Got a nice fire going in the stove, Nick from The Kettle Black is sprawled out on the floor in the lovely warmth, Vickers is sitting in the rocking chair which means I must be sitting at the kitchen table in front of the iBook.
We’re leaving tomorrow to go on tour. A/V and The Kettle Black. Two men, two bands, one van. Bringing the rock to the rock:
11.08 Charlottetown @ Hunter’s
11.09 Corner Brook, NL @ D’Attic
11.10 St. John’s @ The Spur w/Cherie Pyne, Vampires Of Love
11.11 St. John’s @ secret all-ages house show
11.11 St. John’s @ Distortion w/A Select Few
11.12 St. John’s @ Roxxy’s w/Gay Marriage, Origin Of The Sound Band
11.13 drive across newfoundland
11.14 Sydney, NS @ The Maple Leaf
11.15 Halifax @ Rejections (Kettle’s playing. I’m not.)
11.17 umm tba
11.18 Fredericton, NB @ Underground Cafe all-ages
We played Fredericton on Saturday at The Capital. It turned out to be a great show. Team Rocket opened. They’re a duo, with a drum machine and this guy playing a computer keyboard through a broken laptop and a girl jumping around and wailing away into a microphone. They reminded me of Suicide meets the second coming of Crass. They covered “Bata Motel.”
I played a good set replete with all the usual technical chaos and dancefloor anarchy. The sound system at the Capital was sounding good and loud.
Part way through one of my songs the top-mids of the PA starting cutting out, leaving only the subwoofer to burble along by itself. My reaction was a mixture of fear that I had taken out the PA speakers, mixed with awe at how awesome it sounded with just the sub in the mix.
Anyway, James went and did something fiddly with the gear and got everything back up in no time. Not sure what happened although I wish there was a way I could do it on purpose.
During my last song I was dancing and flailing all around and manage to kick the power bar unplugged, causing a sudden, awkward, anticlimactic and hilarious silence. There wasn’t much I could do to salvage the moment but play another song and try to pass it off as an encore.
Encores. The phenomenon of the encore is a strange convention at the best of times. “I’m all done performing for the evening–thank you good night–nope fooled you! I’m going to play some more!”
The self-nominated encore is the worst. I used to feel so embarrassed doing live sound whenever a band would play their supposed “last song” and afterwards stand around the stage as if waiting for a glorious riot to break out among the audience members.
When this didn’t happen someone would invariably lean into the mic and say “Umm would you like to hear one more?”
And somewhere in the room a boyfriend or girlfriend would say, “Wooo.”
I think bands should either a) not do encores, or b) do an encore only if the entire room has broken into spontaneous cheering, applause, stamping of feet and chanting of your band’s name for a period of not less than three full minutes. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like a bunch of chumps.
I’ve played encores before. It’s flattering but it’s not something I go in expecting to do. Normally there’s a flow to the evening, I can pretty much sense when the crowd has had enough and when I’ve had enough and I don’t want to go beyond that point.
A showbiz commandment that many bands seem to have forgotten: always leave ’em wanting more.
I’m writing about encores because of something that’s been happening at all my shows lately.
I’ve played my final song. It’s all over, people are satisfied, it was a good show, a good night all around. I’m off standing by the merch table, or starting to pack up my gear, or setting myself up with a refreshing and hard-earned beverage.
And someone comes up to me and says “Hey! Are you gonna play one more? You mean that’s it? Why don’t you just play one more song? Why don’t you play some more? Can I get up and jam with you? Seriously though. Can I get up on the mic and do some freestyles? Seriously you got plenty of time. Just play one more song. We just got here ten minutes ago, why are you stopping already. Come on, we wanna hear one more. There’s lots of time. One more song man.”
Meanwhile, my synth is unplugged and leaning up against the wall, the lights have come on, people are starting to leave, and a little janitor named Sylvester P. Smythe is starting to push his little broom across the dancefloor.
I used to think this would be a clever time to try and sell a cd or two. You know… if you like the music so much, why not take it home with you, that sort of thing… but the “one more song” people are never, ever the ones who buy your cd.
“Yeah OK, I’ll buy a cd… if you get up and play… two more songs. What’s your band called? What is it? Sorry, didn’t catch that? Sorry, didn’t catch that, what was it? Well I think you should just do another song. Just get up right now and play one more, come on.”
Yeah. I’ve been sober all night and now I’ve finally got a nice gin and pineapple in my hand and I’m standing here obviously talking to two beautiful women who have been dancing to my music and making Bambi eyes at me all night, and I should ditch this beautiful moment just to engage in the anti-climax of the century, all to please your slobbering drunken ass.
I don’t know where these people come from. But they seem to appear at every single show I play.
The fact that they only heard the last ten minutes of my set can only mean they arrived late, and thus they probably got away without paying any cover, so they’re not exactly the ones with their signatures on my paycheque, n’ahm sayin’.
The rule should be, if you don’t like a band enough to show up in time to hear all their songs, then leave said band alone when they have finished working very hard and are trying to relax.
It can be lonely being in a touring band. You don’t always get to talk to many people because you’re performing all night. And as soon as you’re finished the lights have all come on, and before you’ve even had a chance to wind up your patch cables the bar has completely emptied out.
Whenever possible I try to end my set with twenty minutes or so to spare before closing time. Finishing a show is like getting off work in a way, I like nothing better afterwards than to relax and unwind a bit with some good company.
I’d rather not spend all this time turning down the lost cause of an encore. I try to be gracious. I’m not going to be a dick to someone who is showing some appreciation of my music, no matter how drunk or obnoxious they are. So I’m putting out the call to all the true A/V fans. If you do happen to see someone pestering me beyond reason after a show about this “one more song” business, there is a way you can come to my rescue.
I want you to help me re-invent the whole concept of the “encore.”
From now on it’s all about “NO MORE SONGS.”
I want the new chant after an A/V show to be “NO MORE SONGS.” I want you all to let the encore-pests know that Philip has worked very hard to deliver a solid evening of entertainment, and now Philip deserves a chance to relax and to mingle and to reap some of the considerable social benefits that go with being a new-wave rocker, and we know that Philip lives all alone out in the woods and doesn’t get out much these days, and we all want Philip to have a good time because then we might just wind up having something fun to read about on the Internet.
So put your hands together and chant with me: “NO MORE SONGS! NO MORE SONGS! NO MORE SONGS!”
I will take this as a very touching and very personal compliment, far more effective than a traditional encore, and I promise to respond with enthusiasm, by hanging out at the bar and not playing any more songs.
I swear to god, if this whole thing catches on, someday I will put out a cd and call it “No More Songs.”