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Monday, January 21, 2008

Question to Talkers

posted by on January 21 at 12:58 PM


Jesse Sykes and Phil Wandscher played an acoustic set to a sold out Tractor Tavern this past Friday. They stitched up their watery nocturnes and turned January into a summer night. Phil toasted old Ballard and Jesse dug into the people talking at the bar. “It’s probably the people who live in the condos,” she said. The hum of chatter did seem loud, especially in the context of the acoustic performance.

Jesse and Philís set and sounds were satiated and resonant. With no bass and drums, Jesse was able to hang her snug vocals right in your ear like a ghost you know is there, but arenít afraid of. Phil coated and drew sounds from his DeArmond Starfire Special guitar. The man paints the setting sky of the planes and thatís all there is to it. Jon Hyde on pedal steel joined in for a few. Jon was winging it, but didnít sound like he was winging it. Wing Commander, more like it.

Question to talkers: why go to a club, pay the cover, and then talk during the entire set? Why not go to a club where thereís no live band? Youíll be saving money by not having to pay a cover. I think itís valid in the case of this Sykes set because it was acoustic. When the music is way loud and the crowd-talk doesnít cut in, thatís ok, itís not disrupting anything. But when you see that itís an acoustic set, and the singer is asking you to be a bit quieter, so she can hear her guitar, is it really not possible for you to shut your fucking mouth for a few songs worth of music?

Please forgive the darkness of the footage. Damn it was dark in there:

RSS icon Comments


Trent, as an acoustic performer, I am constantly trying to find new and innovative ways of telling loud people who just payed to see me to shut the fuck up. It is quite the balancing act - being gracious to your supporters vs. creating the proper environment for the best performance to happen. How do you reconcile both of those important needs? At what point does a paying audience member become a loud, better-to-remove distraction? Help me Dr. Phil/Trent!

Posted by Wolf Blitzer | January 21, 2008 1:51 PM

Is it when they hoot and hollar? Is it when they spill their beer on my shit? Or do I have to wait for an fight to break out or for them to start a fire? Can I have anybody I want removed...or better yet, rubbed out?

Posted by Wolf Blitzer | January 21, 2008 1:54 PM

Wolf, you pose a good question.

If you ask people to please be quiet, it may do the opposite. People in consumption mode are prone to hijinx and messing with your request could be something fun to do - meaning they could get even louder.

And I don't think you want to remove them because it makes you look mean AND it lessens your crowd.

I think the answer is Twinkies. The people that are talking too loud get a Twinkie. Your Twinkie tech will walk over to them and hand them a Twinkie. Their mouth will be too busy with the Twinkie to talk. And they will be so gracious for the sponge cake treat that they will pay attention to your set.

Posted by trent moorman | January 21, 2008 2:35 PM

This seems to be a constant issue at Joel R. L. Phelps performances. I have on several occasions seen ye Olde Tim Cook have to be restrained from taking some drunk hipster piece of shit apart at the seams.

Seriously guys. Just go be cool somewhere else. people who actually like music and came to listen to it are being disrupted by your talk about purses or how great The Lashes are.

Posted by chris jury | January 21, 2008 2:50 PM

Lets leave the Lashes out of this.

I'm talking about golden sponge cake with creamy filling, that has a shelf life of what, 100 years? When put in mouth, it is impossible to speak.

They will have one Twinkie, then they will have another, and another. Their speech will be muffled and turn into a soft mumbling murmur. Then while an unexpected period of silence comes over them, they will be transfixed on the beauty of the music before them. And then have another Twinkie.

Posted by trent moorman | January 21, 2008 3:24 PM

twinkie....who's gonna buy that, how 'bout just some gaff tape there is a roll on the stage, that makes it very handy.
or yell-

Posted by bob | January 21, 2008 4:57 PM

There are always people at every show that I would be very happy to see suffer death by twinkie overdose.

Posted by rk | January 21, 2008 5:09 PM

This seems to be a problem at the Tractor more than anywhere else. I saw Eddie Spaghetti there earlier this month and I couldn't beleive all the talking. If you have to talk, go a few doors down to King's.

Posted by Seatattle | January 21, 2008 5:58 PM

"If you have to talk, go a few doors down to King's."

Kings Hardware smells like a grease fryer and is full of yuppies, you hang out there and you smell like french fries. People talk during shows all the time, it's just more noticeable during acoustic/mellow shows. I think you may have to face the reality that people go to bars for other reasons than the music (to drink, hang out with friends, pick up a girl, etc.) or it's possible they don't deeply love the band as much as you do. It's more a problem with the venue than people, the best venues have space where you can talk comfortably without having to compete with a band you're not interested in. Those that don't will always have people talking during shows... it's always been that way, it's only a surprising new phenomena to people that don't go out much.

Posted by dan10things | January 21, 2008 8:06 PM

Dan10things makes good points.

One thing though, I don't think anyone said talking during shows was a new phenomena.

Posted by trent moorman | January 21, 2008 9:01 PM

Umm, although the barroom chatter was quite loud, the couple making out for a good thirty minutes in the front row were a lot more offensive. All I have to say is that if you are going to dry hump and slobber all over your partner at a concert,please do so in the back corner, and not the front row - disturbing the entire experience for everyone around you. I am not a square or a prude by any means, but if you are copping a feel, please do not block my view of Jesse Sykes while you are groping.

Posted by Emily | January 21, 2008 9:26 PM

Phenomena is plural; phenomenon is singular.

Posted by ye olde editoreador | January 21, 2008 10:18 PM

And now for a word about Jesse. She's survived a lot of talkers, smokers, smoochers and fuckers. She'll survive more. You do her wrong to talk more about talkin than what a hot muscian she is. Play on. Without the chatters at the bar, the Tractor could go the way of way too many other venues.

Posted by Tante | January 22, 2008 1:31 PM

I want to send the Jesse article to a bunch of folks. Can't you put a forward button on your blog or print it for god's sake.

Posted by Tante | January 22, 2008 1:33 PM

When I moved here from NYC I noticed that Seattle venues seemed to have a lot more yabberheads. Love it here so much more but what's with all the yabber? Must be all the literate folks here that have such interestin things to yabber about.

The Tractor is particularly a bad place for this. I've seen several largely acoustic shows there and always, always there are useless people yabbering. Almost don't go sometimes because of the violent urges. Bouncers don't let you go even once you explained why you shoved a beer bottle down the yabberer's throat.

Ahhh that was good. Almost like therapy.

Posted by Bricklayer | January 22, 2008 3:32 PM

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