The worst sort of gig

10/12/09 11:55:20AM
I just think it could be amusing, in a horrible way, to see how low we sometimes have to stoop in the name of music. Or maybe some other name, but while playing music.Anybody ever subscribe to Gigmaster, or any similar service for matching musicians with the people who want to hire musicians for an Occasion? Our very limited experience with that was negative; virtually all of the contacts were for weddings, and/or the parties after weddings. Brides are not the most fun people to work with. (They tend to look really cute in their wedding pictures, but what a bunch of wackos.) Better clients are caterers and the like, who have done this more than once, and can bring a little perspective to the process.I've actually had fun playing music at weddings and receptions for friends; but not playing for hire, to strangers who want to reenact ancient Rome or something. Like, the slave plays the lyre in the background for a while, and after dessert you throw him to the lions. (In our more enlightened era they don't have real lions, and you do get to go home.)We call these "potted plant" gigs; the idea is to decorate the scene without being a distraction from what it's all really about, which would be loud conversations with people you haven't seen lately. (These events are normally lubricated with alcohol, and are by no means limited to nuptial occasions.) Our balalaika ensembles play fairly often at the Embassy of the Russian Federation, and occasionally at other embassies. Nice venues, but it is pretty rare that we are listened to -- and then typically by just a small handful of those present; some of them are musicians, themselves. You can always tell when somebody is watching you who knows how to play your instrument...Those are just a few notions, for starters. I'll mention a few more venues:Family, school, or other group reunions, homecomings (audience drinks and shouts)Retirement places (audience skews old)Nursing homes (audience skews old and demented)Ethnic or folk festivals (beware the act that precedes you)Reenactments (competing with a cannon, you lose)These are not necessarily going to be nightmare gigs, but they are places at which one may have a gig, about which one later has nightmares.Dick