self care or selfishness?
February 22, 2022 11:29 AM   Subscribe

My band had a show scheduled for Friday that fell through. Other bands with friends of mine are still playing that night. I feel I should go to be supportive, but I am also really sad. Trying to figure out what to do.

I released my debut album at the end of January. It was to be followed by a three show "mini-tour", one in upstate NY, one in the Hudson Valley (where I lived for 20 years), and one in NYC. The NYC show was the biggest one planned, with me as headliner and two other bands who are friends of mine supporting as opening acts.

Due to a supreme fuck up by the NYC venue, my date was double-booked. My set was supposed to start around 9:30 or 10 and got bumped back to midnight or 1am. Basically they "solved" their fuckup by having the bands they double booked with our bill play first. I get it, I'm a nobody, no one knows me, I only just released my first record and have no fan base in NYC (the HV show was PACKED, record-breaking attendance since the start of COVID for the venue - don't worry proof of vax or mask were required at the door). But that's why I got two city bands on my bill, to bring people in!

When I told my band that we would be going on at midnight or later my rhythm section balked. Hardcore. My bass player, who has been gigging all over New York for 30 years, said that it was clear this venue was disorganized AF, we probably wouldn't hit the stage till 2am, and was very unimpressed by the venue's admittedly unimpressive website (hasn't been updated since August). On top of that, our show isn't even on their events page. She pointed out that they are clearly not supporting our show by bumping our start time and not promoting us, they double booked the date even though we'd confirmed the date back before Xmas, and she thinks we can find/do better. My drummer, the other 30 year touring veteran in my band, agreed. They both said it wasn't worth it and they're too damn old to be up that late (drummer also has long-haul COVID symptoms - he got the Delta varient in November, which makes drumming difficult for him - he's been taking leftover prescription Tylenol from a root canal to get him through the two shows we already did - he only confessed this last night as he didn't want to worry us while we were rehearsing) plus bumping me till late was not fair to me.

Honestly? I don't blame them. I get where they are coming from. And I was deeply unhappy with the way the venue handled this too.

So, I canceled my set. I can't play without a rhythm section, and they are very adamant that they will not do this show.

The other two bands on the bill will still play as they are NYC based and also will be starting earlier in the night.

I took PTO for Friday to make this show work. I have a three hour drive to the city. I was also planning on staying the weekend with friends who I haven't seen in months.

Right now I feel the kind, supportive thing to do would be to go to the show anyway to support the other two bands, then abscond to my friends' house. At the same time, I am extremely upset and disappointed to lose the last stop of my mini-tour, as well as the way the venue painted me into this corner. I have been having a rough few weeks generally with depression and seeing the show I was supposed to be headlining might just make me a basket case. Maybe I should stay home and drive down to see my friends on Saturday?

I feel like I'd be doing self care by avoiding the show and the sadness it would undoubtedly bring up. I also feel it would be selfish not to support the other two bands who were so kind and willing to join the bill to begin with and ensure I'd have an audience in NYC.

What should I do?
posted by nayantara to Human Relations (23 answers total)
If this is your tour, would you not just go first of the three bands that were on your original bill, to get the best slot?
posted by ominous_paws at 11:40 AM on February 22, 2022 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I'm not seeing anything in the question that indicates that your friends in the other bands will be bothered if you don't show up -- I can't speak for them, of course, but if I were in their position I'd totally and completely and absolutely understand you not feeling like spending six hours in a car to show up for a cancelled gig.
posted by ook at 11:41 AM on February 22, 2022 [19 favorites]

Echoing ominous_paws, have you not asked the other two bands you know if they'd let you go earlier? If they're decent people, I imagine they'd understand given the various circumstances surrounding your bandmates.
posted by coffeecat at 11:50 AM on February 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'd just to say hi before the set and let them know that you won't be sticking around.
posted by kschang at 11:54 AM on February 22, 2022

Best answer: Umm no I wouldn't go. You don't have to be a trooper and nobody is handing out martyr points here. You can just go an enjoy a weekend with your friends and pretend this isn't happening.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:59 AM on February 22, 2022 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: We should have done the set with me first, would have nipped this problem before it became a problem. My PR guy was dead set on me headlining in the traditional sense. I suppose we could have made the change last night when this all went down. I wish we had. But at this point the damage is done, the well has been poisoned for my bassist and drummer with this venue.

This literally all went down at 1am last night. Wish I'd thought about reordering the sets then. Fuck.

Well now I feel dumb.
posted by nayantara at 12:02 PM on February 22, 2022

for unknown bands the 'local sandwich' is the best bill you can manage- you go second, in-between two local bands. i always think first is a bit dangerous because people might show up late...
posted by noloveforned at 12:15 PM on February 22, 2022 [8 favorites]

Were these other bands doing you a favor in any way? (You said you got them on your bill to bring people in.) If so, I'd definitely go. Especially if you think you might want to work with them again. Otherwise, I guess it depends on your relationship with them and how you think they'd feel about it.

You say you think going might make you feel like a basket case. Any chance it could wind up being a good distraction instead? (You know yourself best here.)
posted by trig at 12:19 PM on February 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: ...or not come at all. That was our fear. We thought putting the two local bands with established fan bases first would bring people out to the bar and then after some happy fun drink music time they'd stay for me.


Feel dumb for not making the change last night. Hard to think when the venue dropped the bomb on us about the time bump at 10pm, I notified the band immediately, then woke up to a series of furious texts (on my behalf) from bassist and drummer at midnight. PR guy was awake but barely. We fucked this up. I feel even worse now.

Not going to this show I think.
posted by nayantara at 12:21 PM on February 22, 2022

Response by poster: Both bands consist of good friends. No favors. They wanted to support me. I'm going to stop thread sitting now as I just feel like a colossal moron for not reordering the set

Thanks all for your input
posted by nayantara at 12:23 PM on February 22, 2022

Best answer: Might not have made much difference - it would still have been problematically late, your rhythm section would still probably have been pissed off (and they could have suggested reordering too and didn't), and it might have sucked more for your openers. No reason to feel bad about not thinking of it.
posted by trig at 12:42 PM on February 22, 2022 [8 favorites]

Best answer: You really seem committed to beating yourself up over this. If it helps, I don't think you were dumb or a moron or that you fucked up. At all! You got a huge change dumped on you late at night about something very important to you. You managed your feelings and collaborated with your bandmates to come up with a solution under not-optimal conditions.

You say you've been dealing with depression recently which, of course, leads us all to be hard on ourselves. Please consider taking a moment to give yourself a moment of grace. You did fine! You had two successful shows! There will be more shows and you will do great!

And congratulations on your debut album! That's an amazing accomplishment.
posted by mcduff at 1:14 PM on February 22, 2022 [25 favorites]

Right now you are feeling as if the only way to express and honor your heavy, difficult feelings of disappointment and sadness is... to cancel your planned trip entirely and choose isolation over seeing your friends perform. In other words, the question, "Do I want to go to the city to see my friends perform this weekend?" is being answered in large part by the feeling of how crushed you are that your gig was cancelled.

Your feelings are totally understandable, and it's also completely normal for these feelings to be influencing your decision in this way. You really have suffered a major disappointment and anyone would feel the way you do.

But what if, in these few days that remain before Friday rolls around, you could find some other way to process and express and honor your feelings? What if you allowed yourself to be sad NOW and feel your disappointment NOW? What if you were to seek out support from friends and loved ones NOW? What if you could find a symbolic gesture to honor your anger and your loss NOW?

(Ideas: stick pins into a stuffed toy onto which you have stuck a printout of the venue's shitty website; write the name of the venue person who fucked up on a piece of paper and throw it into a bonfire which you build with a friend, and spend the rest of the evening eating cake and watching cheesy movies with said friend?)

Allowing yourself to express and process and honor your feelings in a different way might help you gain a bit more freedom in making the decision. You might choose to go to the city, or you might cancel your plans - but that decision will be made on its own merits, and not because your hurt feelings need your Friday plans to be their outlet for expression. More freedom is always better, yes?
posted by MiraK at 1:15 PM on February 22, 2022 [8 favorites]

Can you wait 24 hours to decide? This was all very fast and very disappointing. Let your emotions settle and you can get a better read on what is likely to feel better on the weekend.
posted by metahawk at 1:17 PM on February 22, 2022 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I think it would be beneficial to not think of it as a tour or a mini tour. I'm not trying to to dismiss the effort put into setting up the shows and playing them, but rather suggest that you reframe what those gigs are. A tour has a beginning and an end, and unless these were the last shows you were ever going to play, then there are more shows to set up and play. Rather than looking at the NYC gig as "one third of the gigs were canceled", put the energy into setting up another show, and then another one. Try to set up stuff in Binghamton, and Syracuse, and Utica, and Albany, and Schenectady or wherever you can get to fairly easily.

Also, I played in NYC once, while it was neat to say I played in NYC, that was all it was.
posted by jonathanhughes at 1:24 PM on February 22, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Unfortunately, NYC venues pull these kinds of shenanigans all too frequently. You are definitely not the bad guy here. I'm sorry you got victimized by this situation.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:06 PM on February 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Could you arrange to join one of the other bands onstage for a song or two? That could be cool, and a good way to promote your new record. "This is Nayantara, a friend of ours who has an awesome new album out..." That's some classic rock star stuff. Honestly having two more established acts open for a newer act could have led to a lot of walkouts before you even took the stage, and this way you're introduced to the crowd as part of a show they're already there to see.

Otherwise it sounds like your friends won't be offended if you don't go, and you'll be depressed if you do go. So, I'd say don't go.

Does this have to be the last show of your mini-tour? Set up another show sometime (or multiple shows) and keep the tour going!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:12 PM on February 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Gonna go against the crowd a bit here — if you don’t feel like going, don’t go! Drive down and see your friends on Saturday instead. It’s not selfish.

If you think that being there at the show will make YOU feel better and happier, then by all means, go. But if the only reason you would do it is to support the other bands and not feel “selfish”, skip it. It’s totally understandable that you wouldn’t feel like being there, and anyone who would judge you for that isn’t worth your time.
posted by mekily at 2:29 PM on February 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just feel like a colossal moron for not reordering the set

You're working with industry veterans. If they didn't propose reordering, it's probably because they were already over it (so they'd have been crabby just being at the venue) or some other reason (maybe that's rude?? I have no idea).

Do whatever makes you happy. If hanging out with friends in NYC makes you happy, maybe try to make plans for near the venue, so you can head over if you feel up to it. If staying home Friday and enjoying a glorious freeday, do that. I don't think anyone will begrudge you that.
posted by ghost phoneme at 2:40 PM on February 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Do you have merch that you were planning to sell?

I'm not familiar with the NYC music scene, but one artist local to me will usually go on and sing a number or two with her opening acts in their set(s), and then have the opening acts join her towards the end of her set. It helps that they are usually all folk-type bands, so there's a lot of classics that they all know.

Would it be possible to go on with one of the other two bands for a song or two, and then announce that you normally play with your own band, they 'couldn't make it tonight', but you still have merch available? Since they are good friends, maybe they can learn one of your songs well enough to play it, but even if you have to just cover something that you and the band already know, it would still get your name out there.

Obviously, only do this if you think it would make you feel better.
posted by yuwtze at 3:21 PM on February 22, 2022

Best answer: I have been in bands for 20 years, and have been screwed over so many times by venues. You have my sympathy, and my permission to skip this one. I see no upside to going. Send a nice message to your friends and onward to the next gig.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:12 AM on February 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all. I decided not to go, and the friends in the other two bands completely understand. They are grateful to me for not yanking the show entirely (as I had a right to do as "headliner") - they both have albums coming out soon so they need the exposure + whatever money they can get (though we have learned this venue can be shady about paying out the talent's cut of the door fee, something we wish we'd known before). Both bands are not happy with how I've been treated and are performing there begrudgingly solely because of their own impending album releases.

I had a long talk with one of my bandmates (not one of the ones who blew up my phone the other night) yesterday about how shitty I felt about the situation and how it was somehow my fault. He reminded me that initially, back in the December, we were confirmed for a 7 or 8pm start and the start time creep has actually been happening for a few months - so this venue has been shady all along and we didn't notice until this last straw. He also pointed out that even if we'd gone on at 9 or 10 the other two in the band (who blew up my phone) wouldn't have been happy about it, the drummer in particular could have gotten his health really fucked up because of his long haul COVID (even if we'd started at 10 he would have been loading out and driving home at midnight, probably in excruciating pain). He reminded me again that these two very valuable band members of ours are older than us by a couple of decades and have paid their dues in shitty clubs, and we keep forgetting they aren't our age and performing at 1 or 2am would just plain suck for them. He said he 100% agreed with the decision to cancel the gig and 100% agreed with our bassist and drummer to raise their concerns, as they were totally reasonable ones. And he also reminded me that even if we had changed the set order, one of the other two bands would have been fucked with a 1 or 2am start time and probably would have backed out. The venue put us in a shitty situation where we all were getting screwed and in particular I was being disrespected, and I made the best, most compassionate choice I could to safeguard the health of my drummer, the sanity of my bassist, and to salvage part of the show for the other two bands. That made me feel a lot better. Our bassist is going to start looking for other venues since she has more connections in the city. And we'll do another show in the Hudson Valley, where I have the biggest following. And maybe one in Saratoga Springs, near where I live now.

So even though I am still terribly disappointed not to get a city debut, this was really the only good outcome and I know I made the right call.

But I won't go to the show. I need to take care of my mental health and I was crying for most of yesterday and lost a full days' work in the process. I took a bath and played my uke for a while and it helped. I am still going to the city on Saturday to visit my other friends and have a fun weekend.

Thanks again for your kindness. Shady venues can go fuck themselves.
posted by nayantara at 8:12 AM on February 23, 2022 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Good. Stupid jerks. I think you made the best possible decision.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:41 AM on February 23, 2022 [3 favorites]

« Older What is happening with these offers to get free...   |   How do you decide to make big(ish) frivolous... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.