Let’s be real with each other here for a minute. Some shows are more exciting than others. They just are. You’re more pumped for your favorite band than you are for someone you’ve barely heard of. You, as a ticket buyer, can show that with not only your energy, but your choice to attend or not.
The goal of every show we do is to sell the venue out. But that’s not realistic. Some shows will sell out. Many won’t. No matter how hard we try with certain shows, it’s just not a realistic thing. You guys have been listening to us tell you how great this band is how great that band is since 2008. You mostly trust us, but you make up your own mind in the end. Yes, I love o’brother and The Lonely Forest and Cheap Girls and Kevin Devine. But you don’t have to, just because we do.
So imagine being me for a second. I’m a promoter, and I spend a lot of time at shows. A lot of shows that I’d probably not choose to be at if I weren’t working. And sometimes, when I show up, as I go through the motions of the day to present 4 or 5 bands that I don’t really have any particular interest in, I get blindsided by something.
In October of last year, that blindside hit to my cranium was a pop-punk band from Chicago called Real Friends. I was scheduled to “rep” the October 25 show with I Call Fives, With The Punches, Real Friends, Chinese Baseball, and The Class Acts. It was five bands that I had never seen before, and it was a pop-punk show. Typical formula that would have me just going “Well, I guess we’ll see how it goes.” Many of those nights are the ones where the crowds aren’t particularly into it either. You see, even if I don’t love a band, I tend to love watching them live, as long as the crowd is engaged.
So we opened doors. Pre-sale was low. And right off the bat, door guy Seth (Way To Fall) and I were surprised at how many kids were in line right off the bat. The show didn’t sell out, but it did over 100 paid, which was a big surprise. In my head, I’m thinking “Who are these kids here to see?” It’s not a knock on any of the bands on the lineup, but With The Punches and I Call Fives never really broke through, and both locals were not particularly local to Lansing, and as such, not expected to be huge draws.
The show started, and the crowd was very kind to the local openers. Nice kids, good songs, everyone having a pretty decent time. Then Real Friends started setting up. Everyone went out to grab a smoke or some fresh air. Then Real Friends started playing.
Kids went bonkers.
Stage dives. Crowdsurfing. Pile-ons. Words being screamed back in the band’s faces. While I was sitting at the front door, I’m instant messaging with a few industry friends, and I just said to them “Uh, you might wanna watch out for Real Friends. Mac’s Bar is going bananas for them right now.” The show calmed down considerably after that, with most people sticking around, but not nearly the energy level for the last 2 touring acts.
Here we are, almost a year later, and Real Friends has continued to pick up steam with their witty pop-punk songs about real life as a normal person. They’re embarking on their first legitimate headlining tour, and they’re bringing along some of the best bands in pop-punk, including Mixtapes, Forever Came Calling, and Pentimento.
This night has all the potential in the world to be one of the funnest nights in memory. This time, I made sure to schedule myself to “rep” this show, so that instead of being surprised by the crowd’s reaction, I can be fully prepared to experience it again, on a larger scale.
I remember standing outside of Mac’s Bar that night, discussing “the biz” with Kyle from the band, and he was just excited to play shows, for people who cared. You can tell that they care about their fans, and that they want to put on the best shows possible.
October 4 at the Pyramid Scheme is going to be nuts. I can just feel it. Please join us. I want you to feel the same thing I felt last October. That moment where you see band and audience connect on a level where they just become one. I’m so excited for so many things this fall, and I’m really happy to have this be just one of many highlights. Come be a part of something.
Written by Nate Dorough (Talent Buyer & Resident Dad at Fusion Shows)
with Mixtapes, Forever Came Calling, Pentimento & It’s A Secret
10/4 at The Pyramid Scheme (Grand Rapids)
Take a listen to Real Friends’s new album here: http://goo.gl/gIywha
Tickets for the show are on-sale now here: http://goo.gl/mDFu8d