I walk into Urban Lounge last night for the Passion Pit show, vaguely aware that something peculiar is afoot. For the first 20 minutes, neither I nor my friend knew anyone in the crowd. Somehow we didn't notice the obvious until one guy we did know said, "Provo came out. That's why no one is drinking."---
Ah, of course. I've seen this before. When I saw Neko Case at Suede (RIP) up at Kimball Junction (June 2007), a large portion of attendees weren't drinking and had that clean, Mormon-hipster look to them. When I saw Sigur Ros at The Depot (May 2007), despite a sold-out show at a huge venue, the bartenders were waiting in line for me to order, not the other way around.
It's hard to know what shows those (mostly) sober youngsters are going to come to; at least it is for me. Provo hipsters look cute, dress trendy, they sometimes have asymmetrical hair cuts, they like good music. Usually the only way one can tell that "Provo showed up" is the lack of people imbibing.
I'm not criticizing the non-drinkers and I certainly want Mormon music fans to mix with the gentiles. But as a former bar back who worked for tips at a jazz bar, I just wish they would order something other than water or at least tip when they do so! They paid the ticket price, of course, but music venues are like movie theaters: they make most of their money off concessions, not ticket sales. And at a show like Passion Pit--sold out and sought after--other people would have bought those tickets and would have bought more drinks. So it's sort of a bummer for the venue and staff when Provo comes out.
I have a proposal: many of these sober kids already do, or someday will, tithe 10 percent of their income to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Can they, the ones that actually go to good music events, tithe just 1 percent to music venues? Is that too much? Ok, well, I'd settle for a .5 percent tithe. Can we agree to that?
Or they could just join the party and have a beer.
By the way: PASSION PIT WAS AWESOME!