Jekyll & Hyde audience

keep it simple

Platinum Member

just half way through a intense weekend of gigs. Home at 3:00 AM, bad back, ringing ears, you know the deal. Anyhow, what a weird gig last night. Travelled some distance to a pub/club out in the sticks. A real clicky little town. About 300+ audience so a decent size crowd. We went through our first set, and although you could see a bit of gyrating & foot tapping, got to the end of each number & nothing. I mean absolutely nothing! Same for every number. At the end of the first set, the band were pretty down about the whole deal. We played just fine, sound was good, what's the deal? After a band motivational talk, we started the second set. Whoa, what a difference! Have we woken up in a different gig? Crowd going mad, & I mean crazy mad. Security linking arms in front of the band to stop the audience pushing onto the stage, the whole deal.

Apart from beer influence, I really can't get my head around this. Anyone got thoughts or similar experiences you care to share? Management said we were the best band ever to grace their establishment & promptly offered three further dates at double the money! What a crazy crazy world.

Doing a big outdoor gig tonight. Here's hoping it isn't such a weird experience.


Platinum Member
The beer influence is one thing, but what about the booze influence and women forcing their husbands to dance-influence? :p


Platinum Member
Apart from beer influence, I really can't get my head around this.
There is no "apart from beer" influence. You already know what happened, hence the term "beer goggles" :)

No, I lie. I expect you put your hardest rocking songs in the second set so it would have been a combo of beer goggles and lifting the tempo.

Sounds like a weird gig. A few people must have tipped over the edge during the break and started to create a party atmosphere, so when others followed them over the sobriety cliff the whole thing went off.

Congrats Andy. If you need security you seriously slayed 'em! Amazing.

keep it simple

Platinum Member
There is no "apart from beer" influence. You already know what happened, hence the term "beer goggles" :)
Cheers Pol, I'm very used to the beer goggles thing, and that undoubtedly had a lot to do with it, but the difference was so profound, it can't be explained by beer alone. We even transferred a couple of our second set numbers into the first set to balance things out, but to no avail. In the first set, there were even some audience members with their backs to the band. It wasn't just lack of response, we were being snubbed!

The second set was manic by comparison. We even repeated a couple of first set numbers in the encores to see what happened. Again, a totally 180 degree reaction. This venue really is in a very behind the times, everyone knows everyone kinda place. I can only assume they have some sort of switch in their head that says "Ok, know I'm ready to be entertained".


Platinum Member
Okay Andy, I'll go for theory #3 after the goggles and set list. People in small, cliquey, tight-knit communities can be a bit distrustful and standoffish until they decide you're ok. Once they feel sure you're not tossers then they tend to overwhelmingly friendly.

You might have started the second set with a song that they especially love and nailed it.

Theory #4. You were brought down and already felt the gig was a write off. During the break you lowered your expectations, figuring you'd just play the set, extract whatever fun you could from simply playing and get out of there. That extra relaxation might have put you in the zone.

Or maybe all four factors??

I already told the story of an old band's gig where we'd just worked out an original in three parts. None of our regulars were there and the first set was a non event. We went out and had a toke, but the stuff was redikouslussy potent ...

So we came back totally pie-eyed and started the second set with the new original number. It was grooving along great when we reached a point where no one was sure which of the three sections to go into - and we all chose a different one. Total chaos! We had to stop - the only time that ever happened to us. We cracked up (being in that state) and the audience cracked up even more.

The singer said, 'One more time with feeling" and when we got through it second time around the audience gave us a huge cheer. After that, the gig rocked. We were richly rewarded for our irresponsibility and incompetence hahaha


Platinum Member
I guess that just as a band warms up by the second set, so does the audience.
That break between sets can sometimes mean all the difference in the world.
People tend to just watch the first set and when the second set comes they are ready to participate.
Thats the reason for Opening/Warm Up Bands at shows.
Crowds have a collective mind all their own.
It only takes a few people in a crowd to react and the whole bunch goes wild.
The larger the crowd, the more the Jekyll & Hyde effect.


Silver Member
Congrats on the "half-decent" gig! :)

Having experienced this myself on more than a few occasions, I agree that the booze plays a big factor in this type of behaviour, along with Pol's # 3 theory. I don't think that it's limited to small communities though, I've seen this in cities as well.

I do think there is a sheep or lemming effect that happens as well - you get the first couple on the dance floor and everyone else feels like it's okay to start having fun.

I'm amazed sometimes how well "spiking" the audience can work. Either you've got friends there who will start the dancing and encourage others to join, or during a break you be as chatty and sociable as you can be, trying to connect with people deeper than just the music, once they know you are friendly enough, they tend to respond more to the music.