Is the Music Disturbing Your Conversation?
Anyone who has attended a concert with me knows that one of my pet peeves when I am out hearing live music is the audience talking (followed closely by people who sing LOUDLY along with the music without being invited to join by the artist). Part of the reason why last night’s sold-out John Moreland show at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts was so fabulous was that the audience was so quiet, I could have heard a pin drop!
I cannot fully express how much I and my friends appreciated the audience. Granted, it was a quiet show so people might have stopped to think before trying to talk. John appeared solo as did opener Will Johnson (except for a few songs when Josh Kantor joined Will on accordion), which meant acoustic guitars and original well-crafted songs. The lyrics deserved to be heard and truly listened to, and it happened.
This was a partially seated show in a venue that is usually standing, and it is my favorite standing venue in the Boston area. The sound is excellent, the bars well-stocked, sight lines good, and even when a show is sold out one does not feel as if stuffed into a tin of sardines. It has everything going for it… Except crowd noise, which admittedly afflicts almost every venue.
Last night, people listened. Intently. Toward the end of the show, a few people shouted requests (note to patrons – artists work from setlists of songs they have practiced recently… don’t shout requests unless the artist asks for them) which included the obligatory ‘Free Bird’. John took that in stride, laughing and quipping that he was not going to play “f*ckin’ ‘Free Bird’”! He understood the request was said in jest…
There is no reason to carry on a full-blown conversation at a show. Most important, give the artist the respect he/she/they deserve. They have worked hard writing the songs, practicing them, and have traveled to your city lugging heavy, expensive equipment which has to be dragged from vehicles in and out of hotels and venues.
Respect your fellow patrons. For some, they may have spent their last dollars to see their favorite artist, not to hear you talk about your last date.
Stop giving yourself a sore throat since you have to scream over the music to have your voice heard. Your vocal chords will thank you.
If you need the thrill of being seen, just stop. Nobody cares. And while I am at it, it is incredibly annoying to barge your way through a packed floor to get to the front of the crowd, turn your backs on the artist, take a selfie with the artist in the background, and retreat to the back of the venue. Stop that too.
Go to a bar that does not have live music to have a conversation. Or stay home where drinks are cheaper, you do not have to buy a ticket or pay a cover charge, and you don’t have to force yourself to be heard over the din of the crowd.
I have the utmost respect for artists who call out patrons who are loud; mostly they start out being a bit clever in what they say, but when the conversation does not stop, I have witnessed artists who stop playing until the patron stops. I will support any artist who does that. Feel free to walk off the stage! Hopefully your point will be made.
I do not buy into the theory that when you are at a bar/restaurant that happens to have live music, it is okay to converse. It is not. Stop it.
If you must say something to your friend, talk directly in their ear so you don’t have to scream to be heard and nobody else has to hear whatever it is that is so important it cannot wait. Better yet, wait until the artist is between songs or you leave the show.
You might actually enjoy the music if you stop talking long enough to appreciate what the artist is trying to say. They bust their butts trying to make a living; respect that, please!
This article was published originally on Suze Reviews the Blues.