I'm thinking out loud again today.
Recently, I was performing a Songwriters show and was appalled at the disrespect from a table in the front.
Songwriter showcases and venues are a different atmosphere. They are listening rooms. (Note: The words 'Listen & Silent' are spelled with the same letters). Think of it like a Coffee House that sells food and adult beverages. (if it wasn't for the writers and hosts most of these places would struggle). It is not a loud bar-room atmosphere.
Songwriters are scheduled in advance to perform their original material. No covers allowed. Then somewhere in middle of the evening a Professional Songwriter performs his hit songs. It is a place not only to perform but also to learn from the pros as well as a place to network.
Hang your ego at the door. That stuff stinks in a songwriters show.
If you think you're hot, trust me there is always a faster gun, better vocalist, and poetic writers in the room. It can be a humbling experience.
Back to the table in the front. I didn't know the folks at the table. Since it was a hotel, I assumed they were tourists and didn't know any better. They were talking loudly over the performers. I changed my set list midstream as I soon realized that nothing poignant or meaningful would be heard over the distracting table.
(Some venues have strict rules regarding noise) To my surprise, they were songwriters in the next round! Writers that wanted to play something poignant & profound to a respectful audience. Go figure!
I took the high road and offered them the courtesy that they did not extend to me. In that moment, I decided to write this post for educational purposes.
Some days, I want to stand at the door and hand out a reference guide on Nashville Songwriter's Etiquette.
I know many of the Hosts at the venues around town and have witnessed their frustrations with the Songwriters.
If you are scheduled for a round - show up at least 30 minutes before your set and check in. They are giving you a stage and a spotlight the least you can do is honor their schedule. Afterwards stick around for at least another 30 minutes to an hour. You might learn something. While you are there, use your inside voice.
Here's another idea: TUNE your GUITAR 'before' you are on stage. it's not like you didn't know you had a show that day. The clock is ticking.
One might expect the oversight from a novice but not from someone who makes the rounds.
In closing, a little common sense can be disguised quite nicely as professionalism.