Thursday, May 18, 2006
The first “group” (one dude) I saw at the Knitting Factory this Sunday had a habit of making statements to the crowd such as, “There’s more … sorry.” He wasn’t very good, so it’s hard for me to separate causes, but I feel like some of our unenthusiasm resulted from those apologies.
Audiences give explicit respect to artists, by allowing them to dominate our attention for a while. We do it because apparently we’ve got nothing better to do, but that doesn’t mean we don’t value our time. When an artist apologizes, he implies that he doesn’t feel like whatever he’s doing is valid. The artist knows the art far better than any of us; if he feels that way, who are we to disagree?
Audiences are suggestible. We don’t really know what we want, and we hope to be shown things that we didn’t realize we would enjoy. Musicians who don’t recognize and exploit that feature basically suck.