Local Rhythms – Listening room etiquette

There are a few things I can’t tolerate.  Gum chewing during phone calls, people who drive below the speed limit on two-lane highways and idiots who talk in listening rooms.

The other night I went to a club in Manchester to hear Amy Petty and three other singer-songwriters do their thing. Charlestown native Jandee Lee Porter, who belts out country songs like a young Linda Ronstadt, blew me away.

She’s a star in the making.

It was a great night of music – at least the part that I could hear clearly.

For too much of the evening, some schlub at the bar had a long and loud conversation with a few of his friends.  Finally in frustration, I walked over and told him through gritting teeth that I came to hear the music, not listen to him talk all night.

He finally shut up.

Did reality television make this dolt believe his ordinary musings were more important than what was happening on stage?   It was appalling, particularly because it happened at an event that people paid to get into.

It’s much worse at no cover clubs.

So I have a few suggestions for the next time you’re around live entertainment.

1.     Learn the meaning of “stage whisper” – if you must talk, don’t shout.

2.     The longer the conversation, the closer the talkers should be – don’t yak across the table.

3.     If you’re not there for the music, don’t sit next to it.

4.     Remember if you’re at a comedy show, the guy with the microphone is the one being paid to talk.

5.     If you buy a ticket and don’t like what you hear, don’t ruin everyone’s night by staying.

The lack of respect for musicians is ridiculous.  I’m waiting for the day some guy asks a guitarist to hold a beer so he can use both hands while kissing his girlfriend.

Come to think of it, the silence might be worth the trade-off.

At least if his tongue is in her mouth, it can’t be employed to talk about cell phones, car repairs or his latest Facebook status.

I understand that you didn’t come for the music, but there’s no reason that your prerogatives should completely subjugate mine.

Talk all you want, but at a decent volume.

For ticketed events at places like Boccelli’s or the Flying Goose, please take it outside.

Have a good time, but don’t ruin mine.  Is that so hard?

On to the rest of the week:

Thursday, Feb 18: Jason Cann, Harpoon Brewery – Salt hill Hanover opened a day too late for Jason’s Local Rhythms-picked appearance two weeks ago, but he’s now a Wednesday regular there. The singer/songwriter, who mixes cool originals with reinvented Michael Jackson songs and a cover of “Please Come to Boston” that’s’ better than Dave Loggins’ version, also plays every Thursday at the Windsor brewpub.

Friday, Feb. 19: Talkin’ Smack Band, One Mile West – A cozy restaurant with a great bar expands its musical offering with a mix of decades-spanning rock and blues.  Lead singer Rich Cortese has a voice that’s equal parts sandpaper and sheen. Their selection of material is especially good.  I can’t remember if I’ve ever heard a cover band tackle Robin Trower’s “Day of the Eagle,” and that’s just one of many nuggets in a typical set.

Saturday, Feb. 20: Ross Robinson, Pleasant Valley Brewing Co.  – Just a short drive beyond Bellows Falls, this pub/restaurant books a steady flow of talented original artists, including this Massachusetts picker, who cut hi teeth busking in Cambridge, and specializes in finger-style and slide guitar. His cover of Hot Tuna’s instrumental gem “Water Song” thoroughly impressed me, but his vocals are also stellar.

Sunday, Feb. 21: IZ Style Winter Tour, Mt. Sunapee Resort – The Pete Kilpatrick Band provides musical entertainment for the concluding day of this weekend event, which is all about the ways winter sports enthusiasts can reduce their environmental footprint. The Reverb Eco-Village features local, regional, and national environmental non-profit groups helping to educate skiers and snowboarders in planet-friendly behavior.

Monday, Feb. 22: The Status & The Bay State, 802 Music – Fans of alternative bands like All-Time Low and Boys Like Girls will like this indie double bill.  I’m particularly intrigued with the Bay State, which began as an acoustic project a few years and back and features the throaty Susanne Gerry on vocals and bass and, surprisingly, Evan James playing viola.  It’s power pop with a difference.

Wednesday, Feb. 24: Eileen Ivers, Hopkins Center – Anyone interested in the intersection of Irish and American culture will enjoy this show. The founding member of Cherish the Ladies and original Riverdance star performs Beyond the Bog Road, a multimedia show that explores the experience of Irish immigrants’ journeys to America, and what Ivers calls their “brilliant transformation from desperate refugees to cultural forces to be reckoned with.”

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