Is it just me or have people stopped caring at gigs?
Last night I went to see Placebo at Brixton Academy, it was essentially the latest in a number of gigs I have attended this year that have nearly been ruined by the audience. I don’t know if it is just me growing older and more cynical with the world around me but I fucking despise people, especially at gigs. As far as I am concerned the actions of the following types of people I am about to outline represent a massive disrespect to both the band they are supposed to be a fan of, and have paid over the odds for tickets to see as well as the rest of the audience including the most important member, me. I know I’m not the first person to bring it up and unfortunately I won’t be the last but certain activities at gigs really get on my wick (or really grind my gears depending on your cultural references for methods of outlining one’s annoyance).
Don’t get me wrong. I am an iPhone user, as well as being an Apple sympathiser. I am on that damn thing morning, noon and night. I have an online rep to uphold you see. When I step into a music venue, cinema or other suitable area of general deluminated reverence I put that little bastard in my pocket on silent and try to avoid the habit of checking on it to see if I’ve been retweeted or if Mummy has text me. What I certainly wouldn’t do is text, tweet, update or Instagram during a gig, while a band are onstage. I watched someone do it last night, as I remember seeing someone do it at Arcade Fire at The Roundhouse last month. I say I watched them do it because when there’s a light glaring in your face more powerful than the bounce of the strobes and floodlights onstage then it can be somewhat distracting. There are certain times when it is an absolute joy to be able to ignore my phone. I don’t do it enough and it’s for a limited period but shut it down. In addition there is absolutely no point in trying to video the band from anywhere in the crowd. They have production crews and documentary filmmakers for that. It doesn’t matter how thin Apple are able to make their telescreens (that’s right, getting Orwellian about this now), they aren’t able to make a way to stop any audio captured on video being tinny and awful. Nobody sits reminiscing the drunken gigs they attended on a cold Monday in December again. You will never need that footage. If you want footage of Placebo playing live then do yourself a favour and get hold of a copy of their Soulmates Never Die DVD from 2003. That’s how to experience a gig on a screen.
Last night I watched parts of the gig through four different smartphones being held up within five feet of my face. It’s unnecessary and selfish. Be tall and block my view, don’t be a twat with an arm aloft saluting the generation who don’t have a place and don’t give a fuck.
Once the band are onstage your conversations can wait. There is nothing you have to say to your weedly little smarm haired, double denimed mate that can’t hold out for an hour and a half. If I can hear you over the band then you’re doing it wrong. Get out of the way. Go to the bar as your inane fellatio-suggesting mime actions imply. Hang around at the back with the dads who are mad their garage band never made it to the Academy. Just fuck off.
Gigs are not for being a couple. They’re for dancing about and having a drink and enjoying the music. Do you remember the music? I hate it when people are clung to each other like Care Bears trying to get their rocks off. This is no place for you. Go and carve your names into a tree and hold one another beneath its crisp empty boughs and weep at the general beauty of your courtship.
I was at the gig with my girlfriend last night. I don’t think we touched other than jostled shoulder contact. We were both just enamored by the band. I fell in love with Brian Molko all over again and Kate later commented that the drummer had muscly arms. That’s how you do it, not clung around someone’s neck like an Angora scarf while society condemns you. Keep your hands where I can see them.
If you’re going somewhere then move, quickly, out of my path, and don’t tread on my feet. I hate it when someone walks in front of me with three pints and then just stops, craning their head about in the darkness looking for the two mates who wouldn’t dare do them the favour of either making themselves known or just going to the bar together so they are out of my way.
I appreciate this blog post makes me come off as a curmudgeonly old man but I feel like that is what I’m becoming and if time and nature have anything to do with it then it will most certainly be the case. It feels like everyone’s attitude to music is going along the wrong lines. There’s no respect for music as an art form or for those who perform it and it feels as though that is something that has come about because of the way we take in music. It is everywhere. There’s no specialty to it because it is everywhere. The way we can receive music is better than ever but it appears to have devalued the way we look and think about it and that’s a real shame. With so many options it is impossible to treasure things in the way they once were. When I was ten years younger I could rarely buy myself new music so I made damn sure I really wanted to invest my (sort of) hard earned cash in Five’s in Rayleigh High Street. Now the shop is gone (although it still shows up the rest of independents by rocking up Leigh). Now I have fourteen days worth of music crammed onto a device that fits in my pocket. I’ve lost track of what any of it means and I think most other people have too. We don’t value an album as a piece of work, it’s pulled apart by Shuffle settings and being wanked over adverts for department stores, insurance companies and party political broadcasts.
Can we just go back a bit, please?