Last night was a good lesson. I did my usual type of show which has now become 80% chit chat and 20% music (humorous songs). I've been letting the talking do the talking up until now and it goes down well. But it fell flat tonight. I was on stage for 90 minutes and only realised afterwards that most of the audience don't speak English. The US border is 50km away (at least I'm saying kilometers) but a lot of people who I (tried to) speak to had never been there.
Louis the owner gave me good feedback. Less talking. One old man said "why is he talking so much, I came here for music?". He said that I made them feel stupid. They like to think they understand a bit of English so want to laugh along and don't mind if they don't understand everything, but if I make it obvious that they don't understand and ask them questions and wait for an answer then it makes them look bad.
With American audiences making them look stupid is half the fun. Such as a joke like that. They love the Englishman routine goes down well (apart from that one guy in Kentucky who went to get his gun). Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsay are all big in the States. Jamie Oliver needs to be more abusive.
Anyway, it was a good lesson, particularly because 90% of the people on the European tour later in the year won't speak good enough English. More importantly though, it's a big sense of liberation. I play in Quebec City tonight and can do all the songs that are just nice musically but get pushed out of the way by those that are clever lyrically. Every night I mean to do more of those but I always end up falling back on the tried and tested ones that get a reaction. People love to laugh so it's not a bad thing but it does get routine. I also spend time thinking up new links between songs to keep it fresh but if they don't speak English.... anyway it's refreshing!