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Etiquette at gigs… April 16, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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At the Sabbath concert earlier in the year I was half-amused to find a fairly constant stream of people going back and forth from their seats to get beer. Given the group played for perhaps an hour and forty minutes and this was their last tour it seemed a little excessive to miss even five minutes of the gig for the sake of a pint (it was over by 10.40 so plenty of time to get more alcohol in if that was what was required). Even more amusing were the people checking Facebook and twitter throughout the evening. The sense of people only being half there was very strong. Any one seen this phenomenon more widely? I don’t recall it so bad at other gigs I was at in the last year or so.

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1. sonofstan - April 16, 2017

God yes.
And not just recent. When I used to work a lot of shows, I particularly remember big open air concerts as being full of people paying at best episodic attention to the stage. Stadium rock works on this assumption really – the peak is not the bit where everyone is taken to a new height, but simply the bit where more than half the audience is paying attention. I was chatting to someone who’s worked with loads of very big acts and his take was that in the 80s/90s rock went from being aimed a specific audience to being just mainstream, an entertainment option on the same level as themeparks, sports and so on. I can’t fathon why people would pay €100+ for this – but really it becomes a social night out with a Take That/ Bon Jovi/ U2 backdrop. My theory is that the bottom will fall out of that mark quite suddenly in the near future, leaving a hardcore – rock will be like jazz in a generation, something old blokes do as a hobby.

Even small gigs though; when I lived here full time, I more or less stopped going to shows in Whelan’s, especially acoustic ones – John Fahey, a long term hero of mine, was ruined by chatter. I’ve been reading a lot recently about the history of ‘classical’ music and in particular the social organisation of music as something you listen to for itself, rather than as an adjunct to something else – religion, pageant, drinking. It might be some comfort to know that Bach and Haydn had to put up with much the same as current performers from contemporary audiences.

To be fair, London audiences are much better – at least at small shows, although the taking pictures thing happens everywhere.

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6to5against - April 16, 2017

The current chatter is too much and I’m not defending it at all. But at the same time, it would be nice to be able to say a few words during a classical concert without attracting such opprobrium. Not to mention having a beer.

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WorldbyStorm - April 16, 2017

There’s a happy medium I think and in truth most louder music genres there isn’t a problem, but sometimes ….

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Michael Carley - April 16, 2017

Fado, fado, in Whelan’s Marcus Connaughton gave a tongue-lashing to the crowd who were having a chat concluding by reminding them that six pound is a lot of money to some people who have come to this gig.

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2. 6to5against - April 16, 2017

The acoustics of Whelan’s seems to be designed to amplify audience chatter and deaden any sounds coming from the stage. I gave up on the venue after a few gigs in a row destroyed by it.

I was at Bonobo in the Olympia a few years ago, and that fits with your description above, SoS. I was surrounded by 20-somethings who clearly saw it as nothing more than a location where they could meet up for the evening. Only to hear each other, they had to continuously shout in each others ears. And mine. Most shut up and tuned in for the encore. That was about it.

But some bands seem to rise above all this. I saw Pucho in Whelan’s a number of years back and he had the place eating out of his hands. And from the first moment on stage. Primal Scream in the Olympia were the same. Both are perhaps connected by many years of playing live and learning the art of working an audience?

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sonofstan - April 16, 2017

Yeah, there are tactics that can work. A friend of mine used to play guitar for a noted Irish SSW who, when the chatter got overpowering, would signal the band to take it down and would start to sing in something just above a whisper. Apparently this worked and it was something he learned from his mother, a teacher.

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Michael Carley - April 16, 2017

Oddly enough, I learned the same trick on my “how to be a lecturer” course in Trinity.

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sonofstan - April 16, 2017

I was self-taught on that one….

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WorldbyStorm - April 17, 2017

Don’t get me started on the lack of basic training for many in that context – including myself.

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Dr. X - April 17, 2017

In Auckland once, I was reduced to shouting “SILENCE IN ZE RANKS” at a lecture hall full of recalcitrant Kiwis (true story).

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3. 6to5against - April 16, 2017

Detention might be a good idea too. Not to mention a good bollicking from the stage.

But what is SSW? What have I been overlooking? Am I missing a genre?

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sonofstan - April 16, 2017

Singer songwriter – known and feared the world over, as Myles (?) said of the irish tenor

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sonofstan - April 16, 2017

Only distantly relevant, but i was searching to check if it really was Myles who said that and I came across this fantastic comment on a folkie message board, answering an american asking why all Irish singing was so boring and dirge like:

“The Irish used to sing harmonies, in pairs. But the other one of every pair died in the Famine years and they sing solo to this day out of respect.

They also used to move their arms while dancing, but in the Troubles, to put their hands up would have been a gesture of surrender to the Tans and Auxies, so they kept them firmly down”

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Dr. X - April 17, 2017

Well it ought to be true.

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4. Joe Mooney - April 17, 2017

Just another reason why I find my fellow human beings so distasteful. People who use their phones in the cinema , including playing with their screens should have their fingers broken. Might seem extreme but it would stop them. Anyone who sits there googling to find out who the actors are so they can talk loudly to their friends about it should not only have their fingers broken but also be sterilised to protect the future of the human race. On all other issues I am quite the liberal but even I have my limits of tolerance.

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5. ivorthorne - April 17, 2017

There’s a happy medium to be achieved but it is very easy for people to be rude. I’ve been to a few showcase gigs where angry hipster hanger-ons have tried to angrily shussh people during hardcore bands’ performances. Trad sessions are probably both the best and worst. You’re supposed to be able to drink and chat during some tunes but others require a quietness. Audiences can usually tell the difference but these are also the same situations where some randomers who just want a pint are shouting away to each other down the back.

Not drinking at a Black Sabbath gig seems like a sin but then again, I generally think it’s a sin to sit at a gig for any punk or metal band.

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6to5against - April 17, 2017

On the other hand – and I’m not talking about gigs here – it can be infuriating when you’re out for a pint and a group in the corner decide not only to start singing, but then demand total silence from the pub so that some young one can be heard singing all ten verses of a dirge-like doomed romance…

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WorldbyStorm - April 17, 2017

“I generally think it’s a sin to sit at a gig for any punk or metal band.” I tend to agree but I kind of wanted to really see them and soak in the moment given it was their last time.

Hahah, yes, had that experience 6to5against!

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6. irishelectionliterature - April 18, 2017

Not a fan of people chatting at gigs, however the worst can be people “singing” along especially at quiet gigs. Can be infuriating.

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