four kick drums and a community

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On Friday night I went to see the local band The 4onthefloor perform at First Avenue.  If you haven’t been to First Avenue before or are not familiar with the venue, it is the iconic concert venue in the Twin Cities.  It’s been the launching pad of so many Minneapolis acts that I can’t keep track, and it was the centerpiece to the Prince movie and album “Purple Rain.”  

The 4onthefloor have been one of my local favorites for a while now.  They actually inspired a previous blog post where I talked about their crazy work ethic.  Friday’s show was their first time as a headliner in the main room at First Avenue and they sold it out.  This is no small feat.  (For context sake, the main room at First Avenue holds about 1500 people).  It’s a pretty big deal in the local scene when you’re a local band headlining your first show in the main room and you sell it out.

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I’ve seen The 4onthefloor perform several times before and I have always like their catchy songs, their likeable attitude and the energy they bring to their performances.  But I also knew that I liked them for something more and I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

When they perform, it’s not just about the four guys on stage rocking out and hammering away on those kick drums.  Yes it is about the band, but it’s about how they share the experience with the crowd.  When you go to a 4onthefloor concert, regardless of the venue size, it feels like a celebration.  Whether it is how they are continuously thanking the crowd or expressing their gratitude to the hard working the bartenders and waitstaff or how they can break into an a capella tune that summons the entire crowd to sing along or whether it is something as simple as their t-shirt slogan (“I Kicked It With The 4onthefloor”), everything about this group is about creating a shared experience for everyone involved.

While I was standing in the middle of the crowd on the floor of First Avenue and I looked around at everyone singing along word-for-word, it hit me.  The sold out show was not just about the four guys on stage.  It was as much a celebration for the fans that helped get them there as it was for the band themselves.  (And for us marketers, I think this example is chock full of lessons.)

We hear all the time about how much people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, part of a community, part of a movement.  Well on that night, the band, the crowd and the venue were part of something bigger.  And we all kicked it – together.

(Photos courtesy of Shuttersmack Photography + Design.)

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