Sunday, October 21, 2007

A man with a guitar

Sometimes I feel that I have gotten a little too angry over the last year or so. Well, the truth is that even though I have expressed many bitter thoughts to those I love, life isn't so bad. Anger is a reaction people have as they face frustrating situations, while bitterness is more of a reaction to the realization that nothing can be done to prevent the anger causing event. Bitterness is more of a desperation then of powerlessness.

With this in mind, consider how people may get angry about having to pay 'fees' to see a concert - sometimes up to 75% of the cost of the ticket - but yet still buy the tickets and mask the bitterness by spending more money to make a fun night after all.

Yes, I am angry and bitter about these fees and yet too, at times still pay for them.

Then when all is said and done, the performance takes me away from all of these issues. And if its good performance, well then who really cares? After all, the whole reason for the fees are the performance. Without it, the shareholders at Ticketmaster would be out trying to scam another piece of the world.

Needless to say, the performance and venue where I saw a recent performance was...well worth it.

Greg Brown last night played a great set of simple, down to earth music with great stories between songs. His skill as a storyteller, singer, and guitar player surpasses many of his contemporaries. Hearing how his voice resonates at high volumes, or barely growls at low tones makes me think how certain individuals have the real skills to be able to just perform with the minimum of equipment and still have the emotional impact of a large band.

All it takes is a man with a guitar.

I was honored to see Greg Brown perform in Iowa City at The Mill, which I believe is something of a treat for non-native residents. I didn't know much of him then, but I loved how he was able to please the crowd in such a casual, yet powerful way.

His Chicago performance wasn't as good in my opinion, but then again, he didn't have the homefield advantage of The Mill.

This brings me to the second part of this story - the venue. Unlike the Mill, which is basically a bar/restaurant, the Old Town School of Folk Music is designed for one thing in mind - creating an intimate setting to really appreciate acoustic music. Even though I still had to give the Ticketmaster the 'goon' fee, the Old Town made it so much easier for me to feel good about music in Chicago.

Unlike, so many other venues in the city, OTSFM actually cares about all its patrons, not just the VIPS. Furthermore, they create a setting to actually enjoy performances, not just crowd people in a room and count the money in the back.

I only wish more artists would refuse shitholes like (I wont mention now) some others in Chicago and help us - the audience - access their art in a way that's comfortable, enjoyable, and valuable.

In my view, screw ticket master. I would rather give 75% extra to the artist.

Why don't more people feel the same? Many shows still sell out!!