How to Behave at Quiet Shows: Shut Up and Put Your Phone Away
Maybe give the guy a moment, yeah?
Now, we all know concerts, quite aside from genre, come in varying degrees of loudness. There are the kind of gigs (has anyone here seen Unsane?) where, even if you shout as loudly as you can directly into your friend's ear from an inch away, they will not be able to hear a word you're saying, due to the blood trickling from their ears. There are the medium-level gigs, like a pleasant indie band or a rock band that doesn't quite rock, where you can make yourself heard over the din.
Then, there are the quiet gigs, where the stillness is kind of the point of some, if not all, of the music. The sort where if the noise stops, it's an artistic break in the song, not the end of the song. Yet, I find myself more annoyed at these concerts than at almost any other concerts. These are the gigs where the loud, obnoxious idiot really comes into their own. Take a loud, obnoxious idiot (LOI for short) to a Slayer gig, and not only will they be utterly drowned out, if anything they'll add to the overall atmosphere. Take them to a Sigur Ros gig, though, like on Monday night, and they will be a person for whom a new circle of Hell needs to be invented.
It's one thing to shout between songs. One lady at Sigur Ros took it upon herself to shout "I LOVE YOU JONSI!" in between two songs, while the band was changing over instruments. It's quite another thing to shout this a further three times, and then continue to do so while the band are starting up the next song, using a tiny, fragile xylophone, that now had backing vocals provided by a love-struck harpy. Does she expect Jonsi to cast aside his guitar and bellow back "I LOVE YOU TOO, STRANGER! I WAS UNSURE AFTER THE FIRST TWO DECLARATIONS OF LOVE, BUT BY THE FIFTH ONE I WAS SURE THAT YOU ARE THE ONE FOR ME! SCREW AMBIENT ICELANDIC DRONE-ROCK! LET'S MAKE A LIFE FOR OURSELVES TOGETHER! LET THIS BE THE DAY I FOUND MY LOVE, RIGHT HERE IN DALLAS, TEXAS!" I mean, Jonsi's English isn't that good, and he's too classy to say that last bit just for the cheap applause it would no doubt garner, but clearly this is what said lady was aiming for.
Another man decided that breaks within songs, where instruments were clearly holding notes, a common indication that a song is not over, were an excellent chance for him to shout "WOOOOOH!" and thus have everyone be aware of his appreciation for said fragile, quiet held note. Here is a quick guide about how not to be these guys.
Let the man whisper something, for goodness' sake.
• SHUT THE FUCK UP. Nobody wants to hear you. If you are of the opinion that you have something of interest to say really loudly, then you don't have anything interesting to say. If you were even mildly considering shouting "WOOOOH!" during a quiet song, punch yourself in the face until you break your own nose, because you deserve to have to tell the doctor that story.
• Do not interact with your iPhone. It's common sense to not photograph or film these gigs, because everyone around you is trying to have a quiet, peaceful moment, but even if you're bored, try to refrain from getting your phone out constantly to check your Facebook, because the glow of that is just as annoying for everyone.
• The kinds of artists who play these gigs are normally pretty fragile creatures. Try to refrain from booing them. You'll break their little hearts. Give them a hearty round of applause, between songs of course.
• Don't wear bright clothing. That yellow tracksuit you were considering will make you look like a really stupid lighthouse, cutting through the gloom of black clothing. I guess it might make it easier for your friends to find you.
• Mosh pits are not something that should be caused by a mandolin breakdown.
• Conversations are best saved for a moment when the thing you've paid to see isn't happening right in front of you.
• Drink a stout. These kinds of concerts are solely populated by people who prefer stout drinkers. If you know the ABV and some facts about the brewery, you'll probably get laid. Don't ask me why, I'm just an observer.
• Now is not the appropriate time to sing along, unless your singing voice is, well, fantastic. It probably isn't, though.
• If the gig is seated, as such events often are, standing up intermittently for no particular reason is a fantastic way to ensure that those around you are plotting your demise. It doesn't matter how funky that sitar line was, just stay seated. Standing ovations after songs are fine.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.