In the span of two weeks University of Rhode Island freshman Patrick Brown was given the opportunity to open for Matt Nathanson, was turned down, and then given the gig back from Nathanson himself – all after posting a comment on the musician’s Facebook wall expressing his disappointment.
Nathanson is known for his hit, “Come on Get Higher,” and was hired by the Student Entertainment Committee to perform Sunday night in Edwards Auditorium, but he needed an opening act.
SEC held auditions in the Memorial Union on Feb. 16, which were open to the public. Brown said some performers came in to audition and others sent in videos of their material. After performing one of his original songs, “Tinted Windows,” Brown was chosen.
He said he could tell that SEC liked his performance.
“You could just tell that vibe in the audience, they seemed really excited,” Brown said.
That day Brown received news that he was chosen as the concert opener in an e-mail, and was told his performance had to be approved by Nathanson’s agents. SEC sent the agents a video of one of Brown’s performances, which he had taped about a year ago.
Brown said the agents were supposed to tell SEC the news within a few days, but it took them two weeks. On Feb. 28 Brown received an e-mail from SEC stating that Nathanson didn’t need him as an opening act because he was providing his own performer. SEC’s e-mail said it didn’t have anything to do with Brown’s musical talent.
He said the video that was sent to Nathanson’s agents didn’t give him justice, as his voice and overall talent has improved since last year, when the tape was recorded.
Brown was disappointed that not only did the agents take longer than expected to get back to him with the results, but he was no longer going to perform.
He decided to post a comment on Nathanson’s Facebook fan page, which expressed his disappointment.
“[It] basically said I was bummed for not being able to open for him,” Brown said.
He chose not to state the exact comment he posted.
The comment was posted on Feb. 28 after he received the news about the cancellation. Twelve hours later, 65 people “liked” the comment and others voiced their own opinions in different posts.
Brown said some people posted comments like, “You should have [Brown open], he will bring more people in,” other posts however, were nasty, though he chose not to state exactly what those comments said.
On March 1 Nathanson sent Brown a message to his Facebook inbox expressing confusion about the wall post. Brown said Nathanson was unaware of the situation as his agents dealt with it without his knowledge. Nathanson then asked Brown to tell him the story.
Nathanson and Brown cleared things up via Facebook, but Brown said at one point Nathanson asked for his phone number.
“I thought it was pretty funny that a celebrity was asking for my number,” he said.
Nathanson ended up giving Brown his gig back.
Since Nathanson had never heard any of Brown’s music, Brown thinks he checked out his material on iTunes or viewed a video that he posted to Nathanson’s Facebook wall.
“In the end Matt Nathanson hired me personally instead of the school which I thought was really cool,” Brown said.
Brown eventually deleted the posts on Nathanson’s Facebook page.
“He’s a nice guy and it’s not his fault because he didn’t know about it,” Brown said.
Brown said he was not supportive of the nasty comments featured on Nathanson’s page regarding his situation, and contacted the fans through Facebook to have them taken down.
“I took everything off his fan page because it had nothing to do with him,” Brown said.
Brown has been performing for years in local restaurants, and has performed in the URI Coffee House at their “Open Mic” night. He said he has been playing the guitar since he was 5-years-old, and finished recording an album his senior year of high school, titled I Think I’ll Park Here.
Brown will be performing songs from this album at 8 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium on Sunday. He said he won’t have very much stage time because he is opening for the opener, but he will play two or three songs.
“This [is] a big opportunity to play in front of 1,000 people,” Brown said.
He said SEC has already sold about 600 tickets so far.
“[Nathanson’s] a really nice guy and he didn’t have to do any of that,” Brown said. “I was so appreciative of what happened.”