Where’s the Love for G?

Thursday night 11/15 at Chameleon Club, I treated myself to another night of G. Love and Special Sauce.  The opening band, Guerilla Panda Dub Squad, played heartily but briefly.  I will keep my eyes open for another area appearance by them.  But I don’t miss G at the Chameleon and it’s safe to say the crowd was feeling the same way.

He opened with “Shooting Hoops” from the first album and people went nuts.  Then he slipped into “Who’s Got the Weed.”  Ten years ago that would have sparked many clouds rising from the dance floor.  This time it only brought security with flashlights.

The band played many crowd favorites: “I-76,” “Baby’s Got Sauce,” “Back of the Bus” and of course “Cold Beverage.”  G played a nice acoustic version of “Gimme Some Loving.”  I didn’t hear any new songs which surprised me.  Usually the band tries out a few new ones live before committing them to a new recording.  They played from 10:30 to 12:15.  That also surprised me as the last time they played Chameleon was a four-hour affair.

Two things at the show went beyond surprise to disappointment.  As I worked my way into a spot near the stage, some guy whacked me in the head not once but three times.  He was cursing me and asking who I thought I was to just move in front of him.  I was actually beside him but that’s not the point.  I moved back rather than picking a fight with this guy.  I have too much respect for Chameleon to cause trouble there.  As I got to the edge of the crowd, who should appear but former club owner and friend of mine Rich Ruoff.  I told him what happened and his reply was, “At a G. Love show?  What’s the world coming to?”  He asked if I was ok and we resumed our grooving but it was very upsetting.  If you are the guy who whacked me in the head, reply here and I’ll be glad to meet you on any corner in town.

The other upsetting thing was the distinct lack of an under-21 crowd.  When Lemonade was released on iTunes, people downloaded it that month more than any other album.  “Booty Call” and “Lemonade” were the singles but people downloaded the whole album.   G. Love and Special Sauce never got major radio airplay but they had a committed national following among young adults.  Where were they?  Did the Fixin’ to Die album with the Avett Brothers scare them off?  Was this show marketed wrong?

I suspect this is another symptom of “social mediatus”: confusing virtual reality with reality.  No amount of downloaded songs is going to provide you with a concert experience ie real socializing and seeing a band in person.  We veteran concert-goers need to get the next generation out there to some shows before venues turn into iPod bars!

Dum-Dums and Smarties: What You Need

Dum-Dums and Smarties: What You Need

For the seventeen years I taught high school English, I handed out Dum-Dums and Smarties on test days.  I learned this from psychologist and model teacher Dr. Peggy Forsythe on the day of our first test in a memorable educational psychology class.  How many I handed out is anybody’s guess.  I remember a student noticing that you could save Dum-Dum labels and earn prizes.  He said, “Jeez, Campbell.  You could save for a year and get, like, a car or something.”

I left public education for many reasons: mostly personal.  I miss the dynamics of the classroom and the energy of teens.  I promised myself that Gigspots.com would serve young people and provide them with opportunities to have fun and satisfy their curiosities.  I am about to launch an internship program at York College and hope to expand it to my alma mater, Millersville University.

But really it’s about the music.  I worry that young people aren’t getting enough chances to connect with live music.  Downloading songs and sharing playlists cannot compare to sharing a concert experience with friends.  I created Gigspots to help young people (and the young at heart) find concerts and destinations that they could enjoy and afford.  I’m finding plenty of bands, destinations and discounts.  What I need is feedback.  I know what I like.  I need to know what you like.  Are we still connected?

Begin by Liking my Gigspots Facebook page.  When I post something you like, Like it.  When you hear a band you think is great, post a link on my page and Share generously.  Name the bands you want to see and I will move mountains to get a local show set up.  Please visit my website to check the concert calendar and watch some of the over 500 videos posted on my YouTube channel.  I need your visits, clicks, comments, Likes and Shares.

I can’t get Adele, Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters or Jay Z to play for you.  Yet.  But I can get Kayla Kroh, Sarah Blacker, Lovebettie, Face for Radio, Bruzer Wyatt and dozens more.  Never heard of them?  You never heard of Adele five years ago either.

I was glad to hand out all that candy.  I was happy to attend your sporting events, plays, concerts, musicals, recitals and galleries.  I wrote your letters of recommendation, coached you, tutored you and lent an ear when you needed to talk.  You loved sharing your music and discussing your interests in my classroom.  I’m still listening and still trying to serve you.  I need your feedback.

If you are not a former student, I need your feedback too.  While I was serving our posterity in the classroom, I surely missed some good stuff.  Share it with me and I will share it with them.  We can all teach and learn together.  Music makes fear go away!