when they're too apathetic to actually go see whomever they're opening up for.
It's even more difficult when the same bands play with each other for every show; look through your flyer collection, or through the Detroit Punk calender, and you'll notice pretty quickly that a lot of them look exactly the same. You're all just playing with the same bands, over and over and over again. That, once again, guarantees that your show will be not only
incredibly forgettable and unmentionable, but that no new talent will get the opportunity to showcase themselves. It also guarantees that other established bands don't mix their dedicated (or event slightly interested) fan base, which in turn guarantees that less people will be discovering other established bands that they previously didn't think they would like.
This state has such incredible musical talent, and it depresses me to see it going to waste being overplayed. There is an extensive list of artists I would love to see perform with each other, if just for the sake of it not being the seventh rerun of a particular show since April, but I have very high doubts that most of them will not do so anytime soon.
Bands, promoters, booking agents: please, get out there and seek out those local bands you've seen on flyers, but haven't seen/booked/performed with. DO ask that opening band you've never heard of until they blew you away onstage if they want to play again in a month and a half; with practice and time, there's a good chance people will probably end up liking them more than you (sorry, but that will probably end up being the case). Don't keep playing with or booking the same bands over and over again because it's comfortable and easy; that's when it stops being fun and starts being routine. People come see you to be entertained; if they wanted a rerun, they'd stay at home and stare at the TV all night. You're entertainers, do your job. And please, stop doing it so often.

1 comment:

  1. Fuck yes Brian. So true, too many mediocre shows with the same bands. Nicholas Cage can't say no to a role, and do you want to be a punk rock Nick Cage?