Thank you for giving a damn, Opening Band.
Thank you for lugging all of your equipment onto the stage by yourselves and quickly tossing it to the side after your set so the next band can have their 6 spotlit songs too.
But before the show, you spent 8 hours crammed in a van wearing the same jeans as yesterday to get to the community college student center you’re playing at tonight. You have to eat McDonalds every day of the week and take McShits at McRest-stops so you’re not late for your mid afternoon sound check.
You finally start your set and after you begin to spill your guts, reliving each moment that prompted you to write that heartbreaker of a tune, you say a genuine “thank you” to whoever is listening. Unfortunately you have to yell to be heard over the loud, douchey guy in the front row as he feeds shots to a girl that just wants to bang the headliner’s drummer.
For a brief moment your eyes give you away. You’re second guessing why you’re here, pouring out your soul to a thin crowd that’s using your set as background music to check Instagram while waiting for the bartender to return with their overpriced PBR.
But you quickly forget about them as you lay into that gritty riff that you couldn’t forget if you tried. Your eyes roll to the back of your head as if you’ve been taken to another place. Maybe it’s a weightless space where you just feel your art escaping through your fingertips. Maybe it takes you back to the afternoon that you and your best friend sat on the edge of your bed playing guitar, stumbled on that riff, looked at each other and said those words that would change your life’s trajectory: “HOLY SHIT! WE SHOULD START A BAND!”
Whatever that special place is, it’s the reason you continue to do what you do. You don’t know how else to explain what goes on inside of you and music is the medium that makes your insides make sense. The good news is that it takes others to their special place too. It takes those genuine listeners away from their day-to-day grind, even if for just 6 songs.
It’s this painstaking effort you’re putting forth that’s making a difference. Maybe one day kids will be drawing your band’s logo on their Jansport, or tattooing your lyrics on their forearm when they’re old enough to defy their parents.
Until then, please hang in there. Your willingness to spill your insides to the outside world in hopes that someone will listen is what inspires the rest of us to continue fighting our own personal fights.
So thank you Opening Band, for giving a damn.