I read a letter in Word Magazine written by my mate Planet Mondo about a gig he went to in Cambridge featuring the wonderful John Martyn. All through the gig someone sitting behind him sang at the top of his voice out of tune and with no regard to people actually trying to enjoy the gig.
As a regular gig goer I am becoming more and more frustrated at this kind of thing. My gripe is not with singing however but people who go to gigs and then talk all the way through it. It is known by my mates and me as Londonitus and it is becoming worse and worse. It usually happens at a gig featuring a band that is being talked about and is therefore just the type of gig to be seen at. It is quite evident that some people do not really have any interest in the bands they have gone to see. Whether these are guestlisters who work in PR or the 'industry' I have no idea but I don't think they can be fans of the band.
One case in point took place a while ago now at the ICA in London when I went to see Mogwai. If you are unfamiliar with their work, Mogwai have very loud parts to their tracks and some quiet bits too. The chatter during the quiet bits of this gig (which was in a much smaller venue than Mogwai usually play in thus upping the trendiness quota) was unbelievable. What was more unbelievable was that when the band cranked the volume up the people talking raised their voices so they could be heard!! The arrogance of this is astounding. It was if the band were interrupting their conversation with their music. This isn't an isolated incident either. I have actually heard someone talking at a gig and say "I love this track" and then continue to talk all the way through it!
To attend a gig now and not here chatting all the way through is now so rare my mates and I comment on it. It shouldn't be like this of course and I really wish venues would police things better. The Luminaire in London tells punters to be quiet and as a result your enjoyment of the music is not spoilt by selfish poseurs.
I would therefore appreciate anyone who wishes to have a chit-chat during a gig to do one of two things. Either don't bother coming or, if you really must been 'seen', go and talk in the bar. I'm off to see Amusement Parks On Fire next week in ultra-trendy Hoxton and I fear the worst. I only hope the place will be full of real fans who want to hear them play.