Shut Up, The Band Is Playing

I’m not going to name the band in this post. I know it’s not going to be hard for regular readers of this blog to identify the gig, but I don’t think it’s fair on the band themselves to have such a negative post showing up in Google searches for their name.

I’d love to have been able to write a glowing review about their actual performance, since the band themselves were excellent, but unfortunately what should have been a wonderful night was ruined by the behaviour of a segment of the audience. I’ve had gigs spoiled by intermittent distracting talking before, but this was the worst instance I can ever remember. This wasn’t just a buzz of chatter coming from the back of the hall, but selfish idiots talking continually at the top of their voices clearly audible from the front row even during the loudest parts of the set. There was even one group of knobheads who ignored repeated requests to keep the noise down.

I very nearly walked out the gig after two or three songs in disgust.

I have never seen a worse case of disrespect for both the band and that part of the audience who was actually there for the music. It’s as if the band were nothing more than the soundtrack for a lads’ night out. Audiences for free-entry gigs by pub cover bands behave better than this.

I know from speaking to the band afterwards that it distracted them too, and it’s difficult to imagine that the behaviour of these clowns in the audience didn’t take the edge off the band’s performance. The dynamics of live music means the best gigs are those where the band feed off the energy the energy they’re getting from the crowd. This was not happening here.

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6 Responses to Shut Up, The Band Is Playing

  1. Chuk says:

    I hate that kind of thing and it happened again when I was at a show the weekend before last — someone standing right behind me, talking so fast I could hardly believe she could get that many words out per minute and I don’t know how she managed to breathe. Loud enough that I could hear her through my earplugs which are usually pretty good at cutting crowd noise.
    I was at a show (admittedly in a room with crappy acoustics) last year and the crowd was so loud during the first opener that she actually commented on it a couple of times, I would have been a lot ruder about it if I were her.

  2. Tim Hall says:

    I’ve been to a few gigs where performers have asked people to shut up. Last one was at a jjazz gig.

  3. Temple Stark says:

    Bands after 20 minutes or so have a right to 1) Stop playing 2) Get security to remove people. Why were neither of these steps taken? This takes NOTHING away from your point, which is completely valid – people need to shut up when there’s something else going on. To do so at a high volume means they were either drunk or didn’t care about anyone else or the band; both are reasons to be removed from the premises.

  4. Duncan Mawson says:

    It’s interesting that you mention pub covers bands, as I think this is partly to blame for the increased crowd noise at gigs in recent years.

    People are so used to having loud music in the “background” on their night out that some cannot distinguish between a pub gig and a paid for gig anymore. It can be very frustrating at times.

  5. Ian Almond says:

    I am afraid this problem is endemic through out society, every one feels they have the right to endlessly talk and exercise their addiction to mobile phones and fewer and fewer people have the ability to concentrate on anything beyond five minutes. Hence the dumbing down of TV, film and Music.
    At the last gig I went to it is not only the endless talking but the constant need to be up and down getting one pint after another as if getting pissed is more important than watching the band.
    I’m afraid that we will have to get used to the fact that for many is that gigs are simply a back drop for a night out with mates and the venues obviously have a financial interesting in selling as much alcohol as possible.

  6. Mike says:

    Sadly becoming far too obvious and common at many music events now.

    A friend of mine was at a festival a few years back and just turned round to said noisy b*ggers and said along the lines of: I paid my money to hear the band, not you chatting…

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