so Friday’s show at the Orpheum was fascinating. just fascinating. the anthropologist in me loves to see what kind of crowd shows up for any show, and see the crowd dynamic. this one was particularly intriguing, because it’s not music that i would normally listen to. i mean, i *listen* to a lot of stuff, and go out to see some, but this was completely foreign to me.
after the last fiasco (a rap show that got violent, in part because the amateur monkeys on crack running the show had no idea what they were doing, and the crowd got angry about being jerked around), i was hesitant to work this one. it was a metal show, with Papa Roach as the headliner, and Alien Ant Farm, Orgy, and/or Snapcase (pick any two - we’re not really sure who showed up) as the opening acts. yes, i suffer from the suburban white girl stereotyping of headbangers, and i thought this might be the same as the Jah Rule show, where i was groped, yelled at, hit, and doused with a drink or two. but it was completely different. maybe it’s the cathartic element of grindingly loud music and pogo-ing around in a mosh pit. this was a really polite crowd. some interesting fashion lessons to be had, too.
so when i got there, ken said he was going to hand out earplugs. i just laughed a little, and he said, no, really - go look at the amp setup. i walked up the ramp into the house and started laughing my ass off. Jeff Beck had a setup like this, too. fully half the stage was covered in speakers. damn. we head upstairs for the preshow meeting, and ken hands out earplugs. a few minutes later, we hear on the PA ::crackle, crackle:: um, would the usher who took all the earplugs please return them? ::crackle, static:: ha! nope. sorry, buddy, we’re keepin’ em. my micro Leatherman came in handy, as we all wanted to trim off the dumb blue strip hanging the plugs together. i ended up not really using them much at all, because while they damped the noise pretty well, it made conversation impossible. it was like being underwater; when i tried to say anything, all i could hear was my own voice echoing in my head. and of course, it sounded much louder to me, so i wasn’t being loud enough for anyone to hear me. so i just ditched them eventually.
courtesy of the first band, we really didn’t have much work to do. they came onstage and invited everyone to come down front. we all looked at each other, and i said ‘confusion, chaos and disorder. our work here is done.’ *g* suprisingly (to me), it didn’t get that bad. people sat wherever they wanted, and didn’t really crowd the aisles all that badly. and i’ll say this about the bands: they were loud, unmusical, racist, homophobic, and sexist, but they were *prompt*, which is a godsend when you’re working front of house. they also worked really hard to keep the crowd peaceful (within reason), which was very cool.
and the whole mosh pit thing was fascinating to watch. i was up in the balcony (by choice, to avoid the insanity downstairs), so got the bird’s eye view. hard to mosh when the seats are bolted to the floor, but they did it. i’ve never seen anything like it. people body surfing onto stage, band members jumping into the crowd... fascinating. i’m sorry i keep using that word, but it was! color me sheltered, but you don’t usually get that kind of action in a smoky jazz club. 8)
since we weren’t seating people, we were basically on beer detail. well, there was one security person who got snarky and insisted we show people to the *right* seats, because she wanted to get the house back. yeah, right. good luck, lady. i thought alan was going to fall over laughing when i pantomimed pulling the pole out of her ass. anyway, i mostly hung out by the door, asking people to hang out in the lobby with the beer. dumb ass house rule, but hey, we have to enforce it. picture this: short, skinny me, standing alone by this one door. a guy who was a dead ringer for Stone Cold Austin, complete with snappy leather coat and shades, walks Right. Up. To. Me. i come up to maybe his belt. i say, politely, ‘um, sorry, sir, you can’t bring that [gesturing at the beer cup] to your seat.’ pause. ‘oh, yeah? what do you want me to do?’ [silently praying to avoid an ugly death] ‘um... hang out here with everyone else who’s drinking beer?’ ‘oh. okay, that’s cool.’ and he was totally cool about it. not what i was expecting, and very cool.
at this point, i had the Deli Take a Number line of guys waiting their turn to flirt with me. i don’t know why, but it always happens when i work that one spot. ken comes by, and i take my opportunity to take a powder, leaving him with a small crowd of admirers. i came back about 10 minutes later, and made some joke about it. he says, ‘well, it’s not because they’re drunk. you know that, don’t you?’ why is it the snappy comebacks always come later? ‘right. it’s the tits. the beer just makes them brave.’ but of course, that didn’t occur to me until the next morning.
the funniest thing was the strip show during the second act. yup, the strip show. i wandered out into the house to see what was going on, and there, much to my suprise and delight, are two buff boys taking off their T shirts. i run back to get alan, and say thru gasps of laughter ‘you *gotta* come see this!’ these guys, who apparently were with the band, stripped down to matching 8 Ball g-strings and ineptly pranced around stage. they didn’t really know what they were doing, which made it pretty funny. and they were *gorgeous* to look at, which was all good. ken came out to see, and out of embarrassment (real or imagined) tried to hide behind me to avoid the sight. i was dyin’! just to tweak him, i tapped ken on the shoulder, and said ‘yeah, they’re gorgeous, but the white gym socks sort of ruin the effect.’ yeah - these guys stripped down to g-strings... and white gym socks. not quite so sexy.
even better was the irate guy who told me he *had* to talk to the band after that, as he had a bone to pick with them. blah blah naked guys blah blah just not right blah bling blah women blah you enjoyed it but blah blah... and i just stood there, humored by the whole rant. he finally caught on that i wasn’t really digging his opinion, and said (and i quote) ‘well, i’m not a homophobe. it’s just that, artistically, it didn’t work. the aesthetic was all wrong.’ i stood there, laughing and supressing the urge to ask ‘did those words really just come out of your mouth?’
alan asked me at one point why i was working the show if i didn’t like the music. i said i figured it was fair trade for getting to see the Boston Music Awards, Richard Thompson, David Gray, Mark Knopfler and (get this) Robert Plant in the next six weeks. seems fair, don’t you think? 8)