How To Keep Curmudgeons From Ruining Your Concert

I remember that time I played a concert in a coffee shop. And it was almost a disaster.

Me and my band, The Bright Future (Photo by Miss Kris)

Okay, that might be an exaggeration. But it sort of felt like that.

What happened? In the middle of our first song, an older person leaned toward me and my percussionist and said, “Could you turn it down?”

We were right in the middle of our first song!

So I paused for a few seconds to turn the volume knob down a half-notch (even though it was already at a level 5 out of 10). It totally ruined the vibe of the song. Not a great start to the night.


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Over the next couple of songs, I considered saying, “If it’s too loud for you, then leave. You came here to listen to some music, so if you don’t like it, maybe you should chat with your friends somewhere else.”

Now, that would’ve been really mean to say, and I would’ve instantly regretted it. But it would’ve felt good for like half a second.

That’s when I noticed I wasn’t enjoying my first set, all because I was letting this person (or curmudgeon) get to me.


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But at the end of the night, most of the people there (out of about 20) came up to me, shook my hand, said something like “sounded good,” and had a conversation with me. I sold several CDs — a couple of the people even bought multiple copies.

I talked with a retired luthier who was admiring my Martin guitar. People left tips in my tip jar (which all went to our adoption fund). One guy even subscribed to my YouTube channel right in front of me!

And to think, I almost thought about possibly maybe walking out in the middle of my first set. If I had a shorter fuse, I could’ve let one person get to me and ruin the night for everyone else (including myself).

The point is, you may have a curmudgeon (or two if you’re unlucky) at every show — don’t let them get to you. Think of everyone else there. Even if you make one connection and earn one new fan, it’ll be worth it.


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By the way, the curmudgeon didn’t leave a donation, buy a CD, or even talk to me afterwards.


My band and me having fun on stage:

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