Last night, restless and wanting to get out the house for anything, we decided to head down to Mercy Lounge's 8 off 8th, a.k.a. "Anybody Who Wants to Play Can Play" night to see some bands. This one was sponsored by BMI, so we figured there had to be some raw, undiscovered talent somewhere in the bunch.
Well, there wasn't. But it did remind me of how much you can tell about a band before they're even through setting up their gear. Here are some warning signs that the next band will not rock and is getting ready to beef.
1. String Overload
This one's pretty basic. Find the bass player. Count the strings. If there's more than 4, get comfortable, 'cause there's no rock coming, just funky beef.
2. Piano, Stage Center
If the band's roadie puts a wide stand in the middle of the stage, that means the band is piano-driven, and the singer probably plays piano and sings. Translation: The next act will be wordy and heartfelt, and already refuses to rock. Ready yourself for a beefy interlude.
3. Small Combo Amps
Check out the band's amps. If the band uses two or more small combo amps (An amp in which the speaker and amp are built into the same box) the band will not rock. You know why? Because they didn't even rock at practice. They just heat beef in a small, carpeted room.
4. Guitar Cable Straight In
Take a look at the guitar players. Are their cables wrapped around the guitar straps and then plugged in, or just sticking straight into the guitars? If it's the latter, chances are the player just plugged his/her Stratocaster in for the first time last week when they bought it from Guitar Center, a store whose patrons only manage to beef as a hobby.
5. Your Highness
If *any* guitar player setting up could possibly rest his/her chin on the top of their respective guitar, they might as well be resting it on the beef.
6. Pant Check
Attention local rockers: there has never been a great band in rock history that has ever worn loose/relaxed fit light blue jeans onstage. If the band can't even manage to not dress like their own Dad, it's safe to say you will not get rocked, and you'll be enjoying hot beef throughout the entire set.