Dear Mother Maple: it’s going to be a bumpy night.

Mother MapleDear Mother Maple:

I was doing a show a few weeks ago with an opening act that I’d never worked with before. I was shocked when instead of his 30-minute agreed-on set, he went for almost an hour! What should I have done?

Don’t tread on me

Dear DTOM:

If only this were the first time someone had shared that tale of woe with Mother. I’ve heard it time and time again. Is it that some people lose track of time? Do their nerves get the best of them? Does the sound of an only mildly-interested audience create a rip in the space-time continuum?

Such highfalutin concepts are beyond the ken of your old Mother, dear. But it seems to me that you have a few options.

  1. use a bass string to slingshot a penny-whistle at them from backstage
  2. walk out on stage to join them for “their final song.”
  3. Beat them with an Appalachian dulcimer after they come offstage.

In all seriousness, it’s more than a bit rude of an opening act to eat into the time allotted to a headliner. After all, the people quite likely paid to hear that headliner, and the opener is a mere amuse-oreille, to quote my first husband — a way to tempt the ear, to get people settled into their seats and ready for good music. To go overtime is presumption, and it should not be tolerated.

But my suggestion:

Learn a little guile and start killing with kindness. If you need lessons, might I suggest learning a little from the Divine Miss B?

Mother Maple loves your questions. Send them to her at mothermaple@rootsmusic.ca

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