Fueled by Kambucha, organic kale and legal cannabis, Allen Stone and His Merry Men inspire dance parties the world over. This is a good thing, and we’re good at it. We are, however, weirdos, and not the endearing kind to leather-clad proctologists, say. “Unaware” is an unlikely feature on the Golf Channel or Fox and Friends, and I have a feeling this biker convention we're booked to play with OAR isn't going to go so well.
I’m asked frequently how I handle hostile audiences. First of all, do you, don’t over think things. I mean, they hired you. Secondly, make a set list and stick to it. Read the room but, again, do you. If you’re, hypothetically, a soul band known for singing soul music, do that- now isn’t the time for rambling non sequiturs or bombing at the Radisson. If you’re contracted for an hour and fifteen, put 75 minutes worth of tunes on the set list, grit your teeth, power through and say “thanks for having us.” Get off stage, collect the check, chug a beer. You’ve earned it.
In this case, we aren’t actually booked for the biker convention per se- OAR is, and we’re piggy backing on their bill. The promoters, and certainly audience, genuinely have no idea who we are and are authentically concerned when we produce a mic stand covered with plastic flowers.
We panic. Our first song’s an ill-advised audible (best not leading with a ballad), followed by cryptic hand signals from our singer that we gather mean “jam.” Which we do, but not in the southern-rock kinda guitarmony way that would’ve gone down well with our Trumpy audience. We weren't booed I don't think, but dagger-like stares are a potent heckle.
Experience teaches you that some shows are there so you can get to the next one, and if you treat them as such you’ll likely have a decent time. Be a pro, take your lumps and move on. And always, ALWAYS decorate mic stands with plastic flowers.