Last night in Nashville I caught the tale end of Ripe’s set at the Basement East. They’re a super cool funk/pop band from Boston, Berklee kids who’ve thrown their lot in with the road and are experiencing for the first time what the Allen project went through in 2012 - who are you people and why are you at this show? If there’s a greater feeling than packing out clubs for the first time, I don’t know what it is.
The Ripe crew are big Allen Stone Band fans, so it was neat filling them in on our latest developments and, in my British-y way, reluctantly embracing their stoke level (bro, Brown Eyed Lover’s SIIIIIIIIIIIIICK). It turned out we’d both be in Chicago the next night. They put me on the list for their show at Lincoln Hall, and I said I’d be there. Which leads me to the point of this post.
If a band invites you to their show, only say you’ll be there if you 100% intend on being there.
ESPECIALLY if they put you on the list. It’s a cliche in this business, the whole “yeah man, totally, I’ll try to make it out,” which of course means you have no intention of doing anything other than binge watching Breaking Bad and inventing reasons not to release your EP.
Don’t be that douche.
Touring, especially early in your career, is gnarly - grueling travel, empty venues, asshole promoters etc. People showing up to gigs is a big deal, and it’s a huge moral blow when someone says they’ll be there and bails. If you're in for the night, that's totally cool, but just say so. Our feelings won't be hurt, I swear, and let's all avoid the crippling cynicism that comes with "playing the game."
When I arrived in Chicago last night, I was tired and caught myself performing the mental gymnastics required to justify my not hopping on the Red Line for 15mins. But I said I’d be there, so that’s where I’ll be. And it was an awesome show! Ripe were surprised I showed up, which fueled their aforementioned stoke level, and it felt good not only supporting friends in a strange city but also doing the thing I said I was going to do. I wasn't "that douche."
Saying you’ll do something and then doing it carries over into everything else. So does bullshiting someone. In the music world, one of the most potentially soul-destroying out there, the smallest gestures make the biggest difference.