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I've learned this week about another unspoken dirty little secret among all small-time touring musicians: that to be a touring musician is to turn being judgemental into a business tool. You don't want to do it. You WANT to believe that people are different than they look, like different music than they look like they should like based on your preconceived notions of age, race, class, dress, geographic location or the simple choice of whether they opted to spend the night in a coffeehouse or a bar. But a smart business person winds up doing a quick mental demographic sweep of the room to determine the target audience and the most effective set and advertising strategy. The way the open mics tend to go is that you have to make a snap judgement about what these people probably like based on the only information you have about them, which is largely visual. Do we play a fast set or a slow one because bar patrons are less likely to be here for music than for their regular weeknight drinking hang-out and we need to show off and grab their attention? A more folky set because we're in a coffeehouse or a rock set because we're in a bar? Most of the people look like they are over 35, do we include "Locomotive Breath," "Little Wing" or "White Rabbit" to appeal to them? We're down the street from a college and these are mostly college kids, do we do the most indie stuff to appeal to them? The one heartening thing as I become so jaded, is that our judgements this week, and most of the time, are almost never completely right. Yay for the stereotype breakers


Dude, could they have MADE a freakier billboard?

 

Our Pittsburgh host, Sarah, and Da Band! Zop. Heather's just too damned cute for her own good. It's why kittens like her.

April 23rd, 2004.
Somewhere on I-76, racing through Ohio, waiting for something to change. Anything. We realized before that Ohio is boring. I was perfectly prepared for Nebraska to be the worst state ever to pass through. But Ohio... Ohio is bland stretches of nothing whihc gently fade into grey horizons, in a never-ending almost mist of rain..

 
 
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