Twice Around played a gig on Sunday. We were the opening act for the Irish duo Seafoam Green at a great concert series in New Haven that hosts local and National acts. We had played a solo show there over the Summer and had a wonderful time.
Opening for someone can be a real opportunity. You often get to play for people who have never heard you and you get to meet other musicians.
Ahead of the show, I had listened to Seafoam Green’s music. It is soulful, rootsy, and from the gut. I was looking forward to hearing them live.
When they walked in, along with a few friends, they were immediately affable and warm. We learned that they had been touring the U.S. for five months and this was their last week. They were road weary and ready to go home, but were upbeat and shared interesting stories of their travels. They were really cool people, living their dream.
They had driven down from Cape Cod and had just enjoyed some classic New Haven pizza at Pepe’s. While we did our sound check they went to take a walk.
6:30 pm the doors opened. Frank and I sat in the side room doing our usual pre-show banter. 6:45 pm no one had shown up yet. Hmmmm. We start to question … could we have done more, who might be coming that we know, did they have any pre-sales? 7:00 pm. Not a single person. The Seafoam Green crew came back and we all just looked at each other. What happens now? The disappointment was palpable, yet somewhat familiar. If you play out enough, there are bound to be moments like this.
7:15 the house manager pokes her head in, her eyes reflecting our own disappointment and says: we are going to start the show.
We take the stage and Seafoam Green and friends sit in the house giving us an audience. This is a gracious act.
It feels heavy, the idea of playing to so few, all of them there because they are part of the show: sound person, performers, house staff.
As Frank plugs in his guitar a man walks in, he has purchased a ticket.
Something happens halfway through the first song and the angst of the situation melts away. We find our rhythm and do our thing. No matter what, it always feels good to play music and so we lose ourselves to that. The set goes well, we thank our audience and give Seafoam Green the stage. No one else has arrived.
We take our seats and are treated, not only to incredible music but also to a lesson in generosity. They engage with the one ticket holder, joking that he must be loaded to have bought every ticket so that he could have a private concert. They thanked us for staying to listen. They closed their eyes and played and sang their hearts.
We knew that they were tired from the road, we knew they had a long drive back to Cape Cod, we knew what a bummer this might be for their morale and their wallets. But none of that was evident. The only thing you saw on that stage was their supreme talent, respect for their audience and a true love of their art.
It turns out that the man in the audience had driven an hour to come to see them. After the show, they talked with him, signed his CD and thanked him for coming.
On the surface, the gig was a failure. But in the end, it was a gift.
We were reminded that making music for the sake of making music feels good. It’s worth every disappointing turnout, every mistake made on stage, every bit of nervousness.
We were reminded that having one person make the time and effort to come out to see you play is something remarkable and deserves your gratitude AND your full energy.
We are forever fans of Seafoam Green, the people, and their beautiful music. The whole experience has renewed my admiration for anyone out there living their art. Giving it all they’ve got, come what may.
To learn more about Twice Around, visit our website HERE!