Pet Please #96: Big Bands in Small Venues

TyphoonNever have I wanted an encore more.

One of my favorite bands, Typhoon, had just finished an hour-long set at the Old Rock House in St. Louis. The crowd continued clapping and cheering as the band left the building to hang out on the patio.

We didn’t stop clapping until they came back in. “One more song,” the lead singer said.

“Three more songs!” someone in the crowd shouted back at him.

They settled on two.

I had never seen Typhoon in concert. In fact, as much as I love their music, I wasn’t aware of the size of their band until tonight: 11 people!

You know when you go to a movie that you previously thought was 90 minutes and you learn that it’s 150 minutes of pure awesomeness? You paid the same price, but you get so much more entertainment for your $10 (if it’s done well).

That’s how I felt tonight when Typhoon took the stage tonight with 11 people.

Possibly the best part about it is that it wasn’t a big stage. They were packed together up there. It isn’t a big venue at all. It’s big enough for maybe 300 people. But there’s no backstage, no labyrinth of tunnels for the band to use. They walked amongst us mere mortals on their way to and from the stage.

I’ve never felt the desire to reach out and touch a celebrity before, but I came close to doing so tonight. I mean, they were right there!

What’s your experience with big bands in small venues? Do you like it as much as I do?

8 thoughts on “Pet Please #96: Big Bands in Small Venues”

  1. Love Typhoon! Love The Old Rock House! Had to miss the show. Bummer. To see a band you love (or even just kind of like) is even better at a small venue. AND we have a bunch of great small venues here in St. Louis! One of my favorites is The Gramaphone. It’s a terrific little place on Manchester in The Grove. One night, I went there with some friends. There were about 8 people on a tiny stage with a TON of instruments. The best part is, they played for at least an hour while continuosly switching instruments! So cool to watch really good musicians up so close, then be able to talk about their music together over a beer.
    So ya! I love big bands in small venues!!

    • Kim–I’m sorry you missed out! It was an amazing concert. I haven’t been to The Gramaphone, but it sounds like my kind of place. What was the band you saw there

  2. I’ve seen the Javier Mendoza Band at the Old Rock House, as well as the Duck Room (Blueberry Hill) and at Borders. He was awesome in all three venues – they each had their own flavor. At the Old Rock House, he encouraged us to come down by the stage and dance (lots of fun!) … at the Duck Room, he went crazy and went all-out with his entire band (this was the first venue I had ever seen him at – loved that concert!) … and at Borders, it was just Javier and one other bandmate right there in the coffee bar – it was very quiet and simple. (I got to meet him, get an autograph, and get my picture taken with him.)

    Sara Bareilles put on a great show at the Pageant a few years ago … a little larger of a venue, but still small enough to enjoy the show, and see her singing and playing the piano pretty close-up. (We snagged some seats nearby to the stage.)

  3. Colleen, was that Sara Bareilles show at The Pageant the one with Marc Broussard? If so, that was a great show. The Pageant is still a bit on the large side, as far as smaller venues go, but it still has a great feel to it. I think it works well for her music since it’s very piano-heavy and intimate, but even when Marc Broussard got up there and let it rip with “Home”, there was a great energy in the crowd because you could get so close.

    • Katie, I honestly can’t remember if Marc Broussard played at that show, but he very well could have. The concert I saw featured Sara’s big hit, “Love Song”. It’s the only time I remember her playing at the Pageant several years ago, so we could be thinking of the same concert! I agree – I loved the piano, as well!


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