Thursday, 3 May 2007

I’m with the band

The four walls of a concert venue are like some strange X-Files, other world where the normal laws no longer apply. Once we’re through the door, regular behaviour is checked at the door. As the performers step on to the stage they’re greeted with thunderous applause. We’ve brought the tickets, forked over money for the merchandise with inflated-prices, stood closer to strangers than we would in any other circumstances bar public transport or prison and yet we still cheer just because some lucky music student happened to string 5 notes together in a catchy way?

We also put up with so much pushing and shoving. Why do we hand over the keys to our kinosphere so willingly? Just because some one has dimmed the lights and put some music on? Are we really that easy? The first notes dance across the room and it’s a race to spot the song (or at least pretend to recognise it) and cheering in knowing appreciation. Either we’re soothsayers who can divine how the performance of the song will be based purely on the intro, or it’s encouragement; a cheer to the musicians, as if to say, “This is a good song, don’t fuck it up. I believe you can play it well. I’m behind you.”

Part of the whole pseudo-religious experience is the compulsion to follow the instructions from the stage. The ugly bass player holds their hands above their head and begins a slow clap and before you know it, you’ve joined in. The room slaves to the band’s every instruction: “Jump up and down, echo my words, sing for me when I point a microphone at you.”

What is my point? I think I’m trying to work out why I/we do this. The music is rawer, less perfect than an MP3 so it’s not the music we go along for. It must be the experience. In return for putting up with getting closer to our fellow man than we really want to, subjecting ourselves to a deafening hardship and paying prices that are off the scale, we are allowed to say that we were there. Not playing with the band but standing among the masses, believing that we’re inspiring the performers to higher artistic heights.

No comments: