Monday, July 11, 2011

What Makes a Good Gig

Our gangsta look
We've entered the busy season for our band. Weddings, parties, decks - the next few months have us busy more weekends than not. It can be exhausting. We do our own sound, so we have to pick up the gear, drive to the venue, set up, play, tear down, drive back, unload gear, and then get home. A 12 hour day is not unusual for us and, depending on the location of the gig, it can definitely be longer. And even though we "the band" get paid pretty well for most performances, as individuals, let me just say that it's best not to think in terms of hourly wages when we get our paychecks.

When we're done setting up, I am usually absolutely spent. At that point, I've already pulled the heavy seats out of my minivan, lugged gear up into it and then lugged it back out to set up. The past two gigs we've played have been outdoors, so we've also had heat to deal with while setting up. And as I've mentioned, I'm not the best person when I'm hot.

What's amazing to me though, is that once we start playing, despite the fact that I'm tired from driving and lifting and setting up, I can become fully energized. And one of the biggest factors in keeping this energy up for a full show is the crowd.

We've played a fair bit and it always kind of amazes me how much the crowd participation plays into our performance. When things are slow, we may start with lots of energy, but as it continues, we start to droop a bit. The hours before (and the threat of hours ahead) tend to weigh us down quite a bit and we can all feel it. What may have started as somewhat effortless all of a sudden becomes much more work.

But when the crowd is into it? Those gigs are fantastic. We tend to interact with one another a lot more, we have better interaction with the dancers, everything just goes much more smoothly. Don't get me wrong, it's still exhausting to rock it out for 3 or 4 hours, but the more positive feedback we get, the easier it is to keep going. We're there to provide the entertainment and to do our job, but when we have a good crowd, it is much for fun for all of us. We feed off of each other.
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. (Romans 1:11-12, NIV)
I think this passage shows that the same holds true for our faith. We need to encourage one another in our faith as well. It's really easy to point out areas where we think someone is lacking. This person isn't as kind as they should be. This person has questionable theology. This person should be serving more. And I'm not saying that we should automatically let those things go.

But we also need to be in the business of building one another up. We need to regularly encourage one another. What I love about this particular verse is that it seems that when we offer encouragement, our own faith is built up. When we offer encouragement to one another, we all benefit.

Encouragement. It can make for a good gig.
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