I’ve been going out. To be slightly more accurate, I’ve not been in much. The week started with a gig: My youngest daughter kept me company at the Low Anthem show in Oran Mor Glasgow. The Lows…(can we call them that?) had been into Pacific Quay that afternoon and we’d had a chat after they’d recorded 3 songs. This was a lovely session which was a real joy to sit in on. Beautifully recorded by Joanne in Studio 1 you can here the results on Tuesday night.
The gig was later that evening and it was a real triumph on many levels. For one thing it is always good to know that 400 people will come out to see a band that a lot of people haven’t yet heard about. Secondly it reaffirmed my core belief in the simple act of musicians playing songs to an audience who are happy to pay attention. (Two factors that don’t often come together in the same room despite loads of live events happening here in Scotland.) The real highlight of the night was their (even more) spirited version of Tom Waits’ “Home I’ll Never Be.”
On the way home from last week’s show I dropped by The Academy to pick up two happy daughters, their cousin and a pal who were part of a large number of contended people leaving The Fleet Foxes show there. Sadly (according to them) the magical silence which had been so noticeable in Oran Mor had been replaced by the Academy drone. That venue seems to specialise in encouraging the audience to chat, order up drinks and generally annoy performers more than any other music place I know.
What people probably don’t realise is that the performer can only do something really special if there is that silent, sacred space. A couple of years ago at the Belfast/Nashville festival I went to see a friend play. His wife stood beside me and she eventually was forced to (politely) ask some drunken women to be quiet. One of the drunken woman later came up to her and asked my friend’s wife to apologise. At that point I stepped in and told the woman that she had finally crossed a line. I survived. A year or so before that we had a night seeing Thad Cockrell completely ruined by noisy drunk blokes. They were finally thrown out and we later discovered they were off-duty policemen.
What I never understand is why these people pay money in the first place? Do they see it as their right to come and laugh inappropriately, ruin great moments and generally kill the vibe? When I grew up the people that ruined shows were the bouncers at the Caird Hall and The Glasgow Apollo – now I have to say I feel like calling in security myself. Not because anyone’s getting carried away at the show but because they’re just not listening.
I am sure the performers always appreciate a “gaun yersell Jackson (insert act name here)” etc. type comment. It is truly pathetic. I agree with you about the ABC – odd venue.
The worst this year was the Ray Lamontange gig where some muppet shouted out “know any Dylan”…….grrrrr.
Anyway loved that track Summer heard it on the radio.
ooops you said Academy. Well the ABC is worse due to the bar set up I think?
I know exactly what you mean and have had some otherwise great gigs blemished from the outbursts of a small but vocal minority in the room. Sadly they have included some of your own shows, both solo and with the band.
That said, I’ve also been able to enjoy some perfect moments when everything comes together and the audience listen in that all too rare respectful silence. And perhaps none more than a very special night nearly exactly ten years ago now, where we heard you sing a little of “The Wildness” off mike into the “sacred, silent space” of the Royal Albert Hall. That was pure magic.
A positive note on Glasgow venues – I saw Brandi Carlile last month in the Glasgow Garage on Sauchiehall Street. A wonderful venue – super acoustics, great size and layout, with the bars at a discreet distance from the stage. The highlight of the night was Miss.Carlile and band performing a song off-mike and unplugged to the hushed and respecful crowd. ‘Amazing’ she called us…
I did also once see a Scottish artist tell rowdy members of an already sparse crowd to retire to the the bar and stay there if they wanted to talk during his performance. I thought it showed genuine class, as it risked not only a backlash from some of the idiots in the crowd but potentially could have reduced the audience to 12 people. Something positive to take from that gig in Magherafelt…
As you have probably guessed this old broad has a tendency to “activate” over issues such as the noise situations you describe. Rudeness and ignorance and lack of appreciation being a large part of the problem for individuals who over imbibe and behave miserably, we too, in the great overly hot Sonoran Desert are seeking solutions.
Right now we are working on a venue that will be built in our Old Town (I know 50 years is not old to ya’all, but that is the best we have). No alcohol before or during performances. Plain and simple.
Stay after for dinner and have your beverages.
Coffee, tea, and other beverages will be available before and after.
It is about the music and the respect for the entertainers, professionals and amateurs. There’s is a gift for all of us.
We are building it amphitheater style or tiered with seating for about 250 to 300. There are plenty of bars around to go get crocked. Not there.
Rick Galusha (sp?) Nebraska……see I keep telling you the only place to hear good Americana music is BBC Radio Scotland. Yeah I am listening again because I have been attending meetings on work force housing all week (and I am an activist about that, too).
Oh, and Roy Acuff and “Wabash Cannon Ball”….that is my anthem……or so my parents informed.. That is when I became “the gleam in my father’s eye” following his return from the war in the Pacific.
Play on Mr. Ross…..good stuff.
I thought I was just getting old, glad to hear that the young folks were annoyed by the noise too.
Fleet Foxes was the first event I have attended at the Academy.
As a Scot I was utterly ashamed at the racket and the ignorant behaviour of the audience during the performance.
Much of the blame has to be pinned squarely at the venue management for keeping the bars open throughout.
This is entirely unacceptable for me so I will be avoiding the Academy in future, even if Blind Boy Flugga stages a comeback there.
i have a slightly different take – although agree with most of the above. suspect many of us hanging around the fringes of the “another country” garment can remember JFK, Harold Wilson etc. When I was at school loads of people didn’t take any interest in music. There was a minority of us who brought in LPs or debated the merits of ELP versus CSN. Thus when one of these hallowed outfits came to your town – or you trekked through to the glasgow appollo it was reverence all the way. these days you have to be into music. Killers tickets on sale seemed to send every one of my (younger) colleagues into a frenzy. In my day there would be some who said “Killers – don’t get that”. Thus – and finally the point – I think people are there for a “good night out” and thus will opine to their neighbour happily through the entire gig because the sound of their own voice is their main entertainment – but missing a hip band is not an option.