Friday, April 21, 2006

Hey...Bob i should drink like an asshole!

So last night i had the extreme pleasure of seeing Mr. Robert Pollard, formerly of Guided By Voices, at Irving Plaza ("New York's Premiere Rock Nightclub"). Bob is known for being quite possibly the most prolific songwriter working today (in 2006 Bob will release at least 5 full length records, plus probably some singles/EPs) and also for being quite a drinker.

Bob does not simply have a few beers on stage. On the drum reiser there is a cooler filled with beer, and a half-finished bottle of Jose Cuervo tequilla. The drinking only adds to Bob's mystique, along with his microphone-swinging, chain smoking, leg-kicking, jumping up and down routine that he still pulls off at 48 years of age.

Now, this is probably unhealthy, as well know, but it is Bob's deal and i respect his decisions. What i don't respect are the people in the front of the stage begging Bob and his band (featuring former Frank Black sideman Dave Philips) for beers and shots of tequilla. This was infuriating me for a number of reasons:

1) There is a bar 100 feet behind you. I know they sell beer, and i'm pretty sure you could get tequilla too. And yes, i know it is expensive, but don't you think that its somewhat rude to ask a stranger ("We're not strangers, we're Bob-heads!" Fuck you, you're fans, not the guy's personal buddies) for a drink that they paid for (or earned as part of their deal for playing the club).

2) All of these people had wristbands, ie. they are old enough to buy their own. Once again, i would not approve of a bunch of high schoolers shouting at a musician and asking for a beer, but i would understand the thought process: Uncle Bob is cool, he won't card us - bring on the free hooch! But no, everyone was of age, and i'd say they were all probably older than i am as well.

3) Shouting requests are something that bugs me to begin with, but shouting requests and drink pleads so much so that i couldn't hear Bob's famously hillarious between song comments. "HEY BOB!! TEQUILLA YOU FUCKING BITCH" Yeah, that was much better than hearing what song is coming next. Not only that, but you're calling the guy you paid $20 to go see a bitch. What is the thinking there? He's playing for over 2 hours, he's giving it his all, he picked NYC as one of the only spots he's hitting on this tour - what exactly makes him a bitch? Does he look like a bitch? DOES...HE...LOOK....LIKE A BITCH? (Pulp Fiction anyone?)

On top of all of that, there was a guy in front of me (i eventually moved over to stage left to get away from this guy) who was shouting in his friend's ear the entire time and dancing like he was at a club. He openly said he's never heard GBV or Bob's solo stuff, but he was there "to drink and have a good time." Once again, in theory this doesn't bug me, maybe he'd walk out with a new record or at least a respect for Bob, but the guy was also saying he only listens to hip hop. Now, i'm trying to understand why this kid would want to spent $20 on a ticket, plus drinks at the club, which are $5-6 a pop...hey, maybe i understand why THIS guy would be asking Bob for a beer - which he was doing repeatedly. I don't know who was more annoying - that guy, or the two frat guys to my right who were hugging so much and shouting for beer so much and just draping over one another that i swear these two macho ddues were about two seconds away from making out. I have a feeling their frat would NOT like that very much.

So this begs the question: Does the fact that Bob drinks on stage actually hinder his performances, but not for the reason of his own drunkenness, but because of the 'bad example' he sets for his audience? If so, that's a terrible consequence of Bob trying to unwind on stage. Reportedly, at a GBV book signing in the last year, Bob had a cooler of beer next to him even there. Maybe he struggles with stage fright, and the drinking is the only way he can bring himself to perform. Or maybe he really does have a problem. However, that is not my decision to make. Nor is Bob up there telling his audience to be irresponsible and be obnoxiously drunk. He didn't tell that girl right in front of me to get up on stage, and instead of stage diving, to simple step off the 2 1/2 foot stage. She, no doubt, fell to her knees in pain. And she crushed the poor girl next to me's feet. Is this the type of behaviour that i have to expect the next time (and hopefully there will be a next time) i see Bob perform? If so, i'll be safe at the bar, drinking my beer with the other quiet, respectful drunks who are spending their hard earned $6 for a Guinness in a can.


At 10:53 AM, Blogger Erin said...

I liked the story of the girl who just stepped off the stage lol. The people probably just wanted to go home and tell their friends that he had given them a drink...


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