At the front, just inside the sound reflecting floor-to-ceiling glass windows and door, is a musician singing his heart out, playing favorites from three decades as well as a few originals. He's pretty good but he's background music to the customers. Those sitting closest to him are paying attention and applauding at the end of each song. The rest of us are aware that he's there but our conversations and beverages are the focus of activity. The talking is louder than the singing. The total reflected sound level is close to deafening.
How does a singer do it? Performers all seek attention to some degree. It's why they do what they do in front people. I'm impressed that a good singer can play in a place with inattentive customers and bad acoustics.
In this setting, twenty people pay complete attention to the performer and the performer makes a truly intimate connection with an audience. The acoustics of this particular home basement entertainment room were designed for this use.
I have seen Pete perform many times since, in bars, charity events, private receptions and a pool party. Each of those settings had crappy acoustics and most people in attendance weren't really there to pay attention to the music. Pete and others who play in this kind of environment as part of their living accept that they are mostly background.
I'm happy that they are ok with those conditions but I truly don't know how they do it.