Skip to main content

Talking in the Dark

Something I left out of recent concert reviews was the topic of the audience talking during the whole performance. I'm asked to write a review of a performance by an artist, not of the people watching the performance. So that armchair sociology has to be addressed somewhere else, like this blog.

Talking comes with the territory, as most shows I've been to have had that white noise. But usually that is relegated to the area right in front of the bar. People buy drinks, talk with friends, or try to make new connections. I get that.

But when I watched Explosions in the Sky play at the Bomb Factory last summer, I couldn't help noticing how many people chatted away while the band put on an incredible show. Hope and I were seated upstairs in a spot where we could see the stage and the crowd quite well. As the band played one great tune after another, I kept hearing people talking down below. It was not a small group of people. It was a lot of people. And they weren't anywhere near a bar.

I started to wonder, why should you pay good money to get into a venue to talk to people constantly? You paid to see this band, right? You can talk to people for hours at any bar where there is no admission, so why the need?

I've heard this is a Dallas thing, but that's not true with every large show in town. The shows I've seen at the American Airlines Center did not have thousands of Chatty Cathys while Rush, Muse, or Alice Cooper played. Those people paid quite a bit of dough to see a show of this magnitude. It made a lot of sense to keep the talking to a minimum.

Venues that can hold almost one thousand or a little more seem to have this problem. Tickets are not cheap, like seeing your friends play for $10 in a room that can hold 200 people. But the general admission tickets are not near the three figure mark. There's a buffer of $30-$55 in the price. And for whatever reason, that's the price where people think it's OK to treat a venue like it is a small bar.

At the shows Hope and I see, we briefly talk to each other here and there about the show, but privately, talking into an ear. We're not carrying on a long conversation. We have all the time in the world to talk about the show afterwards. And not at a volume that tests the strength of our vocal cords. During the most recent show we saw together, a three-hour tribute to the music of Neil Young at the Granada Theater, I saw quite a few couples around us talking constantly. Tickets for this were $50 each. I'm talking money that could be well spent on groceries, gasoline, or records. To simply blow that money off like it's nothing does not compute with my budget-minded ways.

Maybe it's a way of expressing boredom with the performance. Maybe it's a way of showing entitlement of some kind. For whatever reason, I'm not about to fall in with the crowd thinking this is OK. Seeing bands has made an indelible mark on me, and I'm not about to let a trend of short attention spans stop me from seeing what I want to see.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Catherine Wheel

Originally posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 Despite managing to release five proper albums, Catherine Wheel was one of those bands that always seemed to slip past the mainstream rock crowd. Yes, they got some nice airplay in their day, but people seem to have forgotten about them. You may hear “Black Metallic” or “Waydown” on a “classic alternative” show on Sirius or XM or maybe even on terrestrial radio, but that’s about it. For me, they were one of most consistent rock bands of the ’90s, meandering through shoegazer, hard rock, space rock and pop rock, all while eluding mainstream pigeonholing. Led by the smooth, warm pipes of vocalist/guitarist Rob Dickinson (cousin of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson), Catherine Wheel featured Brian Futter on lead guitar, Dave Hawes on bass and Neil Sims on drums. They weren’t a pretty-boy guitar band, but they weren’t a scuzzy bunch of ragamuffins either. Though the band hailed from England, Catherine Wheel found itself more welcome on American air

I ain't got no crystal ball

I've never been a big fan of Sublime's reggae-punk-ska, but I feel bad for their hardcore fans. Billboard reports that a four-disc box set featuring previously released and unreleased material is on the way. How is this a bad thing? Well, the number of posthumous vault-raiding collections greatly outnumber the band's proper releases. That usually isn't a problem, but the quality of them is very suspect. When they were together, the band recorded three proper albums, Robbin' the Hood , 40 Oz. to Freedom and Sublime . Sublime would be the band's breakthrough record with the mainstream, but that success was very bittersweet. Shortly before its release, frontman/guitarist/songwriter Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose. In the following years, the effects of apparently a bad record deal have yielded compilation after compilation. Here's the rundown so far: Second Hand Smoke (1997) Stand By Your Van -- Sublime Live in Concert (1998) Sublime Acoustic: Br

Best of 2021

  Last year, my attention span was not wide enough to listen to a lot of LPs from start to finish. Too much went on in 2020 to focus on 10-15 albums, so I went with only a couple to spotlight. Well, 2021 was a little better, as I have a list of top four records, and a lot of individual tracks.  (I made a lengthy Spotify playlist ) So, without further ado, here’s my list of favorites of the year: Albums Deafheaven, Infinite Granite (listen) Hands down, my favorite album of the year. I was not sure where Deafheaven would go after another record that brought My Bloody Valentine and death metal fans together, but they beautifully rebooted their sound on Infinite Granite. The divisive goblin vocals are vastly pared-down here, as are the blast beats. Sounding more inspired by Slowdive, the band has discovered a new sonic palette that I hope they explore more of in the future. It’s a welcome revelation. I still love their older material, but this has renewed my love of what these guys do.  J