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March 3, 2010

'We're just taking notes for work'

the killersI make a living talking to people. If I don't talk to people, I don't get tips or quotes for stories.

When I review concerts, however, I don't have to talk to anybody. I just need to take notes.

But when I'm at a concert and people see me whip out my notepad and start jotting things down, they want to know what I'm up to. It's inevitable. Someone -- or multiple someones -- at each show point to my notepad and ask me what I'm doing.

I used to tell them the truth. "I'm reviewing the show," I'd say. They'd ask who I work for, and I'd tell them.

A funny thing happens when you tell someone that. They suddenly get the urge to tell you what they thing of the show. It all depends on how much they've been drinking (I don't drink alcohol when I'm reviewing concerts) ...

When I saw the Killers at Merriweather Post Pavilion last year, this middle-aged drunk dude next to me kept yelling crap in my ear, trying to sound witty.

"Brendan Flowers (pictured, top) is the Bono of your generation," he said. "You can write that down."


britney spearsThis doesn't just happen to me. It happens to all music critics, at some point or another. I was standing next to J. Freedom DuLac, the Washington Post's former music critic, at Britney Spears' Washington show a couple years ago, when a pack of teenage girls asked him why he was typing so furiously on his BlackBerry. He told them the truth.

They proceeded to pester him about how totally awesome Spears (pictured, bottom) was, and how every song was better than the last, etc. Hee hee.

Now, I have started fudging it a bit.

When I saw the Black Eyed Peas at Verizon Center last week, I sat near Chris Richards, the Post's new music critic (they like to put us geeks in a row). A row of feisty moms sat in front of us. They took a limo to the show, and had been drinking.

"Don't puke in the limo," one of them said to another one. Good advice.

Then they spotted us, taking notes.

"What are you doing?," one of them asked. "Are you taking notes for school?"

We stared blankly at them for a couple seconds -- just enough to make it awkward. I wasn't about to give us away. Richards had the best response.

"We're just taking notes for work," he said.

The moms quickly lost interest, and we went back to our notes. From now on, that's what I'm telling people. I'm just taking notes for work. Nice.

See you at tonight's Muse show. Guess what I'll be doing?

Also, you really ought to check out the Post's music blog, Click Track. Lots of cool stuff there.

(AP photos)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:08 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Random stuff


"Brendan Flowers (pictured, top) is the Bono of your generation," he said. "You can write that down."
Made me spit out my coffee. I was at that show. No, middle-aged drunk dude; No.

Or you could say tersely, "Homeland Security ma'am. Eyes front."

Along the lines of Owl Meat's response, but I always snap "Official Business" in a firm manner when people question my actions

applying logic to aforementioned topic:

brendan flowers = crap

To be fair to Middle Aged Drunk Guy, maybe he meant 'Bono' in the 'insufferable pr***' sense of the word 'Bono.'

I'll be there too!!!! Though not for work :)

I would probably give the "Bono of our generation" award to Chris Martin of Coldplay.
Who am I kidding? I'm 32....the Bono of our generation is Bono.

Owl Meat -- hahaha best possible response, hands down. I'm going to try and work that into daily routines, such as standing in line at the grocery story and dashing out of the Prime Rib without having paid my tab. Giggles.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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