Common courtesy at music shows - where has it gone?

I want to hear the music!


First things first - anyone who knows me knows that I love music. I met my husband online through a music lover's website. I have a ridiculous amount of music on CD, vinyl, cassette tape - you name it, I've got it. I cannot do anything without music - showering and cooking just aren't the same without some music in the background.

I love all kinds of music, and I mean ALL KINDS. My favorite singer of all time is Otis Redding, however, I listen to At The Drive In, Buena Vista Social Club, Ella Fitzgerald - you name it, as long as its got feeling and soul to it, I've got it.

Now, I am 34 years old, but feel pretty much the same as I did when I was 21 (maybe a little less shy and a little more, er, rotund). Despite this, I always say that I never feel old until I go to a music show, and one show sticks out in my mind like a loud, clanging bell. Sean (my husband) and I drove to Charlottesville (about 3 hours away from Chesapeake, our home at the time) to see She Wants Revenge and Pretty Girls Make Graves, two of my favourite bands.

We get to the hotel, we change, then off we go. We were early so we ate some curry at a little place attached to the venue (The Satellite Ballroom). Anyhow, eventually we made our way in. Monsters Are Waiting were the third band which we didn't know about - not too bad. PGMG came on and I was so excited. So the band starts and this band rocks, really rocks, the energy is just radiating off of them. And I am trying to be tolerant and not notice but these three

girls in front of us seem to have mistaken the venue for a lapdancing club. They are doing all kinds of sexy, Dirty Dancing-esque moves. I stare, bemused. Well I couldn't help but stare as they are directly in front of me. They are also seriously moving in on the space of the three girls behind them, who are trying to enjoy the show but are too polite to say anything. I tune this out only to hear the conversation of the drunk guy behind me. It was serious college road trip movie quality:-

Girlfriend: "Please just chill out! You need to chill out!"

Man: "But I'm so drunk!"

Girlfriend: "Me too....." (At this point the tears start to fall).

This goes on much to my amusement/annoyance. A loud thud and a shocked look on Sean's face assures me that my new inebriated friend is now flat on his face. I turn around and he is sprawled out on the floor - yes, I have received confirmation. We're not sure if he was hit or if he fell of his own volition, but all I can think is, that's one more problem solved.

Am I bad? Is this a terrible thought to cross my mind? Normally I am not like this. This gives me something to chew on while the next song begins.

Before She Wants Revenge comes on I notice that a lot of people have digital cameras. I think, that's cool, taking pictures of the band, wow. No. They are all taking self-portraits of themselves, doing devil horn signs, with their tongues hanging out. Huh? These will go on MySpace for sure. And when the keyboardist plays a beautiful piano solo - a hidden track on the album - this seems to be the cue for people to talk about what they did last night and/or get on the phone and talk to people. "What are you doing? I'm at the concert...yeah! It's awesome! What? I can't hear you! Can you repeat that? I SAID, I CAN'T HEAR YOU".....this actually prompts the keyboardist to whisper "shhh" into his microphone. I know he thinks most people weren't listening, but I can assure him, some reminded me of the Mogwai concert that Sean and I saw in Colchester, England...what a beautiful song ruined by some jerk in the front row whose pub conversation was so much more important...thank God lead singer Stuart decided to give him some payback and humiliate him in front of the entire crowd.

I guess I really am losing my tolerance. I mean, it's a free country, right? If you want to dance like an extra in "Showgirls", that's ok, right? If you want to get drunk and bump into people and fall down, and if you want to scream at the top of your lungs into a cell phone in the middle of a show you can do that, right? But the way I see it is, I paid the same amount of money you did to see that show, in fact, probably more, considering the amount of gas we put in the car and the hotel room we had to pay for. All I can think is, I came here to enjoy a SHOW and to listen to real MUSIC. I guess the key is for me maybe to just stay at home. But that would be giving in. Even the dancing, pictures, etc. can be forgiven. But making it hard to listen to music at a MUSIC show because your inane conversation about what happened last night can't wait? Uh-uh.

Despite all this, can I just say the bands were actually awesome and I will continue to go to shows, because the music is wonderful and Sean and I love to go and because the little grandma and grandpa rocking in the front are enough to make me believe that people really do still love and believe in music, and that it isn't just a social stage and fashion show.

I hope I'll be rocking out when I'm 64 years old! That hope is all I need to keep going to shows, despite everything listed above. So wish me luck at my next show (I think I'll need it)!

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