Andrew and I are setting up our sound system on this beautiful outdoor patio at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA. The gig is a corporate party for Apple and we are stoked! We’ve played some corporate gigs for big companies, but Apple feels particularly special. And the venue is an indication of this. The Mountain Winery is more than just a winery, it also contains a beautiful amphitheater for concerts and a massive outdoor space for parties and weddings. It is a top-notch venue. It is an exceptionally clear day and the view all the way around us is super dope, filled with rolling hills, clusters of trees, and vineyards for miles and miles.
As we complete our setup we notice that people are beginning to arrive, but they’re not coming to the space where we are set up. We double check with the event coordinator that we are in the right spot. She says yes, so we begin to play as we are now on the clock. But no one comes into the space we are playing in. We play to nobody, literally nobody, for 45 minutes. We take our first break as food is beginning to be served. When we start our second set some people have made their way onto our patio to sit and eat. Still nobody claps when we finish a song and very few people even look at us. We are a live version of an acoustic Spotify playlist.
This has been the trend with the corporate parties we play. The bigger the companies, and paychecks that come with them, the less attention we get. In some ways this is great because the gigs are easy and predictable. We show up. The event coordinator tells us where to set up. We do our acoustic Spotify playlist thing for a while. Take a break while we put on an actual Spotify playlist. Play more background music. Get fed lunch or dinner (it’s almost always hella good). Play a little more. Pack up. Rinse and repeat.
At the end of it, the event coordinator gushes about how good we were and how much everyone loved and appreciated our music. Even though there was no outward indication of this love and appreciation, I believe her. But my soul still dies a little.
As a musician it hurts to play music in a way that doesn’t feed my soul, but as human being feeding my bank account often takes precedent. And when I’m keeping it real with myself, getting paid well to play any kind of music at a bougie winery is a pretty sweet deal.