I recently watched Local Natives play at the Fox Theater in Oakland. They are okay, by the way. They know how to play their instruments, but they aren’t technical enough to be distinguished as serious musicians, and their showmanship isn’t strong enough to make them a distinctly memorable performers. Overall they were so-so.
But what really made that show hard to stand through, the reason I am using my extra-time to write this up, is the breach of etiquette that I thought was universally accept and practiced by show-goers worldwide. There seemed to be an abnormal of talking during the headliner’s set, which made me very frustrated overall. Maybe it was just a fluke that the crowd was so talkative that night, or more likely, it’s a Bay area thing that I don’t understand. If it is a culture thing, then I understand why it seemed I was the only one that was bothered by it. And if it is a social thing, then I have no choice but to accept it as something that they do because they value talking and community more than veneration of music. Either way, I will give three reasons why you should shut your mouth when other people are playing music.
1. The band worked really hard to get good at their instruments.
The most obvious reason to shut up is that musicians put a lot of time and effort into writing and rehearsing the songs they perform for you. Yeah, you paid for them to play, but you also chose to go and see them, and they probably drove a long distance so they could come and play for you. That alone should be reason enough for you give them full attention. You might not like it, you should still be respectful and let them finish their set. If it sucks then just walk outside, or write a nasty blog post about it later. Whatever, just shut up during the set.
2. Other people are there to see the band.
This is why I was upset. You and your friends might have wonderful things to say to each other, and you are probably getting a lot closer because of this shared experienced. But you can hang out and chat with your friends anywhere else. You can chat at a restaurant. You can chat at a bar. You can chat at a park. But I can only see my favorite bands perform at their concerts. So cut the crap, find somewhere else to talk, and let me enjoy the band I waited months to see.
3. You paid to come in and see the band.
This argument is really just a deviation of point two, but I thought it might be effective to tell it from a different perspective. It might be fun to joke around and chit-chat and flirt with your friend’s coworker that tagged along, but you can do that anywhere else… for free. You paid probably paid $20 to get into the show -or probably more now that scalpers buy all online tickets so they can re-sell them on Craigslist and Stubhub. Make good use of that precious money and enjoy the band. For those of you in the minimum wage boat like me, it’s really easy to stay focused when you think about how many hours you had to put up with people’s crap so that you could buy a ticket to the show.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say on the subject. I feel a little better now that I got to vent. But I would still like everyone to remember why they should shut up when I’m trying to watch a band at a show. Think about these things next time you feel like being loud and disruptive at a concert.