Elmhurst Pub Roundtable

Where the beer is cold and the conversation loud...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bar Tunes

Well, last night the little lady and I went out for a bit and ended up stopping at this bar down the way for a quick drink after we'd been out getting a birthday gift for my sister. It ended up being just that for a couple reasons, work today being one of them. But mainly it was because of the band that was playing there. They probably weren't horrible, but in a place meant to hold maybe 100 or 150 people, they were beyond loud and playing music that didn't even fit in with the kind of place it nomally is. You don't walk into an Irish bar and hope to see a band playing punk style music...well I guess it wasn't even that. They weren't a cover band either. I like to think that since Jared has better educated me in the ways of the Jedi that I know enough of that type of music to recognize SOMETHING out of 5 or 6 songs. Needless to say, we finished up our beers and quickly made our way to the exit. We were stopped by one of the staff members there asking what we thought of the band there and we relayed basically the same message. The whole thing, though, sparked a conversation between the two of us as to what constitutes "good" bar/drinking music. It gave me the idea to bring it up here.

Now I know everyone is going to throw out some classics like Bon Jovi, Journey, the stuff we listened to while drinking beers and playing games. But I'm talking more along the lines of people you see live. Most of us don't necessarily go out to see a particular local band. Let's face it, we aren't that cool. But we've all been out at places and heard a couple guys banging away on an acoustic or been to a place where a band ended up being on stage. Give you a for instance. Last year, spring/summer time I remember heading out with Mike and Tom in Boston and we went to Landsdowne. Instead of hitting the usual bars, we went to Copperfields. We were charged a 5 or 10 dollar cover and went down to see it be an almost amateur night theme. Berklee College of Music kids everywhere. Not a bad thing, most of these people are talented. But I can definitely say that the guy that was up there did not fit the style of music you expect nor was he really good. Another case of finish your beer and go. Music can make or break a bar. I mean, right now, one of the places I frequent is The Tap in Fan Hall. Sure, we all may have been there a lot, but the guys that play do a pretty good job, give you stuff to sing along to (even if it is the same almost every time) and you can still hold a conversation.

Mike and I were out in Vegas where we went to a country bar. Sure, it was for the mud wrestling, but the guys on stage there did a pretty good job and it made you want to stay and hang out. Couple that with random drink specials at weird points throughout the night and you had a solid place.

So what makes bar music? To me, it has to fit the decor of the place. It can't overpower you, most people still want to hear themselves think when they're out. And, if single, want to attempt to conduct conversation with members of the opposite sex. A lot of these places with the blaring dj's in close quarters make that virtually impossible. These bars in Boston should take a hint: We don't want to have to scream at the guy 3 feet next to us just to make a sarcastic comment. They lose their effect if not heard the first time. Make it easy on us, turn the volume down a bit, bring in songs everyone knows, and keep it in theme. I guarantee more people will turn out. Remember, I'm not talking club here, I'm talking the bars that most guys would rather be at. Clubs are a different animal entirely. In fact, let's not even think about that since we all know white guys don't dance anyway.

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