Now, in the following post (or rant I guess you could call it), I am addressing a certain type of individual, which may or may not be you. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it’s directed at only a minority of people who will actually read it. If it is addressing you, then please answer the questions posed, we genuinely want some insight. If it isn’t (and you will figure out whether it is or not before the end of the first line), please continue to read anyway, as I am sure you will empathise with the sentiment. So…
Why, oh why, do you insist on talking loudly during live performances?
No really, I am seriously asking the question.
I simply cannot understand why you would leave your house, attend a gig, pay good money to enter and then proceed to talk – loudly – over the live band. This I find truly baffling. Now, I’m not talking about Jazz re:freshed specifically, because to be fair, the Jazz re:freshed crowd are on the whole appreciative, if not always perfect and actually at times guilty as sin. I am however, talking generally.
Yes, I’ve heard the argument, that you’ve paid your money, so you should be able to talk as much and as loud as you want to… but what about the other patrons who have also paid to see and more importantly ‘hear’ the band. What about those who have not paid to listen to your unnecessary, ill-timed, ill-placed conversation? Admittedly though, you may actually have a point. You’ve paid for entry with no conditions or noise stipulations attached, fair enough. Well, in that case, as a promoter, I would rather refund your entry fee and ask you to leave, but who wants to go through that palaver?
What I really want to know is, where’s the respect?
For me, lack of respect is what’s at the heart of this issue and not to sound too melodramatic, I believe it’s symptomatic of our self-absorbed society, showing a total disregard for fellow human beings. Not only is there a lack of respect for your fellow audience members, there is seemingly no respect for the band and the time and effort they have put into being where they are. Artists spend years perfecting their art, writing and arranging their music, not to mention the hours of rehearsals for that specific gig, to then compete with a throng of chatter from an ungrateful audience, who came to see them, but has apparently no interest in listening to them. Strange.
Some of you claim to love live music, however your actions seem to contradict that declaration. More worryingly, your actions are deterring many individuals from attending live performances. But what do you care? You’ve paid for that privilege, right?
I understand that people experience live music in their own way and I don’t want to stop people from enjoying themselves, however when that experience impinges on the enjoyment or is at the expense of others, a line must be drawn surely?
Now, there are inevitably moments when words will pass between audience members, preferably quiet and infrequent, which is fine. I would even go as far to say that paradoxically, we actively encourage our audience to make as much noise as possible – to show appreciation for the band. I also understand that there are certain gigs, where the volume and tempo of the music are not as adversely affected by chatter. Maybe that’s the solution – bands should play louder and faster!
We’re not promoting a sterile environment, it’s not an examination. We certainly don’t expect or want a monastically silent audience that gives little energy to the bands either. In many ways, the non-responsive, unenthusiastic (even if respectfully silent) crowd, can be just as detrimental to a good vibe as a drunken chattering one. Sounds of appreciation during a performance are a form of dialogue, which most artists love and in turn they usually reciprocate the energy given with an enhanced performance.
So, where do we go from here? What will convince you to hold your mobile phone conversation near the door, in a designated talking area or better still, on the street side of the door, instead of in front of the stage, with your back to the band??? (Yes, we’ve seen this, too many times).
As promoters, we will continue to put up signs, gently remind the audience before performances, shush people and politely request that they ‘keep it down’ (often met with belligerence), etc…
But you tell me, I’m sure you know better than anyone else, what will make you show some respect and STFU?