Everyone has those friends. The one’s that always ask you to come to their show. The slew of FB event invites that leave the pang of regret when you decline, or, even worse, say you’re going and don’t.
You’re missing out.
I’ve read a few articles about why turn out to live shows is diminishing, and why you shouldn’t expect your friends to come to your shows. For the most part, they are dead on. Friends are in your life for a reason, and that reason isn’t to be your fan/groupie/entourage.
Personally, I have no expectation that my friends come to a show, because when the role is reversed, I can’t always do it myself. Sometimes, I just don’t have the extra cash to spend, and sometimes I just don’t feel like it. Sometimes, I’m not into that style of music. I understand this when I perform, and I think that if you’re a musician that doesn’t, you have some thinking to do.
Now that I’ve given everyone a pass, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why should I care?”
Here’s why you should be going to those shows anyway:
1. You get to see someone you know do something that may surprise you.
How often do your friends bust out a guitar and make some tunes (unless you hang with the guy in the sandals and the acoustic guitar, in which case, I’m sorry)? Chances are you are going to learn something new about someone you may have known a long time.
2. They REALLY appreciate it.
Seriously, when you stare into that crowd of people with their arms crossed or face-deep in their smart phones, a few friendly faces can be reaffirming.
3. You think there isn’t any “good music” any more.
This one kills me, and it really goes beyond supporting your friends, and speaks to supporting your local music scene. I’ve noticed that the first person to mumble about the lack of good, popular music today is the last to go looking for it.
(These are NOT my friends)
Which leads me to..
4. The bands that play with your friends’ band.
I’ve gone to a good share of my friends’ shows, and while I may not always be really into the band I’m showing up for, I’ve certainly discovered a lot of bands that I really like because of it.
5. Because you’re investing in a future of better music.
Typically, people don’t pursue ventures that no one shows any interest in.
6. Because you have an opportunity to make them better.
The thing about seeing a friend’s band is, they might suck. It could be the five minute guitar solo that has no business in their polka act, or they simply aren’t very good. Yet. This is how musicians (and any artist, really) cut their teeth. Trial and error. Put it out there, and see how it goes. Failure, overall, is a pretty effective teacher.
I know this can get awkward, but if they have half a brain and even a little self awareness, they’ll figure out they suck eventually, and either get better, or move onto something else.
Besides, when they do get good, you’ll have been there the whole time.