You'll have to bear with me on this post (or skip it) because it's a little convoluted in my head. But it's still bothering me a little so:
Setting: Monday night at Great Scott in Allston Rock City.
1. The conversation - Earlier in the evening, I was talking to Gail and Rich about how ignorant many Americans are about Latino immigrants (Gail and I have both worked in kitchens where we met Latinos who quit their jobs as teachers and left their families to come to the US and work as dishwashers, where they were then treated like shit by idiot white kids who thought they were dumb because they didn’t speak English).
2. The band - Centromatic is an indie rock band from Texas with a little alt-country edge, that ranges from minimalist mellowish to rocky rock. I met the lead singer a couple years ago and he seemed nice.
3. The crowd - During the super soft sensitive opening band, I had to present written apology notes to little indie rock fucks who took issue with me whispering excuse me and trying to get past them to the bathroom.
4. The tequila – I was coaxed into 3 tequila shots over the course of the night to go along with a few beers, so I had a nice little tequila tinged buzz going on, but was by no means really hammered.
Centromatic was playing a pretty good show for about a hour. I was standing off to the side of the stage so I had a good view of the band and the crowd. Then these two young Latino guys stood in front of me to watch the band. They didn’t exactly fit in with the white hipster crowd (wearing a Houston Texans cap, dancing, not matching the cultural norm, I don’t know how to explain this I guess). Based on their appearance/behavior, I’d make an educated guess and say they were immigrants from Mexico/Central America. They were having a good time, not bothering anyone, just checking out the band. One guy turned to me and gave me the little head nod of approval and cheers clink of the beer. Then Centromatic played a slower song and they appeared to be into it and, in what appeared to be a pretty sincere move, the one guy went and put a dollar on the stage and when he didn’t get any response he said “hey buddy” (not too loud) and raised his glass up in cheers. Some people around him started laughing. I felt bad, so I tapped him on the shoulder and gave him a little cheers clink of the glass and gave the other guy a thumbs up. At the end of the song, some guy said “I’ve never seen that before in my life” and laughed. And then the band started joking about it, saying “someone just gave us a dollar. Someone just threw a dollar up on the stage. I guess that’s what we’re worth. A dollar.” Everyone laughed (most people, anyways). And the two guys stood there for a minute and then walked out embarrassed. Then I left in disgust and waited at the back of the bar for Gail and Rich. I wasn’t sure what to make of the whole thing, and I’d had a few drinks so I wasn’t going to say anything, but I also wasn’t about to stand there with the privileged class mocking the sincere gesture of the minority class (especially considering the minority class is currently being disrespected to historic proportions by the government of this country and the non-immigrant people that they’re pandering to with this new anti-immigrant legislation).
Did the band see him put it up there and just decide to make fun of him? If so, were they just clowning around and not being racist/classist/culturist/whatever? Was it all a misunderstanding where they thought he did it sarcastically and decided to throw it back at the heckler type of thing? And even if they were just clowning around, isn’t that incredibly crass to say “oh, thanks for your little dollar, I really want your one dollar” to a guy who likely valued that dollar more than they did? Or am I making prejudiced assumptions about the guy’s financial situation based on him being an immigrant (or at least a non-native English speaker)? Did they not see him put it up there or hear him say “hey buddy” and toast them? There weren’t that many people there. It’s hard for me to imagine, but it’s possible. I wasn’t on stage, playing a show.
When Gail and Rich came back and I mentioned it, she said she felt really uncomfortable about the whole thing too, so at least I know it wasn't all in my head. Rich didn’t see it and was therefore willing to give the band the benefit of the doubt. Which is fair. I still don’t know what the situation really was. I just felt nauseated by the whole thing because at a bare minimum, a bunch of white hipster Americans definitely saw it and definitely laughed at them and definitely did not seem to have any remorse about making these guys feel like shit and leave. Fucking pricks.