Band girlfriend skips shows: bad girlfriend?
July 19, 2007 6:38 PM   Subscribe

So, the new boy's in a band! When one has just started dating a musician, does one need to go to every show, or is, say, one out of two ok? Does one need to sit in the very front?

It's not that I don't like the music -- I just don't always like going to shows alone, and I don't always have the time. I also don't know if going to too many shows would seem overeager.

(Asked anonymously because of my tangled web of mefi relationships, and a desire not to jinx things...)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
It depends on the relationship! My husband's a musician, and I tend to go to most of his shows, though not with the same fervor as when we were dating. My best friend is married to a drummer, but she only hits up the occasional show because she's not into live music. I think it's important for him to know that you support what he does, and he'll love seeing you in the crowd, but I imagine he'll be understanding if you don't make it to every single one, especially if he plays a lot.
posted by Zosia Blue at 6:47 PM on July 19, 2007

How often does he play? If it's once every few months or less often than that, go to every one to the best of your ability. If it's a weekly or more often thing, go to the first one you can, and then whenever you feel like it after that!

People vary, but when I was regularly performing I loved it when my SO went to shows but certainly didn't begrudge her if she wasn't there. Her being there every time would have probably made we worried that I should be paying more attention to her when I was doing my usual post-show social rounds or packing up or whatever...

Perhaps obvious, but if you're not helping him move stuff or setting up his stuff, pay the cover / buy a ticket! And if they're just starting out, bringing a lot of friends will certainly help!
posted by neustile at 6:52 PM on July 19, 2007

You should read this very recent thread for melissa may's link to a craigslist message.
posted by iconomy at 6:52 PM on July 19, 2007

And don't be the jealous type. No matter how big or small the band, he'll have groupies. Pre-deal with that, and you'll be happier in advance. :)
posted by rokusan at 7:10 PM on July 19, 2007

Yeah, definitely go to his shows and show your support! Bring your girlfriends or go with the other band member significant others and have fun. My guy has been in various bands and I have went to most of the shows and once in awhile will help with the merch table. I don't go many of the out of town shows, mostly because it's not that fun for me to sleep on someone's living room floor or share a hotel room with a bunch of stinky guys.
posted by pluckysparrow at 7:10 PM on July 19, 2007

You don't need to go to all the shows, and you don't need to stand in front. But you should take lots of good pictures at the shows that you do go to, and ask him if he wants you to come to shows before you decide not to go.

Note: Some of this depends on his age and maturity level. There are doubtless some musicians who expect their girlfriend to be their #1 groupie, and maybe he's one of them. Wives & girlfriends of the guys in my band come to about 50% of our shows, and we dig it. They don't stand in front.
posted by The World Famous at 7:15 PM on July 19, 2007

At the beginning I went only sometimes so I wouldn't seem too interested or dependent. I would try to sit close to the front, but on the side. I leave front-center for the big fans.

Now that many years have passed I go all the time, and bring various friends and supporters. I also take photos, which seems useful, and work the merch table when it's helpful. But I don't go to soundcheck or hang out backstage the whole time. Occasionally I'll go to a soundcheck to take photos, but the rest of the time I show up like a regular audience member... I don't like feeling like I'm a hanger-on, or that I have to protect him from groupies.
posted by xo at 7:20 PM on July 19, 2007

Its your behavior at practice that will seal any deal.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:20 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

Zosia Blue is right! it really depends on the relationship.

i've never dated a musician, but i play in bands and my partner likes to come and support me when can. i know he likes seeing me play and he's not really alone because he usually gets along with my bandmates. if he can't make it to a show it's not a big deal, but we aren't the clingiest couple. i know he doesn't like going out as much as i do, and he's got other obligations.

it might take time, but you should be able to find a balance that will work with your expectations and your guy's expectations. since things sound pretty fresh, i would probably go to most of the shows, but mostly as an excuse to spend time with the guy and to show my support. when you live with him, it's not such a big deal. (and don't be the jealous type regardless.)
posted by kendrak at 9:53 PM on July 19, 2007

What is with all of these band girlfriend questions lately?

Your boyfriend probably shouldn't be playing the same town all that frequently, so you should try to go to the shows that you don't have a good reason for not going to, because every body in the crowd counts, especially the ones that are energetic. Besides, it'll be a chance to hear some other bands you've never heard.

Perhaps obvious, but if you're not helping him move stuff or setting up his stuff, pay the cover / buy a ticket!

No, don't do this, it would just be awkward.

And if they're just starting out, bringing a lot of friends will certainly help!

That's the most helpful thing to do.

Helping out at the merch table is also a really nice thing to do.

And I don't see why you'd want to be at practice.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:03 PM on July 19, 2007

Oh, I forgot to add, you can tell someone is cool if they go to shows alone.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:13 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

Go to as many or as few shows as you feel comfortable. Your preference will probably change over time, like those above.

The advice about groupies is right on. He could be 4th kazoo in a German accordion and kazoo reggae cover band, and he'd still have groupies. Just the way it is. Prepare yourself, and be ready to see very scantily clad and excessively enthusiastic girls drape themselves on him at any opportunity. Just chuckle to yourself and remember you are the one he's going home with.

Don't go to practice unless there is a damn good reason, and even then, make your presence brief and unobtrusive.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:38 PM on July 19, 2007

Go. Just do it. If your schedule allows it. You can be supportive and have a good time at the same time. If you can, bring a friend so you don't get utterly bored which can happen after you've heard the umpteenth black metal version of "96 Tears." When my wife attends shows, she stays in the background, doesn't try to imbue herself with the band. She's awesome and I treat her in return. She enjoys herself for the most part. Of course that was early on with my current band.

Now, my wife absolutely refuses to attend shows because she has been to many before. She gets bored. She's heard all of our songs so much from my practicing at home or having it on in the background.

She has expressed concerns that I may run off with a "skank" or "ho" of some type but I'd never have the balls to do it. I call her daily from the road whether I'm gone for a week or just doing a one-nighter. I do miss her and my daughter when I'm out and that's something some bimbo from Pigspittle, Ohio could never replace.

But yes, do go and be supportive.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:42 PM on July 19, 2007

Currently I'm active in four. Had several girlfriends at points when I've been active in anywhere from 3 to 5 bands.

Be at every show? Stand in front? No. That would eat up all the time that she has complained about me not being there for her. I've considered my girlfriend's role to do what she wants. I'd no more EXPECT her to be at shows any more than I'd expect her to be at my session work or others expect their girlfriends to hang out at their office.

I'm more appreciative of her company when I'm out to see a show.
posted by sourwookie at 10:44 PM on July 19, 2007

I always liked it when my GF would come to shows she wanted to see and avoid those she didn't. The support was nice, esspecially for big-deal shows (playing on a bill with a famous band, line-up change, cool venue, like that), but she didn't need to be there all the time. If she got bored I would have felt bad about it.

Play it by ear, though; if he's insecure or new or awfully young he may kind of need you there, but if the reverse is true he'll probably just want you to enjoy yourself.

If he asks you to be his 'personal roadie', decline.
posted by Pecinpah at 5:42 AM on July 20, 2007

Go when you feel like it or when he wants you to go. Don't go to practice, Don't help set up (unless he asks you to do something minor. e.g. "could you hand me that guitar stand?"), Don't be a "roadie", Don't sit front and center, Don't buy a ticket/pay a cover.
posted by nimsey lou at 7:48 AM on July 20, 2007

used to date a feller in five bands, with 3-4 shows a week. there was no way i could go to all his gigs, so i tended to pick ones at smaller venues because i think they are more fun. no doubt, he'll think its great to see you out there, but don't feel pressured to be at all of them.
posted by ms.jones at 8:12 AM on July 20, 2007

I've been in bands as long as I've known my wife, and I think her lifetime attendance rate is like 33%. Which is fine. One thing that I've always been hung up on is that i don't want her- or any of my other friends- to feel obliged to come to shows. But I've lived in the Midwest my entire life, and trying not to be a burden on other people is sort of the regional religion.
posted by COBRA! at 9:27 AM on July 20, 2007

I've been in several bands, from mildly successful ones to ones no one would give a lick about. For me, the only time it would really disappoint me if my SO didn't come to a show would be when I was playing what I thought would be "an important show" that we needed to try to get alot of people to come to.

Other than that, I mostly tried to leave it up to my SO. With my wife, it's was nice to see her in the audience, when she came, but I was never upset with her when she didn't. She has a life of her own to, and doesn't have to spend her time supporting "my music."

As far as practice, being there is usually a bad idea, especially as you get older. If you're 20 it happens all the time, if your SO is in a bit older band though, it's bad form to bring people along to practice (IMHO).

If you do come to shows on the guest list, please offer to work merch.

Don't worry about where to stand. Unless there's no one there, then stand up front.
posted by drezdn at 10:26 AM on July 20, 2007

Go to the first two or three if you can. After that, whenever you want to depending upon how often they're playing in your town. Three times in one month? Try to go to one. Three times in 4 months? Try for all of them. You're never obligated if it's going to interfere with your job/studies. Stand/sit wherever you're comfortable. You're not obligated to be front and center acting like Fan#1, just be one of the crowd (but where he can see you), and clap just a little louder and a second or two longer than everyone else. If he thinks you're obligated to go to every one and act like a starstruck groupie, he needs to get over himself.
posted by Martin E. at 12:38 PM on July 20, 2007

Don't worry about where to stand. Unless there's no one there, then stand up front.

That's a good point. If you're not usually one to be energetic at shows, you shouldn't feel obligated to perform or something, but if the room is pretty empty or nobody is getting into it it's a real bummer when the people you know are the ones standing way in the back or having loud conversations or whatever.

After that, whenever you want to depending upon how often they're playing in your town. Three times in one month? Try to go to one.

Tangential, I know, but again, the same band should really not be playing in the same town three times in a month, unless they're playing to sold out crowds or something.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2007

If he's a reasonable guy (and he must be, or you wouldn't be dating him), why not ask him?

It's easy. "Hey, which of these shows do you think I should come to?"
posted by tangerine at 1:37 AM on July 21, 2007

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