Footage has been put online, so now I’m gonna post about this! Wednesday I picked up @SphinxAkashaa and we headed up to Chop Suey in Seattle for a hip-hop show, the Hellfyre Club Tour. We actually ended up parking just a couple of blocks away from the building where tangentbot & Creepy Sheep live, and they showed up at Chop Suey as well, fresh from getting back from Japan just a couple of days earlier. In fact, a bunch of people I know showed up as well, which was very cool.
When I put on a shirt earlier in the day (as I am known to do), I unthinkingly put on my Angry Beef shirt, which ended up being kinda funny because when we were waiting outside Chop Suey, Three Ninjas and NHP came walking over with Open Mike Eagle, and I got to introduce myself as, “Chris, though you may know me as @angrybeef,” while pointing at my shirt. Mike Eagle seemed to get a kick outta that, and thanked me for tweeting and posting about the show.
There were a bunch of performers at the show. My favorites were Open Mike Eagle, Nocando, and Dumbfoundead. Dumbfoundead was really funny. For one, he was drunk off his rocker. Just smashed. But it just made him extra goofy; he could still perform excellently, he was just more prone to giggle. Very entertaining.
Open Mike Eagle did a great set, and during it two especially awesome things happened. Take a wook:
I know those guys! I’ve known one of them since kindergarten!
Nocando closed out the night with another excellent set. I must give “mad props” to DJ Zo (in the background of both of those videos), who worked the music for like four or five hours straight. He was very good.
Now I’m going to digress with some observations about Seattle Indie Hip-Hop crowds:
Seattle tends to be a little unusual in that often when Seattleites go to see a show, they go to watch the performers perform. That’s why they’re there, after all. I know this first hand from my 17 years as an improviser. If a performer asks too much of the audience, they’re going to get weary. If there are too many make-some-noises or too many put-your-hand-in-the-airs, the Seattle crowd is going to start thinking, “Why did I pay to come see this guy if they’re just going to have me do all of the work?”
A lot of times this attitude really throws out-of-towners for a loop. They often expect that if the crowd is just there to have a good time. Well, yes and no. The crowd is there to watch you perform your music or (if they don’t know who you are) to see if they like your stuff. If you want a Seattle crowd to get involved, you’re going to have to earn it by putting on an entertaining and stimulating show. They’ll give you all the noise and participation you want once they know that you’re worth it, but if you try to force it out of them then they’re going to feel put-upon and badgered and retreat into their shells.
If you come out guns blazin’ and you’re not getting the response you expected, back off and gauge the crowd. They might really be enjoying your show, just in a non-participatory way. Warm them up by being entertaining and engaging and (this is very important to a Seattle crowd) funny. Once they see that you’re a good guy, they’ll be much more willing to participate. Or, y’know, don’t even worry about the audience participation. Just put on a great show and they’ll like you.
Seattleites also don’t believe in bravado. You can’t just come out and say that you’re the best, ’cause a Seattle crowd will just cross its arms and say, “Oh, yeah? Prove it.” Attitude don’t mean shit to Seattleites. They’ll like you for your skills.
But anyway. I’m back from my digression. I picked up Three Ninjas’, Nocando’s and Dumbfoundead’s CDs (I already had Open Mike Eagle’s), and got home around 2:00 in the AM. I got to chat a little with Open Mike Eagle, and he’s a really nice guy. I’ll definitely try to catch him when he comes ’round again. I played his CD for my wife while we were driving around yesterday, and she really enjoyed it and said she might like to catch him next time as well.
I think that’s a splendid idea. I think everyone should catch Mike next time he’s in town. He’s definitely worth it.