What the fuck is wrong with people? Specifically, the modern gig-goer.
Going to gigs is becoming a tedious experience. This is not because of the noise emitting from the stage, the over-elaborate lights, the fad encores, the overpriced pints, or even the terrible toilet facilities (a lock on the door shouldn't be too much to ask for, nor should, you know, toilet roll).
Rightly or wrongly, you accept these minor inconveniences and trivialities as a small price to pay to see the whites of your favourite artist’s eyes when they deliver that killer riff or lyric that debugs the entirety of your personal experience on earth in several simple syllables.
That’s of course if you actually get to hear that lyric. Because while rock and roll ain’t noise pollution, people certainly are. Dublin (and presumably the rest of the country, by extension) is experiencing an epidemic of noise.
This typhoon of ignorance shows no respect to either the performer or the other people who laid down their hard earned money to witness the spectacle on stage.
Admittedly, we all talk at gigs. But that’s mostly saying hello to people you bump into in the crowd, or turning to your friends and saying, “This is amazing.” These are par for the course and are at least a joyful noise that adds to the atmosphere, as is a certain amount of “I love you….” (enter idle name here) being thrust towards the stage. But there’s always one “Get them off you” dickhead that embarrasses himself and the rest of us by proxy. And lately, this dickheadery is escalating.
During an exceptional performance by Lissie in Whelan’s recently, Basic Barry rolled out “Get them off ya” quicker than an NRA spokesperson calling for more guns after a mass shooting – at the mention of her trousers. Why don’t you ask her to "marry you" too whilst you’re at it, Basic Barry. But, sadly, Basic Barry has friends, and their ranks are growing day by day.
There’s nothing new about a misogynistic male outburst towards a female performer. It's unfortunately widespread to the point of being endemic. But you'd think at least the actual fans would be capable of a little more respect. Sadly, this is not the case with Basic Barry. "How would I feel if that was my mother/sister/daughter being-addressed as if they were a fuck doll?" is apparently a question that never occurs to these cretins.
Lauren Mayberry may well be the cutest thing the world has seen since a panda emoji. She may well be your dream lover and that’s perfectly fine, but you’re at a gig here Barry, save those thoughts for tissue time. Pull your mind out of its cave. Respect your mother by respecting the woman on stage. And maybe while you're at it have a think about that fact that shouting dumb fuck things at a woman in public (in general) is never going to do you any favours with the opposite sex in any circumstances.
But lets save a total digression into the subject of the objectification of women in bands by men for another time, and return to Lissie. Several songs into her fine solo set, the chatter from the balcony is becoming poisonous. Eventually a man, a good man, (plenty of us exist) shouts at the balcony to "shut up" and Lissie addresses the issue: “I appreciate silence until the end of the song.” The people who value Lissie, their time, and their €18 euro, back this sentiment loudly.
The following night I’m back in Whelan’s (I must stress this isn’t a Whelan’s problem; it’s every venue) for sideburn icon and former Supergrass head honcho Gaz Coombs. Once again a large selection of the sold out crowd paid little, if any, attention to the show.
The boys and girls of The Basic Barry Association of Ireland make a formidable choir of booming voices, covering a wide range of life and death can’t wait topics such as switching to Virgin Media, Louis Van Gaal, Lisa’s new boyfriend. Hi Lisa, just so you know they think he’s a complete dick and that he’s already cheated on you with some hairdresser.
It's clear that some people are content to fork over €23 for a relentless, blockbuster can’t-wait conversation, and this is somehow more important than witnessing the Mercury Prize nominated album ‘Matador’ being performed solo, in an intimate setting.
But as for me, I came here to hear The Girl Who Fell To Earth, Barry. I couldn’t give a fuck about your Virgin Media bundle and neither could anybody else.
Shut the fuck up; listen to the music. You paid to hear it. If you can’t be silent while a show is on don’t go to it. Find a pub that’ll charge you €23 for the ability to hold your riveting conversation. Or maybe just stay in the local, and donate said €23 to a slightly more worthy cause.
And remember, When it comes to gigs the safe cross code is king. Stop, look and listen