CAMDEN, N.J. — Epoch, a four-piece prog-rock band described as “a mix between Rush, Genesis, and Yes,” reportedly sent out a rider before embarking on their one-month tour, listing only a single requested item: an “audience, please.”
“We honestly aren’t picky,” said frontman Isaac Cherington, adding, “Just as long as they are standing, breathing, and swaying in a way that makes us think they might be enjoying the show is good enough for us.”
Tom Lindbergh was just one of many venue promoters who voiced doubts about fulfilling the band’s need for their concert to feature some sort of fanbase.
“I’ve had a lot of ridiculous requests, but this is just absurd,” said Lindbergh. “I could do a case of PBR along with a couple pizzas. Where am I supposed to find an audience for this band on a Saturday night? People make real plans on Saturdays.”
The band added the crucial item to their rider after forgetting to include it for their previous tour, which resulted in nearly empty shows for them every night.
“Now that it is in the rider, it is binding. The tour rider is a sacred document. It is the only thing that separates us from karaoke,” said Cherington. “We can bring our own food and drinks, but we can’t bring our own 250 people.”
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When first told of the outcry from promoters, the band held firm to their demands to play their music in the presence of pre-placed human beings, as opposed to empty ground or open space.
Guitarist Joe Benson was particularly adamant. “Going on tour used to mean something — specifically, that you would play music in front of people. It’s a shame that words just don’t have the same meaning anymore,” said Benson. “They don’t have to be attractive; we just need people. Maybe someone will buy a shirt. I don’t know.”
Realizing the futility of their request, drummer Todd Spangles sighed. “I didn’t want to have to resort to this, but we will totally accept an audience of pets as long as they human names,” he said. “Given the reality of the situation, it’s probably the best we can do.”