blues and families
Wed Jun 26 13:19:38 EDT 1996
<Children at live blues venues>
This is one feature of playing restaurants that I _really_ enjoy. Sure,
restaurants aren't as "cool" as clubs, at least as far as some "purists" are
concerned (please allow me a little editorial latitude on this one, folks
:-), because we have to 1. play at a vastly reduced volume, 2. have to play
a widely varied repertoire, and 3. restaurants are much more "family"
oriented than "over-21" bars. And the clientele usually circulates through
a lot more than bars, where you might have pretty much the same crowd at
closing time as first-set.
But kids are arguably one of the best audiences you can have - especially if
you toss in an occasional tune they're familiar with. I have blues flavored
instrumental arrangements of "Pink Panther" and "Sesame Street", which are
guaranteed "hits" with the youngsters.
One thing they LOVE to do is put money in your tip jar, so if you play these
places, make sure you put one out. The best one I've used is a plastic beer
pitcher with TIPS in stick-on letters. This is more to keep the busboys
away from my pitcher (I've had to reclaim it from the galley more than once)
than as a "hint".
IMHO those of us who play blues can help promote it to new audiences by
working gigs other than the classic smoke filled bar. While we may have to
make adjustments (as noted above re volume and repertoire), it's still an
excellent way to introduce people to the blues.
-- IronMan Mike Curtis
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