I once heard it said that it’s not the amount of applause after a performance that tells you how good it was, but the silence just before the applause.

I won’t pretend that I’ve held an audience spellbound enough to garner that moment of awed stillness, but it does make me reflect on something. For years now, I’ve been playing at Toronto folk venue the Free Times Café. And more often than not, I’ve had a very rapt, respectful crowd at those shows. I’ve played my trilogy of pretty, sad and pretty sad songs(“Don’t Cry”, “The Fair’s In Town Tonight”, “Against the Northern Sky”) and the room has been dead quiet. It’s quite a compliment and oddly quite a rush for me as a performer.

Lately however, I’ve had a rapid-fire opportunity to play at three different Toronto venues: Cadillac Lounge, Koolhaus and Holy Joe’s. Cadillac Lounge was cool, but the other two, well, I got a dose of reality. The reality of “if they don’t know your music, they’re going to talk over you”. I don’t blame them, really. I’ve always been quite cognisant of the fact that no matter how great I believe my music to be, somebody else will think the complete opposite. Oftentimes, that person will be in the room during your show. Oftentimes that person will have something to say loudly to the person next to them during your set. But as the cliché goes: if you can just reach one person…

…And I consistently do. The Koolhaus gig was an expensive advertising fundraiser with high-powered execs with an open bar at 5pm where I was playing off in a corner. I did my thing, nobody was really paying attention, but after I wrapped up my set and was packing up, one of the wait staff gave me a “hey man, nice set” and really, that’s all I need to hear.

I wrote a song, and someone else dug it. Très cool.

Blue Blue Satellite

Advertisements