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TALK UP

Recently I read and hear more and more often that the behavior of the audience at pop concerts leaves a lot to be desired. And this usually means that there are quite a few people among the visitors who consider it a) necessary to film or photograph the half concert on their mobile phone, and / or b) take the opportunity to socialize with other concertgoers. to chat. To anyone wondering if this is a new phenomenon, which only confirms the overall decline of our Western civilization, I can say with reassurance that this is absolutely not the case.

Misbehaving, disinterested, drunk and also violent spectators have been around for as long as I can remember. I have ample experience with the audience during pop concerts, ranging from the Royal Theater Carré in Amsterdam to the De Witte Paarden hall in Steenwijkerwolde or the Apollo hall in Helden-Panningen, and it is a wonder that only recently has any fuss about this for both performing artist when the behaving, interested and uninhibited spectator is made extremely irritating. And I am talking about the noise nuisance caused by the audience. Yes, the audience.

That is the case in party tents and village cafes, where the alcohol flows freely and the majority of the visitors will be worried about who is actually doing his or her thing on that stage. As a band you usually know where you will end up, and you are happy when you return home with a fee but without significant injuries. When we came to play in De Witte Paarden with Kayak - to name just one hall - we always felt like we were on a mission to Central Africa, armed with beads and chains that nobody wanted. The visitors were not at all bothered by our cultural message, but enjoyed themselves very much. As evidence of this, the highly honored public always left an extra bottom layer of about five centimeters of broken beer glasses and / or plastic.

No matter how hard we played, we did not always rise above the noise of the spectators, who shouted each other the latest news just before the PA with admirable persistence - not to mention the visitors in the back. We were not only bothered by the noise in the hall during the softer songs, but in some cases even during the heavier work. I remember a carnival in Oldenzaal or nearby, with Earth and Fire, in the late eighties. One-third of the wall of sound in the tent was produced by the audience themselves (and I don't mean the naturally enthusiastic applause after the songs, but the noise that came our way while playing), one-third came from of the merry-go-rounds and bumper cars outside the tent just behind the stage ("yeah aaa !!! and there it goes, nogggg maarrr a keeeeeerrr !!!"), and we as a band made the hellish cacophony with presumably visible reluctance - but just that forced by contract and wallet- complete. What a party. From those times when you wonder what the hell you're doing and if you couldn't have learned a trade anyway.

And yet, at those kinds of events I can still understand how it works. You are just living wallpaper in that setting. It moves on stage and there is a kind of sound coming out, fine, drink in it, everyone happy. What I cannot comprehend is how people who come to a concert of a band or artist who want to see and HEAR them, and buy expensive tickets for that, talk to each other about that-I-don't-know-what during that concert. important, as if they have not seen each other in years. I once went to a Frank Boeijen concert in the old Utrecht city of Tivoli at the invitation of a colleague of friends who played in his group. Now that this singer is already difficult to understand, Tivoli was a difficult room in terms of acoustics, so I thought: loyal fans, listening songs, lyrics important and so, so they will hang on to their lips and LISTEN with full attention.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I was really baffled by the noise and whine in the room, especially during the songs. I looked around. Are these fans? What are they doing here anyway? Can't they just go outside or go to a cafe where they can understand each other to keep on clapping there, so as not to be a burden to the artist on duty and those who want to listen?

Incidentally, I can strongly recommend musicians who do not yet do so to play with 'ears'. These things not only give better control over the stage sound, but as an added advantage they offer the band members a reduced noise from the hall. At least I was happy with it.

But like I said, it is definitely not recent. In fact, the phenomenon certainly did not originate from pop concerts. As early as the 18th century, some of Mozart's wonderful operas were staged for a crowd that walked in and out, talking and cheerfully drinking, who were not always bothered by what was happening on stage. It was a night out, to see and be seen. So nothing new under the sun. We, as musicians, only need to provide a suitable entourage. Respect is not included in the entrance fee.