Mind Your Fucking iPhones

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For as long as tattooed cool kids have piled onto stages and jammed their little hearts out, there have been jerks in the crowd spewing bad vibes and threatening to ruin everyone's night. Whether it's the grown man who throws elbows at teenagers to get to the front, the drunk couple who's dry-humping and/or fighting throughout the set, the person heckling the opener for no good reason or the guy yelling at the solo performer to play that one hit from his other band, there will always be that self-absorbed idiot who lacks concern for anyone's show-going experience but his or her own.

But it's 2012, so those inconsiderate showgoers have smart phones. These amazing, near-magical devices that allow us to check-in, Tweet our friends to find them at the show and sometimes even pay our tabs, can not only make our lives easier and more fun, but allow us to record and document every minute of our mundane existences.

These obsessive documentarians not only sacrifice your showgoing experience, as they block your field of vision with touch screens and elbows while filling the venue with countless rectangles of ambient light that distract from the glow of the stage, but they eschew their own, opting instead to participate from the distance provided by an oversized viewfinder. They watch the action through their screen instead of participating in the moment. And what do they have to show for it? Awful footage and terrible photos, perfect mementos for a show they didn't really attend.

At about 6:20, Ryan Adams calls out amateur photographers rather eloquently. Ironically, this video was likely captured via cell phone.

Full disclosure: I have an iPhone, and I'm one of those endlessly irritating people who photographs their food and posts it to Instagram. I understand that urge to reach for the phone and share one's visual memoirs, however prosaic, with your Internet pals. However, there's no Hipstamatic filter capable of turning your concert iPhone photography into anything more than a silhouette or a blurry outline. And with DSLR cameras being almost as ubiquitous as smart phones, it's guaranteed that someone, often a talented, professional concert photographer, will be present taking beautifully composed, high resolution photographs that can be found online within hours of the show.

You can listen to that band at home, and you can even make your own setlist. But you can never replicate the experience of being there, at that particular show with that precise group of people, connecting with the performers and the audience. That can't be duplicated, even in wonderful, professional photographs. Those faint beams of light are little intrusions that pull us out of the moment and make truly immersing oneself in the performance difficult to impossible -- both from the concert-goer and the performer's perspectives. Put it down. Look up. Enjoy the freedom of just watching, just experiencing, just being there, just not being that person who everyone in the venue without an iPhone in hand secretly wants to punch in the teeth.

So, what do you think? Do you agree? Are we just cranky old farts? Share your opinions in the comments.


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39 comments
artvandele
artvandele

Marie, as far as no one telling u what's annoying so how do u know, I farted on a bus once, no one said anything so now I do it all the time. Or maybe I thought it would bother someone all on my own because I'm a big boy and never did it. One or the other. I think that's the point of manners in general and therefore the article in specific.

crabbypants
crabbypants

Went on vacation once with my EX husband who proceeded to take over 400 pictures at a museum.  After about 10 minutes of this nonsense, I wandered through and enjoyed the rest of the museum by myself.  Then he wanted to SHOW ME the over 400 pics when we got home.  Hmm, funny, I was there. Oh yeah, and I saw more of the museum because i wasn't all hung up on taking durn pictures.

And get off my lawn

Jimmycrack34
Jimmycrack34

Who cares. You're watching the concert, they're watching the concert and taking photos so they have the memories. Most people do it, including me. This article seems like nothing more than reaching for straws for something to bitch about. I'm more concerned with the idiot teenage girls who have been standing at the back the whole show and then want to elbow their way to the front for the last 4 songs even though I've been standing there for 4 hours.

Fuck-suburbs
Fuck-suburbs

No fuckhead, NOT every one does just because your lame ass does it. Throwing a hex your way for the thug knockout/ stolen phone curse as well. You fucking deserve it you ignorant twat.

Dingus
Dingus

i hope this article gets u a lot of traffic and u get a raise :)

less a bb fan
less a bb fan

I would rather sit behind a person filming the entire concert than be elbowed in the ribs by Beatle Bob one m ore time.

Fuck-suburbs
Fuck-suburbs

Yeah that guy is an annoying fucker as well. Here's hoping some thug knocks his ass out some time as well.

Jeff
Jeff

I understand the urge to document your experience, and especially because I don't take pictures or videos anymore like I used, I like being able to find good footage of a show I went to.  Take a picture or two.  Film a song.  Whatever.  If you are at a show and 10 other people are clearly documenting it, though, why do you also need to document it? You will be able to find the footage easily enough. 

The times that it really annoys me is when there are a lot of people up front filming and not moving at all because they want a steady shot.  So the whole front of the room, which should be the liveliest part of the crowd is just standing there. 

Marie D'Angelo
Marie D'Angelo

you're cranky. I have gotten stunning photos and videos on my phone, always watch with my eyes not through the screen, have never had anyone complain that my phone or camera was in their way or been bothered by someone else's sure. people post crappy videos. and blurry photos. but I want to remember what I experienced as a fan, not what a photographer experienced at work.  I have collected thousands of photos and videos from fans for a media collection project I am doing for Greek Fire and personally, I enjoy the crappy photos and videos just as much as the pros because I am able to see how the fans are feeling and reacting in the moment. a professional sees a concert from an entirely different angle. it's not the same and complaining about  people using their iphones is the equivalent of the music industry still trying to fight digital downloads.

Fuck-suburbs
Fuck-suburbs

 Spoken like a true selfish little cunt. Bravo bitch, the next time you just have to whip it out to take some 'stunning pictures' I hope some thug punches you and steals it. Would serve your narcissistic ass right.

Marie D'Angelo
Marie D'Angelo

somethings never change, like assholes on the internet

Marie D'AngeloBlog <http: thingsithinkandoffensivewords.tumblr.com="">. Facebook<http: marieiscool="" www.facebook.com="">.Twitter <http: marieiscool="" twitter.com="">. Music<http: 269481399741974?sk="wall" i-am-a-golden-god="" pages="" www.facebook.com="">. Deals <http: 295743580451125="" pages="" things-i-like="" www.facebook.com="">. True Love <http: efyeahgreekfire="" www.facebook.com="">.</http:></http:></http:></http:></http:></http:>

Marie D'Angelo
Marie D'Angelo

I'll pray for you

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Fuck-suburbs
Fuck-suburbs

Better to be an asshole on the internet than a cunt in public, cunt. Keep taking those 'stunning' pictures you narcissistic bitch. 

Witchy Potion
Witchy Potion

Please post links to your stunning photos and videos....would love to see three examples of each.

No one complained to you about your endless phone usage because they were being polite, unlike you.

Some artists have already spoken out against this like Ryan Adams and Black Crowes who both had a hardline policy against phones. Most of their crowd embraced this and the spoiled, entitled lot complained and cried about it. 

Buying you a ticket allows you to see the band, anything else is at best a privilege and I look forward to the day when venues install cell phone signal jammers to remedy some of these problems.

The nonsense has to stop and if public shaming is what is required, let the shaming begin. This shaming should include the non-stop talkers and the savants as well who at seated shows or in dedicated seated sections insist on standing when everyone in the section is sitting down!

Rise up people....we outnumber the inconsiderate and shouldn't be victim to these selfish people! 

Marie D'Angelo
Marie D'Angelo

google iphone photography.

blah blah blah panties in a bunch

i respect artist's wishes

you can't expect people to know something bothers you if you don't tell them.

and lastly, stand up at a concert. don't be lazy. let the artist know you support them

have a blessed day.

Marie D'AngeloBlog <http: thingsithinkandoffensivewords.tumblr.com="">. Facebook<http: marieiscool="" www.facebook.com="">.Twitter <http: marieiscool="" twitter.com="">. Music<http: 269481399741974?sk="wall" i-am-a-golden-god="" pages="" www.facebook.com="">. Deals <http: 295743580451125="" pages="" things-i-like="" www.facebook.com="">. True Love <http: efyeahgreekfire="" www.facebook.com="">.</http:></http:></http:></http:></http:></http:>

Stlcityrocker
Stlcityrocker

Perhaps the people around you decided not to complain. Just a thought

Marie D'Angelo
Marie D'Angelo

if you don't tell me I am bothering you, how am i supposed to know. I'm not looking behind me.

Marie D'AngeloBlog <http: thingsithinkandoffensivewords.tumblr.com="">. Facebook<http: marieiscool="" www.facebook.com="">.Twitter <http: marieiscool="" twitter.com="">. Music<http: 269481399741974?sk="wall" i-am-a-golden-god="" pages="" www.facebook.com="">. Deals <http: 295743580451125="" pages="" things-i-like="" www.facebook.com="">. True Love <http: efyeahgreekfire="" www.facebook.com="">.</http:></http:></http:></http:></http:></http:>

Al
Al

Here here!  Although I'm sometimes glad to have iPhone footage friends have taken at concerts and go back and watch them quite often, I'd rather enjoy the show in the moment and I'd rather cell phones stay in pockets.

HomieDclown
HomieDclown

People don't know how to be in the moment anymore.  We're diminishing our quality of life at the expense of interconnected-ness.

Stlcityrocker
Stlcityrocker

The glow from phones, excessive photo taking and incessant talking during songs do annoy me. The days of holding up cigarette lighters and inhaling other people's smoke (indoors) are long gone, only to be replaced by people updating their facebook pages during the main act - while on dance floor a few rows from the front. Yes, I've been going to gigs for 30 years, so I definitely qualify as an old fart. Enjoy the experience folks.

Onedeadkennedy
Onedeadkennedy

Get over it, if I wanna sit in the back and record or get up front and jump around. You sound like the hipsters you're talking about. If I paid for my ticket, I'll do whatever the fuck I please at a show, even if it includes sitting at the bar, gettin drunk, recording video of the scenes around me. My experience, dont like the view, fuckin move, thats why its a venue lol.

Rlg5837
Rlg5837

It makes me laugh to see it. They spend big bucks on a ticket, then devote their entire time to recording the show. The one time I tried, you couldn't understand what song was playing, so I quit. I do take a photo or two...

Kpumaorn
Kpumaorn

interesting that you pointed out that you take pictures of your food and show your friends. thats so thoughtful and cool. you dont think having a few photos from a show, from where you were standing isnt okay? im cool with taking no more than 10 pictures...but to have your phone out the whole time is annoying. and with phones now, they are taking great pictures. same thing goes for a baseball/hockey/godforbidfootball games...people take pictures of their experiances...not other peoples experiances, regardless of quality.  

Kyle
Kyle

I. Completely agree. Most of the time I don't even take my cell into venues so that I don't have to think about it. This allows me to completely submerge myself in the atmosphere, the music, and the people around me.

Drivr8
Drivr8

After watching the couple in the row in front of me take AT LEAST 20 pictures of themselves (together, him with the band in the backdrop, her with the band in the backdrop, her of him, him of her, etc) during the Arctic Monkeys/Black Keys show last month, um YES, PLEASE. So ridiculous. Understand as they were RIGHT in front of me, this was hard to miss.

Tom
Tom

There is a BRIGHTNESS adjustment on your phone.  Use it at concerts and in other low light situations and you will 1) Not piss off everyone around you as much, 2) not strain your eyes, and 3) save battery life.  

Asher3284
Asher3284

Put the electronics away. It is annoying. I've been going to shows for over 15 years and they were definitely more enjoyable back in the day when there was not a sea of rectangle lights across the crowd and people making sure they check in, post and all the other bs. Who cares where you are? The band cares that you are there watching them being a part of the experience not conversing with people who didn't care enough to come see them.

ahem.
ahem.

I don't know, the RFT writers who use flash photography at shows to take totally middling blurry photos are pretty goddamn annoying too coughlizmillercough.

Liz Miller
Liz Miller

 ahem has a point here. i am a terrible photographer.

D Antsypants
D Antsypants

Also, your shots are not incredible you just don't have incredible taste.

D Antsypants
D Antsypants

I think it's funny the only people disagreeing so far are the offenders themselves. "it DOESN'T take away from the stage"... says you: the one who is doing the distracting.

Telepicker97
Telepicker97

and I'm probably the youngest person posting on here, doing it from an iphone, saying to put the stupid things away at concerts. Why do you need a blurry 45-sec clip of (insert big time artist here) that spunds like crap to show your friends and prove you were there?? People used to keep ticket stubs...they wpuld listen to albums, or even collect bootlegs - ALL of which make more sense than some half-arsed digital memento.

Telepicker97
Telepicker97

100% correct. Also...SHUT THE HELL UP WHILE THE BAND IS PLAYING. NOTHING you have to say is important; if it is, waiting until you're at a show isn't the place to say it. If you HAVE to talk (about ANYTHING) go to the lobby or the bar - don't just stand there and talk incessantly as if you're the only people there. Everyone else came to listen to music, not to you blather on and on. So don't talk while the band is playing. At all. EVER.

Monsta Ward
Monsta Ward

People and their tech are annoying. When something is happening in real life, BE THERE! instead of checking your phone, effing with an app, etc. I din't think there is anything wrong with snapping a pic or even taking a few minutes of video, but some people are over the edge. Being polite is just common sense, which is not so common anymore (hence texting and driving).

thomas
thomas

have no problem with the phones out, it DOESN'T take away from the stage.. I don't do the videos but I do take pictures and incidentally the shots I have gotten are incredible. complain more about the obnoxious drunks that are always ready to fall over, or the ones that have to get up to go to the bathroom 30 times because of the beer they are drinking..

Dontneedanything
Dontneedanything

i have an iphone and at times will snap a picture or two but nothing more.  i have no problem with the phones being out and recording and taking pictures.  i think the complaining about it does definitely come off as crusty old guy stuff.

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