By Scott Sechman/Correspondent
So…here we are, a month into the “season.” Many of our local musicians and singers are working now, thanks to venue owners who managed to get through the pandemic in the black and are also ready to bring music back to the stage.
Now, the duties of supporting live music and musicians rest on the shoulders of the visitors and residents who love it. Or, at least, tolerate it (insert “winkie” emoticon here).
There’s not a one-stop way to find out who’s playing where and when anymore. But with an Internet connection and the desire, the answers are often a quick Google search away. Musicians playing on the beach right now will appreciate any effort you make to find them and attempt to reward you for it…musically, of course.
On our beach, we have great food of every kind, some very incredible musicians and people who love to make other people happy. Whether you’re a vacationer or a longtime resident, there’s something for you.
Behind the scenes, those owning and managing these dining and crooning establishments deal with some crazy stuff when it comes time to provide “beach” entertainment, not even counting dealing with the musicians themselves. It’s a constant considerations game for venue owners: How do they maximize their budgeted entertainment dollars in a way that guarantees to bring in some business?
Will the rapidly changing daily weather patterns affect their ability to get folks to leave their vacation rentals and come to their venue to dig some tunes? (Especially those venues that only feature outdoor seating and music). If it rains, do we pay the players? If there’s a threat of heatstroke, (as a heat index above 100-degrees can be life threatening). What happens when they have a musician or band in full stage-garb with no place to go because of these concerns?
What about the demographics of their clientele? Will the music appeal to those whose contemporary music of their youth is now pigeonholed as “classic rock?” Those folks have, in many cases, a willingness to eat, drink and have a good time and many have big families in tow. Or, will they use the live music to draw in the youthful partiers whose enthusiasm knows no bounds and — despite not necessarily having the means — will find a way to get on board the party train and ride it until the sidewalks are rolled up?
It’s a tough business and is sure to keep us all on our toes. But you, dear reader, need not worry about any of it! All you need to do is pick a restaurant and let management take care of satisfying your entertainment itch. They have diligently compiled musical data annually and to help them curate their shows to what the clientele wants to listen to. They are more than ready to ensure your plates are full of local delicacies and your ears are tickled with the varying musical genres to compliment the dining experience. The musicians are ready, too. We are a pliable and compliant tribe. Ready, at the drop of a guitar pick, to cater to your every musical desire
You need some Jimmy Buffet? There’s not a one of us that can’t whup out a note-for-note version of “Margaritaville” in a New York minute. If you want to hear stripped-down versions of the latest and greatest hits from the unending list of musical sales charts on an acoustic guitar, you got it. Unfortunately, for fans of hip-hop and rap, we’re still trying to invent some combination of the X-rated lyrics and acoustic guitars. We aren’t there yet, but have no doubt…we’re on it.
We, as local purveyors of the fine arts, usually work out a deal with the employers that contract us. The best places, in my mind, will not only provide monetary compensation for our efforts, but also allow the welcome perk of a comp meal of the same caliber you, the dining and listening public enjoy. Yet in recent years, outdoor venues are providing singers with what I refer to as “in-flight snacks” — the ubiquitous, yet eerily tasty midge. As of late, these tiny little flying objects with a 24-hour lifespan congregate wherever they can find a light. By the end of the evening at an outdoor venue, I’d inhaled and otherwise ingested so many midges that I didn’t even feel the need to collect my negotiated takeout meal. I was stuffed.
But today, here it is Friday afternoon, and I’m prepping to hit the Bypass and scoot out to tonight’s gig. Sadly, no Midge benefit at this indoor show, but a “world-famous Rueben” awaits. It doesn’t get better than that. Does it? So get on out there and hop in the musical pool, y’all! The water’s fine.