Jive Junction You're not wrong Walter, you're just an asshole. -The Dude

26May/130

Are you a hoarder?

We recently subbed for another band at a venue. The venue is just a restaurant; it is not kitted out (as the Brits say) for dancing. There is really no advertising for the weekly event, but the band we subbed for is popular enough that gradually more and more people were going. I heard estimates of 20-30 dancers in what I'd guess is a 1500 square foot space which is 80% occupied with tables and the bar.

Our biggest fan posted that we were playing there and immediately drew criticism for doing so. Although I didn't read the comments directly (the post has since been deleted) my wife reports that at least one person said the venue should not be advertised because it was already getting too crowded, and that people should not go (or words to that effect). I also seem to recall overtones of "keeping it to ourselves".

We played the gig, and only a few dancers showed up. I won't blame Internet posts directly for this, as I also heard someone else said "(regular band) will not be playing this week" which may have been misinterpreted as "nobody will be playing this week".

But it made me think. If you discover something cool and fun, do you keep it to yourself, or do you share it with the world? As a born cynic, I'm positive that the natural reaction is to keep special things to yourself. But there are a few wonderful people out there who share special things with others, and that is how most of us hear about something cool.

Clearly there is a balance to be struck. Natural wonders can be discovered and shared, and the resulting tourism can destroy them. You might think the same thing of a dance venue, but the crucial difference is that dancers make it work. I've danced in New York venues. LA dancers don't know what crowded means. And at a crowded venue, people are more likely to sit out a song and buy something. At what point is something "too successful"? That seems oxymoronic to me -- unless you have your own interests at heart, instead of the people who work at the venue.

(Mind you, keeping the venue's interests at heart also means "Don't get in the way of the servers".)

Obviously I'm biased; I want bands (particularly the one I'm in!) to be better appreciated, regardless of whether dancing can happen or not. So I would rather people tell others about a fun band/venue than hoard it to themselves, even if it diminishes their own fun. As Michael Steinman of Jazz Lives says (amazing blog, check it out), "May your happiness increase."

What do you think?

Posted by Julius

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