It’s really sad to think about it, however there was a time when people went to concerts and festivals and enjoyed it – without the need or desire to whip out their phones at a moments notice and film every goddamn song. To be completely honest with you, I have been known to pull out my phone and take a photograph at the start, yet never film a whole song or consecutive songs. If you have got this far into reading the article well you will know well what this is about, it is just something that really ticks me off. I can’t finger point the first time that I saw it at a gig, yet there is a suitable time to do it and times not too.
For example, the other week I went to James Bay at Festival Hall – which was quite impressive to see him go from performing a small Northcote Social Club show to near selling out FH in the space of 12 months. Nearly right down to the day, it was 12 months since he had played that dingy little music lovehole with the carpets a little bit sticky – and it was absolutely fantastic. Ever since my friend introduced me to ‘When We Were On Fire’ nearly two years ago, I have been infatuated by the English singer-songwriter. Chances are, that you have probably heard his songs on commercial radio as ‘Hold Back the River’ and ‘Let It Go’ truly blew up in the last 12 months. If I had a dollar for all the times that I had heard those two songs last year, well, let’s just say I could easily afford to fly to Glastonbury to see him.
But let’s get back to the point: I can completely come to terms with wanting to keep a memento of your favourite song of his that he may play, yet what about before phones were invented? This isn’t to say this is a seniors moment or anything, but there was a time where people remembered things without taking photographs – they lived in the moment.
Last year one of the big industry heavyweights hit back at punters using their iPads and devices to film part of his show and who am I talking about? None other than Mr Jack White himself. Appearing on Conan O’Brien to publicise his latest record Lazaretto, White said that fans need to live in the moment more rather than letting their screens do the talking. Quoted as saying that he can’t really see anybody’s faces because they are all holding up devices and from the stage all you would see is a whole bunch of iPads. Although I haven’t really had it happen at my gigs before, I can only imagine how annoying it would be as a performer. Furthermore, White when headlining Coachella, asked the crows to just put down their devices for a minute and, sadly, they did not listen.
There are a few smart ways around this, you could either check in on Facebook to the venue before the concert or take a photo before the main band starts to play. There is a fine line between taking a couple of shots and just being a right dick about it. At the James Bay concert, 99.9% of fans had all of their smartphones out which created a sea of stars with the flashlights on. Okay yes, it was a cool effect but necessary?
There are moments when bands jump out into the crowd and do spontaneous things and at festivals in the open air environment there is a bit of space to be able to do that. In a venue though, well that’s just silly. Think about the artist and how much practice they have put into a performance next time before whipping it out for your favourite song. Nothing shits me more than seeing a person in front of me at a gig with their phone out. Just please have some respect. Thank you for Forte for doing the right thing. The proper thing. End rant.
Written by Tex Miller