Last Saturday night, my band played at a local American Legion post. It was basically like a small town bar with a nice patio out front, a few more patriotic plaques on the wall than most bars would have, and, oh yeah, they allow smoking inside.
I'm not going to lie—I was slightly less enthused about the gig than I might have been for one at a regular club. After all, I have a history of asthma and secondhand smoke is not on my list of favorite things.
We showed up around noon for setup and there was a small group of bar patrons hanging out already. Usually when we do a lunchtime setup and sound check, the afternoon bar-goers range from dismayed to outright annoyed. Not at the American Legion. We ran through three of our newest songs to check sound levels while simultaneously making sure that we could still play them, and damned if the people there didn't applaud after each one! That never—and I mean NEVER—happens.
When we came back in the evening to start our 9:00 p.m. set, some of the people we'd seen earlier in the day said hello and told us they'd come back to see us. There was a pretty decent crowd from the very beginning and it didn't take even half a set before people were dancing.
The crowd was enthusiastic the whole time. They danced, they applauded, they sang along, and someone even bought two roses from the flower lady and laid them carefully on my monitor while I was performing. I took them home and now they're on my desk at work in a vase.
Yes, it was smoky in there and now my carpeted monitor needs some sunshine to get the smell out and my stage clothes went straight into the laundry when I got home. However, it didn't seem to affect my voice any more than the fog machine that we were using.
This is my official mea culpa for having even a little bit of attitude about that gig going in. It was by far the most fun I've had performing in quite a while and I sincerely hope we play there regularly in the future.