Thu 12 Feb 2009
Yes, that is @MCHammer.
My head is all a twitter with the events of last night. Where to start? Imagine us sitting on stage left at Galapagos Art Space. Behind us is a huge screen. On the screen is a steadily updating feed of tweets from all over the world. People are text messaging twitter with the word #shorty in their text and is getting posted to the screen. It’s almost the main attraction. Some of the comments are about the band, that is to say, comments about us. Some texts are quite favorable, some others not-so-much! Gradually a real-time debate develops on the screen behind us about the merits of what we were doing. It was totally surreal. The brainstorm hits to begin incorporating the text from the screen behind us into the lyrics. It has an immediate impact on the screen behind us. “Did he just sing that woman’s comment?” One woman said that she was so bored she was going to slit her wrists! Clifton tells the band that he wants the next break. We give it to him. He whispers into the mike, “Please don’t slit your wrists.” In seconds, she posts again: “Sorry.” This happened over and over again creating a very different form of dialogue. There was a flurry of comments about us behind us that I would read back and put some spin on.
When I wasn’t singing or playing trumpet, I was encouraged to tweet from my iPhone from the stage! I posted things like, “The band needs beer.” and “Clifton is going to start preaching. Listen now.” It appeared on the stage behind us. The world was watching and responding.
When I saw the first negative comment I had the obvious sinking emotional reaction. This was a pretty basic comment that was really the first piece of harsh criticism we had received – and in writing – and in front of an audience of the three hundred people – and in front of all the tens of thousands of people watching on line. Oh yeah, receiving written criticism about your performance while in the middle of that very same performance is a first and weird too. So, when I saw the line “This band Sux!” it kind of took the wind out of my sails a bit.
About thirty seconds later though I was excited and amused when I had a flash of insight. We had suddenly been thrust to the level where people with no personal connection to us were moved to appreciate, judge, talk about, defend, protect, haze, fall in love with, and diss . . . It felt suddenly like an enormous step in the right direction. I started to beam. And people were rallying to say great things about us too. No matter what it just started to make me happy. For the record: the positive responses to the band far far outweighed the disses. The negative stuff was good feedback to and often very funny. The positive stuff was very encouraging and we have many many more fans than we did before the event.
Another one of our roles besides simply being entertaining was to play about 26 little intros and walk-ons for the winners. Besides simple fanfares and atmospherics, we had to learn a few special songs. The person who one in the comedian’s category wanted us to Rick Roll him. So sure enough, we started playing that infamous “Never Gonna Give You Up.” We also were required to play the theme from Mad Men. And yes, we did play “You can’t touch this” to introduce MC Hammer.
The whole thing was very surreal. We are connected to another world now in a way that we weren’t before. That world has Fail Whales, Tweets, Shaq via satellite, 140 character updates, and MC Hammer.