What time does a gig start?

This is a first canter round a subject where input is welcome...

In symphonic music the way sound comes out of silence is highly ritualized. Not one but two sets of applause so even those completely asleep get the point that the music is about to begin. And the norm is for the concert to start on time. And for the audience to get wedged into their numbered seats early.

Indeed norms are changing towards more rather than less punctuality. Classical venue owners need to make their real estate assets sweat. The Wigmore Hall had THREE events yesterday. Which meant that performers will have had a quick sound check or a Sitzprobe, and certainly not the indulgence of complete run-through rehearsals.

And classical audiences seem to go with the trend to clock-watching. They seem less fussed if they don't get encores. I'm thinking about those ostentatious leavers from the expensive seats, whose BlackBerries are already loading as they strut out past coach class...

In rock, the aura of the people who appear on stage is deemed to be of such sheen, that the audience is often expected to allow them to indulge themselves. The technicians and set designers and acolytes will have been there for hours setting up, they and the audience together are supposed to get the point that everyone has to turn up to pay homage to the record industry's myth factory, as and when and if one of its high-value icons choose to emerge on stage and be idolized.

In jazz there is a code, but it is different, more home-spun.

Ronnie Scott's cites an opening time of 6pm, and sets beginning at 7 and 8 30, but reserves the right etc. The two-house evening is now accepted for Fridays and Saturdays. (This is the norm at top clubs in the US. Yoshi's in Oakland, great club, has filled both sets whenever I've been there. The Duc des Lombards in Paris does what Ronnies does and has the two sets in the latter part of the week.)

Many other venues cite 8.30pm. Which in "jazz time" allows for a chat in your seat (you're at a table, why not? )and the set will start at 9pm or 9 15.

What are your ideas, your preferences in jazz???? Tell me. You never know, promoters might listen? Are you happy for the start time to be a bit uncertain. What annoys you? I will return to this subject I'm sure.

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