How to Behave at Quiet Shows: Shut Up and Put Your Phone Away

Observer-sigur-ros.jpg
Meagan Puetz
Maybe give the guy a minute, yeah?
Now, we all know concerts, quite aside from genre, come in varying degrees of loudness. There are the kind of gigs (has anyone here seen Unsane?) where, even if you shout as loudly as you can directly into your friend's ear from an inch away, they will not be able to hear a word you're saying, due to the blood trickling from their ears. There are the medium-level gigs, like a pleasant indie band or a rock band that doesn't quite rock, where you can make yourself heard over the din.

Then, there are the quiet gigs, where the stillness is kind of the point of some, if not all, of the music. The sort where if the noise stops, it's an artistic break in the song, not the end of the song. Yet, I find myself more annoyed at these concerts than at almost any other concerts. These are the gigs where the loud, obnoxious idiot really comes into his own. Take a loud, obnoxious idiot (LOI for short) to a Slayer gig, and not only will he be utterly drowned out, if anything he'll add to the overall atmosphere. Take him to a Sigur Ros gig, though, and he will be a person for whom a new circle of Hell needs to be invented.

See Also:
- The Ten Biggest Concert Buzzkills: An Illustrated Guide
- The Top Ten Ways to Piss Off Your Bartender

It's one thing to shout in between songs. In keeping with our Sigur Ros example, one could yell "I LOVE YOU, JONSI!" in between two songs, while the band is changing over instruments. It's quite another thing to shout this a further three times, and then continue to do so while the band is starting up the next song, using a tiny, fragile xylophone, that now has backing vocals provided by a love-struck harpy. Do you expect Jonsi to cast aside his guitar and bellow back, "I LOVE YOU TOO, STRANGER! I WAS UNSURE AFTER THE FIRST TWO DECLARATIONS OF LOVE, BUT BY THE FIFTH ONE I WAS SURE THAT YOU ARE THE ONE FOR ME! SCREW AMBIENT ICELANDIC DRONE-ROCK! LET'S MAKE A LIFE FOR OURSELVES TOGETHER!"

Some LOIs seem to also think that breaks within songs, where instruments are clearly holding notes (a common indication that a song is not over) are an excellent chance to shout "WOOOOOH!" and thus have everyone be aware of one's appreciation for said fragile, quietly held note. Here is a quick guide about how not to be these guys.


Let the man whisper something, for goodness sake.

• SHUT THE FUCK UP. Nobody wants to hear you. If you are of the opinion that you have something of interest to say really loudly, then you don't have anything interesting to say. If you were even mildly considering shouting "WOOOOH!" during a quiet song, punch yourself in the face until you break your own nose, because you deserve to have to tell the doctor that story.

• Do not interact with your iPhone. It's common sense to not photograph or film these gigs, because everyone around you is trying to have a quiet, peaceful moment, but even if you're bored, try to refrain from getting your phone out constantly to check your Facebook, because the glow of that is just as annoying for everyone.

•The kinds of artists who play these gigs are normally pretty fragile creatures. Try to refrain from booing them. You'll break their little hearts. Give them a hearty round of applause, between songs of course.

• Don't wear bright clothing. That yellow tracksuit you were considering will make you look like a really stupid lighthouse, cutting through the gloom of black clothing. I guess it might make it easier for your friends to find you.

• Mosh pits are not something that should be caused by a mandolin breakdown.

• Conversations are best saved for a moment when the thing you've paid to see isn't happening right in front of you.

• Drink a stout. These kinds of concerts are solely populated by people who prefer stout drinkers. If you know the ABV and some facts about the brewery, you'll probably get laid. Don't ask me why, I'm just an observer.

• Now is not the appropriate time to sing along, unless your singing voice is, well, fantastic. It probably isn't, though.

• If the gig is seated, as such events often are, standing up intermittently for no particular reason is a fantastic way to ensure that those around you are plotting your demise. It doesn't matter how funky that sitar line was, just stay seated. Standing ovations after songs are fine.

See also:
- Ten Bands You Never Would Have Thought Used to Be Good
- The Ten Biggest Concert Buzzkills: An Illustrated Guide
- The 15 Most Ridiculous Band Promo Photos Ever
- The Ten Worst Music Tattoos Ever

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11 comments
VICIOUSXVI
VICIOUSXVI

Bullying only exists when there is a bully, a target and an audience for tiny xylophone music with backing vocals. Such fragile artists may need to return to the new-age-feel-gooderies from whence they were spawned if mild chatter and bright colors break their wittle hearts. Become part of the solution RFT, not part of the problem.

Kevin Walker
Kevin Walker

quit yer bitchin'. u spend too much time worrying about other concert goers than worrying about your bitchy ass self.

Jeff
Jeff

Did RFT fire all the editors when they got rid of Savage Love or something? Besides being a stupid bit of unfunny finger-wagging, this article has enough commas for the next three issues.

Michael Mahler
Michael Mahler

I wish people would put their damn phones away ALL the time and just use them when necessary. None of us want to hear your conversation... seriously. They're like damn umbilical cords.

rivertonrock
rivertonrock

Eloquently written. Yes, superb journalism. Don't wear bright clothing and drink a stout. Got it. Thank you!

Brian Bradley
Brian Bradley

Ha! "If you know the ABV and some facts about the brewery, you'll probably get laid. Don't ask me why, I'm just an observer." LOL

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Mobile smartphones are here to stay too, adapt or else be the band that comes off whiny. The decor at a venue will dictate whether people are quiet and respectful toward the music being played. For instance, seeing a performer at The Sheldon Concert Hall or Jazz At The Bistro has a much more respectful and attentive audience than seeing the same at old Mississippi Nights or The Pageant/Old Rock House. When I saw Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Powell Hall, the venue was appropriate for the performance and the audience was great. Seeing JJ Grey at The Duck Room for an acoustic event was problematic, people in StL like to drink and talk to each other during "shows" ... not the right venue for quiet and respectful... just my thoughts.

Mathilda Fenton
Mathilda Fenton

"Whoo"ing at the right time can be awesome. Don't judge people for being into the music.. judge them for not giving a fuck about a show they paid $30 to go see.

Judee Renner Sliment
Judee Renner Sliment

"Conversations are best saved for a moment when the thing you've paid to see isn't happening right in front of you." YES! If you have to shout over the band, you SHOULDN'T BE TALKING.

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