June 7, 2011

Sit DOWN, can’t you?

Filed under: Uncategorized — fluffyand40 @ 13:03

Summertime is festival season, and thus the point in the year when loads of interesting bands and solo acts travel across the “pond” to do some solo appearances before heading out into the mud of Glastonbury, T In the Park, Bestival and the like.

I’ve done my time wading through fields of unmentionably unpleasant brown stuff (which may or may not have been mud – it WAS the first year that Glasto flooded and I didn’t want to think about it too much) so I’m more of a “live music in a solid brick venue” type of girl now (though I am venturing to the Eden Project at the end of the month for a gig – get me!).  And so last week I went to a gig.

At the Hammersmith Apollo, a proper “muso” venue, with solid walls, comfy seats and, it would appear, absolutely no way of cooling the temperature down at all – and it wasn’t even that hot outside.  To see the Fleet Foxes, who are one of my favourite bands at the moment – if you’ve missed their particularly wonderful blend of clean, melodic chords and wonderful vocal harmonies, seek them out:  listen for two minutes and you can imagine them singing in fields half way up a hill, a la Waltons’ Mountain.  Blissful.

But in amongst the chaos of the beardie afficionados and their terribly cool girlfriends, decked head to toe in jumble sale finds (sorry, vintage clothing) the one thing that I was struck by was how few people actually SAT to listen to the music.

I get that during the support act (The Bees – had never heard them before, and they were excellent) there’s the usual plethora of needs – the toilet, a drink or two, a hot dog, taking coats to the cloakroom etc – that have to be attended to before The Main Event.  The thing you’ve paid money to see.  The headliners.

But when did it become acceptable for people to be leaping up out of their seats every ten minutes, walking backwards and forwards during songs, standing and having a conversation with friends in front of those who’re more interested in the music, and generally act like they had a CD on in the background at home?

Not just because this is pathologically rude to the band, who were, it has to be said, putting on a very fine show for a group that really doesn’t have an awful lot in the way of “stage show” mechanics – relying instead on the power and beauty of their music.  But also for those of us who actually wanted to a) hear the band and b) see the band and c) not listen to the inane dronings of parents about their late babysitters (that’s your fault – you should have briefed them properly) or the cost of education in W6 (you did the breeding, you pay the bill!).

I went to one of the outdoor sessions at Somerset House last year to see Temper Trap and nearly got slapped by some bint who took offence to my asking her to keep her gossip noise down a bit as we’d actually paid to hear the band and not her wailings (I may have been a little bit more polite, but only a little.  She HAD been banging on about her woes for the past 30 minutes at this point).

I’m afraid it may be very old fashioned but I’m of the belief that if someone is putting on a show, that you’ve paid for, the least you can do is pay attention and listen.  Or is it so outdated to expect people to have some manners – and awareness of those around them – any more?  If you want to chat, stay home or go to the pub.  And if you go to a gig, then at least sit in your seat – you’re disturbing others with all your wiggling about, and it’s not big OR clever!

And to the woman who I prevented from  stepping over me for the fourth time within an hour, I’m sorry but the most incontinent 90 year old doesn’t go to the loo that much.  If you needed it, then perhaps you were ill and shouldn’t have come out in the first place.

So, in summary – Fleet Foxes get an A, 5 gold stars and a “see them now” recommendation, The Bees get an A- (perfect summer pop, but a little bit too much “dad dancing”), and the Hammersmith Apollo audience get a C- “could definitely do better”.  Something to remember when bopping around in the mud this summer?


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