Encores are bullshit. I know it. You know it. Everybody knows it.
It's a formality that involves sitting around after a band's "last" song and then pretending to be excited when they return to play their big single. It's a total joke... a low-effort attempt to create a memorable experience. Honestly, who doesn't see it coming? Who actually thinks that the harder they cheer the more likely Smash Mouth will come back out to play "All Star?"
I like to imagine that, back in the day, some hard-rocking band like AC/DC would be heading to their tour bus after playing a killer set when they're stopped by the venue owner. He's disheveled, sweaty, and nervous. The fans are totally out of control and they're demanding more AC/DC. He's worried a riot will break out, so he desperately offers the band $10,000 to placate the frenzied mob. Angus Young waves the money away, casually says something about how they'll "do it for the fans," and they take the stage once more to play some crowd favorites. The fans go wild and, to this day, they still reminisce on the time their drunken fanaticism turned an amazing concert into an epic life experience.
Yes, I'm romanticizing this, but how awesome would it be if that's how things went? I've never seen anything like that, but last night I was fortunate enough to at least experience a legitimately earned encore.
JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound (highly recommended) was playing at the Apollo Music Cafe (also highly recommended). It's a seated venue that doesn't necessarily lend itself to dancing, and the host admitted she had no idea what to expect when she introduced the band (which was kind of hilarious). But JC Brooks put on an extremely high energy performance and the band members crushed their solos. It wasn't long before the crowd was totally won over and the tiny space in front of the stage was overflowing with folks dancing like crazy people.
When the host took the stage at the end of the show to thank the band, it was almost impossible to hear her over the cries for "one more song." After a couple minutes of unsuccessfully trying to wrap things up, she exchanging some queues with the decision makers up in the booth and then finally turned around and handed the mic back to JC Brooks. The crowd erupted into applause and the band played a phenomenal encore.
Everybody won. The audience had a great time, the band got to play more music, and the Apollo maintained its stellar reputation for being an incredible concert venue. Huge shoutout to JC Brooks and The Apollo for providing a legit encore, I appreciated it so much more knowing that we, as an audience, earned it.