Friday, January 25, 2008

Column:
You Came to See the Show; Now Shut the Hell Up

By Nicole Pope

During his 2006 Sunken Treasure tour, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy had this to say during one all-acoustic set:



People who are talking during this performance, I have a question for you. What can I do to be of a better service to you? Am I not playing the right songs? Am I not pouring my heart out up here for you? Tell me what I need to do to get you to listen to the concert that you paid money to go see. I'm serious... I want to make you happy. And if you're happy talking, then why did you come here?

Tweedy received quite the backlash for his comments from fans. Looking at the YouTube video of this diatribe (which I highly recommend you view), you'll come across some praise, but also comments like, "When did Tweedy become so whiney?" or "No performer should bitch about the people who put food in their mouths."

Many of these fans suggest that talking during a concert is their right. But what about the rights of those who paid to see the band and actually want to listen to them?


Case in point (bear with me as I relay just one more scene-setting YLT anecdote): This past weekend, just a few songs into Yo La Tengo's acoustic set, a crowd of drunken buffoons entered the venue and, completely clueless to the spellbound crowd of devoted fans surrounding them, proceeded to start shrieking and, as my grandmother would say, "carrying on." And I thought the last YLT concert was bad, when that couple behind me kept giving each other the play-by-play during "Tiny Birds," one of the band's most subtle songs: "Just wait for that cymbal coming up. The soothing drum roll. Oh, just listen to Georgia's harmony." Yes! Please listen to it! I wanted to say.

I doubt anyone will disagree that loud talking during an intimate acoustic show is completely out of line. But what about those girls yakking away at The Shins show last winter, or The New Pornographers, or that notoriously loud harpy at The Decemberists years ago? I know what you're thinking: just ask them to be quiet. I usually try delivering evil glares until it's clear this method won't work, at which point I kindly ask if they could maybe-possibly-kinda keep it down a bit. And you know what happens every time? I'm met with an animosity as intense as if I'd just told them they shouldn't come to a Shins show because they heard that one song on the radio, or because this hot guy from Phi Delt likes them, or because Natalie Portman said they were really rad.

For this reason I have to thank Mr. Tweedy for doing the dirty work for concert goers like myself who, you know, just want to go to concerts. I'm not saying you have to be as passionate about the music as I am, just don't ruin it for the rest of us.

Thank you for listening.

2 comments:

Gossip♥Grrl said...

Dammit. I wrote a comment and blogger errored! WTF!!!
Anyway, what I wrote was I've attended at least a handful of shows where I'm being slammed into by drunk rude bitches that aren't even watching the show!
It's like oh, this band is the next big thing. I know one song by them and I'm going to get wasted, fall over, giggle, not pay attention and ruin it for everyone else. I can't fucking stand that.
-end rant

Hackworth Artifex said...

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - Kay

People are assholes. Whatcha gonna do?