The vast majority of men I meet at shows are lovely. They’re respectful, kind, thoughtful and genuinely fun to sing for. When I have a crowd of men and women who are like that, I feel free to have fun with them. I smile. I flirt. I dance and have a great time with my band. And when the band is having a great time, the audience can feel it. And that helps them have a good time, too. That’s what we’re there for after all: a fun night of live music.
That’s why I truly wish that a few drunken, entitled creeps (DEC’s) wouldn’t try to ruin the experience for the rest of us.
At a recent gig, a very drunk man repeatedly approached the bandstand and grabbed his genital area directly in front of me. When I ignored him, he grew belligerent and started yelling. He would leave, only to come back five minutes later for an encore of his nasty, disrespectful antics.
In addition, he approached other women at the venue, grabbing them and grinding on them much to their discomfort and chagrin. This happened for almost two hours before someone finally said something (I couldn’t, I was in the middle of a show) and he was sent packing.
This is different from mere heckling (which I can handle without assistance). The kind of behavior I’m talking about is threatening, sexual violence-charged, and scary. It makes me feel unsafe – like I have to watch my back if I step outside or go to the bathroom on a break. And when it happens during a show, I smile and flirt less and retreat more into the music. I interact with the rest of the audience as best I can, but that can be hard when the DEC puts himself right between me and the rest of the crowd.
Live performance requires tremendous vulnerability. As a singer, I have to bring down my walls and engage with my audience. When there’s a DEC in my face, I can’t do that nearly as well. I have to self-protect and attempt to shut the guy down. If I don’t, the situation can go from uncomfortable to truly dangerous very, very fast. That’s the antithesis of putting on a good show.
So folks, the next time you’re out and someone is harassing the performers (especially a guy harassing a female performer), please don’t let them get away with it. You’ve payed good money to see a live show and the DEC is ruining it for you by diminishing the quality of that performance.
You have a right to see a show that doesn’t involve DEC’s. Please stand up for that right by taking five minutes to tell someone – a bouncer, a manager, a bartender – what you saw and point out the DEC. You will make the show and the night better for yourself and everyone around you. And if you do it at my show, you will have my gratitude and respect.
To the person who finally got the DEC ejected from my recent gig: thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a real fan and I love you! Hugs forever, Tae