Two weeks ago, my percussionist, Nathan Lathouse, and I played our longest standing, suburban, Mexican Restaurant house duo gig. For those of you not familiar with such industry lingo, the term “house” applied to the term “gig” refers to the fact that you are a regularly featured act at that particular establishment/location. In our case, we’re there every other Friday, and have been almost consistently in some form or another for nearly 6 years.
As any professional, performing musician will tell you, running a house gig for that long can get some what tedious, monotonous, and down right old. So to keep things fresh, Nathan and I like to play games with our audience from time to time.
My favorite and most commonly utilized game of choice is “Name the Artist, Get a Free Shot,” which is every bit as self explanatory as it sounds. If I’m not getting any takers on the free shot game, I will switch to “the Alphabet Game.”
“The Alphabet Game” is where we go through our song list alphabetically, playing one song that starts with each letter. When we get to Z, we go backwards. We make it a point to announce this process before and after every song until people start to a.) play along, naming their favorite song that starts with whatever letter we’re on, or 2.) get even more bored and eventually leave.
On this particular Friday night two weeks ago, Nathan came up with a new, rather macabre, yet intriguingly entertaining game called (as the title of this post would suggest) “Who Do You Want to Cater Your Funeral?”
Maybe it was the bourbon starting to take effect, but I immediately found this question to be thought-provoking and brilliantly original. So I proceeded to poll the audience, time and time again, before and after every song. To my astonishment, they participated; probably moreso than any other instance of any other game we’ve ever played from the stage.
Our eRequest system exploded with requests, and people started coming up to the stage to put money in our case and let us know who they decided they would want to cater the remembrance of their life after their inevitable death. I was fascinated by the level of participation given the slightly older demographic, and the fact that most everyone was in the middle of trying to have a nice, quiet meal with their family. Who wants to think of their own, imminent demise in the middle of dinner, let alone actually make plans for what would happen afterwards?
The answer is…a LOT of people, apparently. But perhaps the most fascinating, most surprising aspect of this game was its outcome. The majority of participants did not pick the restaurant we were all currently patronizing, but a less upscale, more casual version thereof. The majority decision, randomly enough, was Willy’s Mexican Grill.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Willy’s as much as the next person, and when I used to frequent Piedmont Park more in my “young, in-shape, looking to workout, get me off this couch and away from this fully stocked bar” days, I’d destroy a chicken burrito bowl from there on the regular. But for my funeral? I mean, technically, I won’t be there so I couldn’t care less, but in theory, I’d want people who cared about me enough to come to such a thing to eat something more than one step up from Taco Bell.
Neverthless, congratulations, I guess, to our winner!? Willy’s, I guess you can now truly say, “We’re so good, we make people want to die!”
Who do YOU want to cater YOUR funeral? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a gift certificate to a yet unnamed restaurant.
This whole experience reminds me of the most genius bit of stand up comedy re-animated with legos of all time: