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  1. #1

    Noisy audience in your part of the world? Do you just ignore them?

    I just got back from a club where I'd been told there was a jam session this evening, so I went along to check things out, to "test the water", before going home to grab my guitar, just a 5 min. walk from the club.

    Most of the audience, or rather, the people who were standing at the bar or just generally milling around the place, were talking/yelling so loudly that I had to stand about 3 metres from the TRUMPETER to hear his lines with any clarity - that's just ridiculous. He wasn't a bad player at all, as it happened.

    I withstood this assault on my ears for a couple of tunes, then looked around the room and saw there was no sign of an amelioration in the ongoing noise situation, so made for the door. Got better things to do, I suppose.

    This is a medium-sized city in the south east of Spain. What's it like in your corner of the universe and, if it's like this, do you just ignore them and carry on regardless? I personally couldn't, especially if I'm not getting paid

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C View Post
    I just got back from a club where I'd been told there was a jam session this evening, so I went along to check things out, to "test the water", before going home to grab my guitar, just a 5 min. walk from the club.

    Most of the audience, or rather, the people who were standing at the bar or just generally milling around the place, were talking/yelling so loudly that I had to stand about 3 metres from the TRUMPETER to hear his lines with any clarity - that's just ridiculous. He wasn't a bad player at all, as it happened.

    I withstood this assault on my ears for a couple of tunes, then looked around the room and saw there was no sign of an amelioration in the ongoing noise situation, so made for the door. Got better things to do, I suppose.

    This is a medium-sized city in the south east of Spain. What's it like in your corner of the universe and, if it's like this, do you just ignore them and carry on regardless? I personally couldn't, especially if I'm not getting paid
    I think that this is pretty common everywhere. Unless a club is a known music destination, people will carry with their conversations and accept the music as part of the backdrop. I host a jam session in Toronto and the situation you described is pretty typical. Some people are there to listen to the musicians but most are watching sports or carrying on with their conversations. The fact that people are in the bar and appreciating the music on some level keeps the jam going. A full bar is better than an empty bar for all concerned parties.

    On another note, most of my work comes from performing in restaurants or corporate events or weddings. In all of these situations, music is not the focus. We are a part of the overall experience. I don’t concern myself with whether or not people are hanging onto my every note. I accept my role in the event and appreciate the fact that I am able to perform for a living. I will occasionally organize a concert whereby it is expected that the audience listen attentively. However for the most part this is not an expectation on my part. Therefore I am not left wanting for a more attentive audience. I accept my role in these events and I do my best to fulfill it.


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  3. #3
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    Most people don't go to bars and clubs to listen to music. They go to drink, socialize, and have fun. If you expect everyone to sit quietly and pay attention only to the music, you're in the wrong place. I don't go to places that are that loud, though, because I don't like noise that much. There is a chain of restaurants here in the US called Chili's, which has tiled walls and floors, and amplifies noise to a high degree. They don't have music, but the place is so loud because of the acoustics that I don't go there. One visit was enough to convince me to eat elsewhere. The acoustics can make a big difference, and for most establishments there isn't much that can be done to change them. If it's too loud for me, I go elsewhere.

  4. #4
    One of my jazz bands is a trio that has been playing almost exclusively for cozy quiet little upscale wine tasting restaurants for the last three years. The drummer uses brushes only, so we play softly with a focus on sounding good... the crowds are older, attentive, enjoy jazz, raise applause, and often make requests.

    I might be in a bubble that could pop any day, but for now it is happening and feels just about perfect.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    One of my jazz bands is a trio that has been playing almost exclusively for cozy quiet little upscale wine tasting restaurants for the last three years. The drummer uses brushes only, so we play softly with a focus on sounding good... the crowds are older, attentive, enjoy jazz, raise applause, and often make requests.

    I might be in a bubble that could pop any day, but for now it is happening and feels just about perfect.
    Yes. Enjoy it when it’s happening for what it is.

    I love what I do and I appreciate those who are listening and I don’t worry about those that are not. I play for myself and my band mates.


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  6. #6
    I so want this shirt




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  7. #7
    Well, this place had apparently just opened and is advertised as a "live (jazz) music venue"; there are myriad bars here one can vocally compete with whatever canned music is spewing out of the sound system, if that's your thing. Conversing is one thing, attempts at drowning out a whole horn section is another! I can, by the way, totally sympathise with the working musician angle - people don't go to weddings to check out your bebop chops.

    OK, so that's Toronto. Where are you, pauln? "quiet little upscale wine tasting restaurant" sorta makes me think somewhere in New York State, don't know why Enjoy the bubble.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by neilspeers View Post
    I so want this shirt




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    haha, I once saw sax player Gary Bartz say exactly this to a noisy audience at Ronnie Scotts. He was playing with McCoy Tyner's band, it was like pearls before swine!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C View Post
    Well, this place had apparently just opened and is advertised as a "live (jazz) music venue"; there are myriad bars here one can vocally compete with whatever canned music is spewing out of the sound system, if that's your thing. Conversing is one thing, attempts at drowning out a whole horn section is another! I can, by the way, totally sympathise with the working musician angle - people don't go to weddings to check out your bebop chops.

    OK, so that's Toronto. Where are you, pauln? "quiet little upscale wine tasting restaurant" sorta makes me think somewhere in New York State, don't know why Enjoy the bubble.
    Houston
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  10. #10
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    How restaurants got so loud (Atlantic)

    And it's not just restaurants...

    How Restaurants Got So Loud - The Atlantic
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    Houston
    Close!

    With regard to noise in general, thanks to the recommendation of someone here who lives in a thinly-walled NY apartment (I think it was hep to the jive), I discovered white noise. So, instead of earplugs, which have never worked for me, I chill out, even nap, to the sound of rainforests and ocean waves!

  12. #12
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    Paul, what's the name of the place? I might try to get over there sometime. It will be a trek, but maybe worth it.

  13. #13
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    The Free Spirits album, Live at the Scene, February 22nd 1967, captures the atmosphere of the club at the height of its fame: noisy.



    I have a recording of Cream at the Marquee Club, made a few months later; again, lots of talking. I suppose some people do not pay attention. But they will tell their grandchildren they saw the band.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    Paul, what's the name of the place? I might try to get over there sometime. It will be a trek, but maybe worth it.
    Not just one place; most places we tend to get series (one of my two shows this weekend is the third of a nine show series, other one is with the classic rock band for a private function). If you do plan a trek, feel free to send me a notification... I'll let you know what's going on.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  15. #15
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    Even back in the day, Mingus was known to lecture the audience for making too much noise, telling them Isaac Stern didn't have to put up with that shit.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    I have a recording of Cream at the Marquee Club, made a few months later; again, lots of talking. I suppose some people do not pay attention. But they will tell their grandchildren they saw the band.
    Nurturing personal relations and hooking up with females is more important than bands in clubs. Sure if you go to a proper concert then yes, silence is expected ... but in a club?

    Shouldn't you as a musician be stoked over the fact that you lay the soundtrack to their lives? Helping them bond with their friends and and interact with other people .. instead of complaining that they don't appreciate you?

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by neilspeers View Post
    I so want this shirt




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    Saw Peter Ind ask some loud fool on a first date this at the Bass Clef...he was playing with Louis Stewart & spoiled the gig for me (the fool, not Peter Ind)

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by dot75 View Post
    Saw Peter Ind ask some loud fool on a first date this at the Bass Clef...he was playing with Louis Stewart & spoiled the gig for me (the fool, not Peter Ind)
    Well that’s a good excuse to show the clip of Peter Ind and Louis Stewart again!


  19. #19
    Respect for any non-Brit who can identify the guy who presents Stewart and Ind in that video!

  20. #20

    No Bars

    The last bar gig I played was in 1993. It reached a point where music was pointless.

    I played a Christmas party once with my trio where the conversations were louder than the band. rather than compete we turned way down. After a while the conversations got quieter. But the attendees were not there for the music anyway. If we had turned up we would be the ones that came off as jerks.

    So YES it is like that everywhere.

  21. #21
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    This type of thing happens to all playing musicans. So unless the group that is overly loud is disturbing the Magority of others Listening I let it slide. But the times that I need to do something I go to the manager and Bar tenders and explain how a group of patrons are makeing it unplesent for the Rest of his clientel. That usualy solves the problem

  22. #22
    It doesn't bother me if people aren't paying attention, as long I as I see feet tapping along.

    I would not enjoy playing if I couldn't hear myself or the band, or it was so loud that it starts sounding like a dull roar.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C View Post
    Respect for any non-Brit who can identify the guy who presents Stewart and Ind in that video!
    Spike Milligan

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Spike Milligan
    Bingo. Not at all well-known in the U.S. - guessing here as gumbo is a Creole stew popular in Louisiana ..

  25. #25
    Sounds like every great club in America.

    I look at it this way. They could be anywhere else, and they have chosen to be where you are playing. And in no small part because of you, they are having a good time.

    So you should too. Slide up closer to the horn, or get some in-ear monitors, jam, and have some fun!

  26. #26
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    Sometimes the noise level gets to be a competition between the band and the crowd. You turn up; they get louder. You turn up more; they get louder still. It's a vicious circle.

    Sometimes the least bad situation is to just turn down. Usually the audience will turn down too. They'll still be too loud and they still won't be listening but the overall noise level will be less annoying. Sometimes that's the best you can do.

  27. #27
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    How about this? I can only imagine this is what professional jazz musicians nowadays have to withstand...the "jazz brunch".

  28. #28
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