Okay, Christian, simple question:
You’re at a concert. The kind with music that falls between rock and pop and folk and indie (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) and jam-band. The kind where some people are sitting but most are standing. You’re standing among them, sometimes moving your body with the music (or whatever the kids are calling ‘dancing’ these days).
Is it okay to talk to the person you went to the concert with?
Christian: This is not a simple question. There are many factors involved and I will need a lot more information before I can give you the correct answer. First off what did you have for dinner before the show?
Pat: Not sure. Bourbon and Cheetos™, I think. That doesn’t sound like my typical dinner, but those are the two things I remember consuming that night.
Just to be clear, unlike many other people, bourbon and Cheetos™ turns me into a joyful and compassionate member of the community...not a sloppy drunk.
But all of that is beside the point. Would you talk or not?
Christian: I needed to know what you ate so I could get an idea of where your breath was at. If you had a bunch of garlic tacos or something I would say you should be limiting your talking to anyone for a few days. But bourbon and Cheetos seems fine.
How large of a venue was it?
Pat: Smallish. About 300 people. And to be clear, it was mostly a rockin’ show. There was one song where the band left, and the singer announced that he was going to try a particular song a capella, as he’d done at it the previous two shows with the band and it didn’t sound right, so “this time I want you all to be real quiet so that I can see if it sounds right.” Or something like that.
I kinda’ hate it when performers do that stuff. To be clear, I did not talk during that song. Can’t say the same for the rest of the show.
C’mon, man. You were in a band. You played shows. How did you feel about your audience having a good chat while you were strumming your heart out?
Christian: I think I need some more clarification. Is your concern that if you talk you will be offending the band? Or are you concerned of annoying the person you are with? Or are you concerned of annoying everyone around you?
Just to warn you. Most likely you’re annoying someone.
Pat: Yeah, and at this point I should probably take it out of the hypothetical and let you know that I DID talk, I DID annoy someone, and I think I WAS that guy.
The exact words exchanged were:
Annoying guy: So, umm, are you two planning on talking throughout the entire show?
Me: Well...yeah, I think so.
Annoying guy: Oh, that’s kinda’ lame.
Annoying girl (not related to annoying guy): Yeah, it’s really annoying, you know.
Still, I don’t think that’s fair. I thought there was an understanding that concerts were fair game for open conversations. If the band isn’t holding your attention then you may converse. Do you see it differently?
Christian: First off, those people sound like hipsters. Were they hipsters? If so next time just say that you heard some local thrift store had a ton of vinyl and they’ll be running off to their fixed-gear bikes to buy records and be out of your hair. Or just spray them in the face with some mace.
Secondly, having been in bands and having played many shows, seeing two people have a lengthy conversation during our show wouldn’t be ideal. But it would be better than having them just walk off. Or having them spray me in the face with some mace.
If they were the opening band they might have been offended. If they were the headliner it’s probably not as bad since you obviously were sticking around to hear them. However if this band claims to be any sort of rock band at all, then they are at fault for this whole situation. If people can still hear conversations being held while they are playing then they are no rock band.
Let me guess, they were a sissy rock band*?
Pat: Yep. They were a pretty hard-core, to-a-tee-fits-your-definition-of-a-sissy-rock-band rock band. Nice job...very descriptive!
And you know what? Since we started the cordial and informative back-and-forth on this post, I’ve been to another concert--one where I was very interested in seeing the performer, in a small, intimate venue--and there was a group of dipshits nearby conversing throughout the whole affair, annoying the shit out of me and proving to myself that, yes, I was THAT guy at THAT concert.
Do you know if there’s a public online forum where one can go to be absolved of their concert digressions?
Christian: I wouldn’t know. I’m not THAT guy.
* Sissy rock band is the style of music where the band claims to be a rock band and has the traditional rock band instrumentation (electric guitar, drums, bass, etc.) but for some reason only plays slow to medium tempoed songs with very little energy and absolutely no hint of any raw emotion or angst. My go to example is Death Cab For Cutie.