Don't worry, this isn't an overly sentimental look back at the innocence of our youth (frankly, the more I hear my parents talk about their good ol' days, the more I wonder if those things actually exist in the way we perceive them). No, I just wanted to send some positivity out there, after this week's MIC Night at Stadz Pizzeria drew in 13 musicians, plus our Spotlight Star. Our signup board was completely full, and we hadn't seen that since before the shutdown last spring.
It was great to see, and even better to be a part of, because hosting is always a mix of several duties and tasks throughout the evening, often requiring multi-tasking and a keen understanding of what's happening in the venue. From the basics like mixing the performer's sound and being aware of who is playing next, to making sure the tight space the servers have to navigate through our "stage" area is clear, and trying my best to get to every table to show appreciation for who's there, every night is different. Over the last several months, our Monday event, which normally drew anywhere from 13 to 16 musicians, was averaging about seven.
Don't get me wrong, that's fine. We shortened our hours a bit, and the whole thing was a bit more streamlined. But coming off a couple years of a certain level of craziness, I found myself wishing for more. I could stay busy, but with fewer people to take care of, there was less running around to do. I could actually sit and have half a conversation with someone. I had mixed feelings about it because frankly, some of those crazy pre-Covid nights pushed me, the owner, and staff to our limits. But it was because we'd worked our butts off making this a success. A good problem to have, as they say.
This past Monday was a return to that craziness. The place wasn't full, but with 14 musicians to take care of, I was plenty busy enough. It felt really good, and coming off the last couple weeks of 2020, when we also had strong nights, I really feel this is a turning point.
People are numb to the "wear a mask, social distance" mantra. It doesn't mean we don't care, or won't comply, it's just that, nearly a year into this, we're tired. Sure, the vaccines are coming out, and that's allegedly our ticket our of this mess, but I remain cautious about just how effective the usage of them will be in terms of us as a society being able to lighten restrictions and truly get back to normal. I have to keep looking at this from a somewhat selfish point of view, you see. If venues remain unable to open at full capacity, then my potential to earn a living is diminished. That's the simplest way I can look at it.
I'm not glum about it. I'm waiting patiently as the next few phases in our economic recovery happen, and am actively looking for work, both in music and voice overs. In the meantime, nights like the one we had Monday do a heck of a lot of good for our spirits. We'll get there.