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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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The Importance of Rocking a Small Crowd
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This past Thursday I went to a show at Cousin Larry’s in Danbury, CT that featured three former Artists Of The Week; Braille (pictured above), Sketch Tha Cataclysm and Chase Davis. The crowd, even for a Thursday night, was sparse. I always feel for the performers on nights like these, especially Braille, who is in the middle of a nationwide tour. I sit and wonder what’s going through their minds as the hours pass and they realize this really is the entire crowd. Thankfully, Braille, Sketch and Chase were consummate professionals and rocked the stage as if the crowd was a thousand people deep (that's true passion for ya!). After thinking about it a bit I realized shows like these can actually make or break an artist. Let me explain.

I know what you’re thinking, how on earth can a show with only a few dozen fans in the crowd make or break anyone? Well, if performed the way these acts did on Thursday it can create lifelong fans, the kind of fans that will be first in line to buy new albums as soon as they come out, t-shirts, future concert tickets, etc. This is because not only will said artist have given his all on stage, which will have made everyone in attendance feel important, but most of the time the artist will also be able to then speak with the fans after the show, creating a strong bond that wouldn’t be there if the crowd was bigger. So while a larger audience may create a quicker monetary gain, the smaller one makes for an evening of a much more personal nature.

If an artist doesn’t realize the potentially positive aspects of a smaller crowd and uses the lack of an audience as an excuse to phone in his or her performance they can expect an equally phoned in reaction to said performance. Every concertgoer can tell when an artist doesn’t care while on stage and it’s a real turn off. Those fans in the crowd, no matter how small the crowd is, came out to see YOU and you need to treat those fans with the same respect they’re treating you. They’re taking the time out of their night to pay to see you perform, so give em a show they’ll remember.

I was discussing what goes through an artist’s mind when they have to perform for a small crowd with another former Artist Of The Week, Rugged N Raw, on my radio show this past Friday and he pointed out the night he met me in NYC the crowd wasn’t exactly a wall to wall packed house, but I was there, we exchanged info, and since then I have featured him on my site and my radio show. To put it simply, another reason artists have to give their all is because they never know who might be in the crowd. Could you imagine the repercussions of an artist phoning it in because of a lack of a crowd all the while not realizing a writer or a label rep happened to be one of the few dozen people in the house that night? It happens.

On Thursday I was both impressed and thrilled with the performances given by Braille, Sketch Tha Cataclysm and Chase Davis. They had engaging, high energy sets that left everyone happy that they came out to the bar. I’ve obviously known these artists for a while as I’ve featured all of them on this site before, so I already had high expectations coming in, and if they could impress me, you know they impressed the rest of the crowd.

So artists, don’t be depressed if you end up performing for a small crowd. Yes, you have less of an opportunity to sell albums that night, but you have a wonderful opportunity to create some lifelong fans that will be loyal to you for years to come. Heck, you may even sell a few CDs to boot! I know if I didn’t already have Braille’s album I would have bought it after seeing his performance. Food for thought.

Related Links

Artist Of The Week - Braille
Artist Of The Week - Sketch Tha Cataclysm
Artist Of The Week - Chase Davis
Artist Of The Week - Rugged N Raw

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:55 AM  
5 Comments:
  • At 5:46 PM, Blogger Sketch Tha Cataclysm said…

    thanks for speaking about the night. . . I had a blast lol

    I try to always rock hard regardless of who shows up for the reasons you stated. . . mainly the people paid money and it isn't their fault that other people didn't.

    I rocked at the very end of the night at one particular Enter The Cypher and there was four people there!!! lol A few months after that, a bunch of the crew went down to Baltimore from CT to rock a show and one of the cats pulled me to the side to show me he had a video of my performance from that night on his cell!!! He told me he had never seen anything like it before and thanked me for going down there. . . it's a beautiful thing.

    peace and love man

    Sketch tha cataclysm.
    http://www.sketchtc.com

     
  • At 9:46 PM, Blogger Manager Mom said…

    Back before I moved from Chicago I got ridiculously lucky. I happened to be walking by this tiny bar called the Double Door that used to have good alternative bands, and they had this sign that said "The Rolling Stones". I thought, well, that's a load of crap but I called and bought a ticket anyway. The club probably holds about 500 people.

    And I'll be damned if it wasn't really the Rolling Stones. That was probably the luckiest I've ever been, or will be since,in my life...

     
  • At 10:12 AM, Blogger Homeboy Sandman said…

    this is definately word up. 10 or 10,000. there was a time for all of us when we would have been thrilled to rock in front of three people, and we can never lose that, or we'll become suckas.

     
  • At 11:43 PM, Blogger Darryl said…

    I agree totally! I enjoy the 'intimate' crowd sometimes. I often take the oppurtunity to fuck around on stage a bit more, lol. Interact etc...

    Good point, uno.

     
  • At 6:24 AM, Blogger Crew54 said…

    We got a slogan that we always apply to shows "Rock 3 like its 300, and 300 like it's 3." You got to put your all into EVERY performance, which gets hard after you start doing it for a while. I've seen cats on tour that I've been fans of for years come through catch a wack crowd and give a bs performance and lose me as a fan instantly.

     
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