How many times have you gone to a gig to see a specific band only to realize that there are three opening acts? The music might start at 9 pm, but by the time you get to the headliner, you’ve had to endure hours of music you didn’t care about.
I’m all for giving up-and-coming bands exposure–this is essential to the musical ecosystem–but we don’t need hour-long sets from these groups. A nice, tight six-song set of their best material would serve everyone (including the acts themselves) far better.
There’s a real argument to be made for a 20-minute cap on sets. This is from The Concourse.
Imagine: you’re in a crowded mid-size venue, 300 strangers surrounding you. Just an hour ago, this space was vacant; now you’re practically cuddling with some drunk dudes you’re praying won’t spill beer on your shirt. They don’t smell great. It’s Friday night and you’ve headed straight from work to happy hour to here, the clerb, to see your favorite up-and-coming and/or once-popular, now-on-a-slow-decline artist of your choosing. There are four opening acts. And then it hits you—it’s 9 p.m., no one has taken the stage yet, you’re kinda tired, a little bit tipsy and certainly not looking forward to elongating your neck and holding it at a 30-degree angle for hours. Dear lord, you’re going to die in this place.
Why? Because each one of those four motherfucking openers is going to play for, like, 30 minutes—if they’re friends with the sound guy, they’ll find a way to stretch it to a cool 45—and the headliner you paid real American dollars to see (or whatever currency, this is an international issue) is gonna get their hour because you and the 299 randos around you damn well paid for it. Setting up between bands takes anywhere 20 to 30 minutes, so by doing some basic math, carry the 5—you are going to die in this place, dude. Nice knowing you.