Over the years, my oldest brother Stephen entertained many in local Bangor Maine music bands.
As a kid ten years his senior, I remember a household of music. Steve’s contribution was the Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, the rhythm and blues. He played the piano at my mother’s urging. We all got exposed to the ivory keys growing up, taking lessons.
Local Bangor Maine clubs were the venue for folks to tap their toe, hum or sing along and to dance. But I got to see more than the finished product, the showmanship on stage. In addition to the entertainment of Maine patrons that followed whatever particular band he was in, he would tell me what he saw from up on the stage of the Eagle’s Club, The Red Barn. Or where ever the musical gig the band would hustle to set up in. Work in and then tear down heading home from at two AM or later. No matter what the weather, holiday, economy.
Like a Maine radio station, the boogie woogie, country, rock or whatever music you have in your on stage mental juke box of band selections, your entertainment adjusts to the crowd. Each party crowd like any person is different. But bottom line is the same though.
No matter what kind of week the club, bar, wedding, office party goers had, it is the Maine band’s job to make sure the group leaves the musical dance sessions happy.
Danced out with a song in their head and hearts to last until the next meeting, link up.
Some in the audience for the night enter the bar removing wedding rings. Looking for something, some one. Others are happily married couples out to cut the rug. A few tables down front is a group celebrating something big. Many nights the place is packed. Some the other extreme and slow nights with snow coming down outside. A hard crowd to please a challenge. But you have your regulars too. You see new faces in the crowd that show up better when they are on the dance floor. Before they slip back in to the darkness beyond the bright colored spot lights.
Steve as the singing piano player would remind the audience to tip your waiters, waitresses. That they work hard to make sure you have a good time.
And if you are not having a good time, it is your own fault.
Reminding folks to please don’t waste all this good Maine live music. And at closing time, when the house lights go up and temporarily blind, wishing folks good night and safe driving. And that he does not care where you go now, but you can not stay here. And lastly telling those looking for the next opportunity to hear a live music Bangor Maine dance band where they will set up, tear down next at a club, bar, bottle club near you.
Bootleg was the name of the Bangor Maine band that was my oldest brother Steve’s most polished, popular band. But long before reality shows, the ups and downs of the band part of the experience, behind the scenes all rolled in to playing in one. Replacing a member, auditioning a new one. Personalities and chemistry that works. Or does not. The ride in performing music on a smaller scale in Maine.
Making music, entertaining and being able to get that table over there to do some dancing an art. To know what it is going to take to get them to shake, shimmy, move and groove and jive. To dance meant dialing in, adjusting the selection of tunes to the point where they can not just sit there and watch. They have to dance. Have to have fun and put behind them a bad week. Or celebrate the end of a good one.