The Art of Simple Self-Promotion

So as I do concert reviews for this site, one of the things I try to consider is the band’s setlist.  At least as much of it as I can identify.  I’m reluctant to become the type of metal nimrod who stands in the midst of the pit, pen and paper in hand, asking those around him the proper spelling of ‘Efilnikufesin’.   Although I do find myself taking a lot of notes at shows now and not imbibing nearly enough beers, I do it behind the soundboard.  Like the other dorks. . .I mean, journalists.

But what I am puzzled by is how bands, especially opening acts who’ve never toured nationally before, don’t announce their song titles consistently.  I mean, I know it’s awkward and not ROCK N’ ROLL (like puking or breaking stuff), it’s simple self promotion.  How can you expect fans to become familiar with you if they don’t know your songs?  At Sounds of the Underground, there were bands who went through their entire set without even saying THEIR NAMES.

Now, the traditional thinking here is “they’ll go buy our cd” and find the songs they like haphazardly while listening to the whole disc.  True, the title of the latest and greatest cd by any band is not a big secret at any show.  In fact, it’s usually at the merch table right along side the t-shirts, stickers and thongs.  That piece of information gets disseminated to the masses about as subtly as groupies get invited backstage.

But guys, it’s old school thinking.  It ain’t 1987 anymore - the music business has changed (or at least the world has changed around it).  People can legally download just a single song now, often NEVER buying the entire cd from whence it came.  How are they gonna buy “that song with the killer guitar riffs, y’know man – the one where the singer really killed it!  Death. . .something”.  Oh yeah, you’ll really find a metal song if you can narrow it down to ‘Death’ in the lyrics.

In this age of  evolving technology, why not make your setlist(s) publically available, either beforehand or at the very least after the show somewhere.  Why can’t your vocalist stop pumping his chest long enough to say “This next one is called [Name Here]”?  Even for the big name bands, ’cause God knows I’ve seen enough lyric sheets up there.  If you need a crutch (and it’s YOUR song), then so do we.  Help us to love you, man .

Of course, none of that stuff applies to me.  If I don’t know the song, I just ask the guy next to me.  Like a big dork.

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