Like a band? Enjoy their music? Wish to listen to said band for a reasonable price at your local student union or other popular venue? Well you can’t. Live music is no longer in existence. The “gig” is no more...unless of course you’re willing to escape with several broken limbs, bodily fluids in your hair, a bruised face and ego and claustrophobia. Yes, I’m calling it: the “gig” is dead.
Time of death: the 21st century.
Place of death: Within the hearts of myself and other cynics.
That’s right: You. You with your angry distain towards everything, you with your frustrating twitter-induced “opinions” about life, you with your self loathing, hatred dwelling, technologically repressed anger which can now only be expressed through a few lines of text or hurriedly scrawled out before you’re interrupted on “facebook chat”. You have ruined our gigs. You have ruined live music.
And I hate you.
To be more specific: this is the fault of "Youth"- as are so many things it would seem. In fact, let’s narrow the search even more. Teenagers with their neo-coddled “Dad didn’t love me enough” depression, the idea that stress levels are through the roof due to the immense pressure on today’s young people, the idea that the rising intellectual level of exams has caused an epidemic of beaten down kids who just need an outlet for their uncontrollable, hulk-like fury. And? Stress levels have ALWAYS been through the roof...not just for the youth, for EVERYONE. A-levels have always been hard, they always will be hard, they’re A-levels goddammit! Just because you might not get that precious little C in media studies does not give you the right to intentionally kick my knees from under me mid-gig. I was only trying to watch Gogol Bordello. I wouldn’t mind, but this absurd violent new way to spend thirty quid isn’t simply restricted to neo-punk (or so they claim) screamo groups...it’s everywhere. People have been known to get concussions while watching bands as tame as Kings of Leon-hardly what you’d call a bunch of head bangers.
And then there’s punk, the real origin of this oh so traumatizing experience. Cheers punk! There’s just another thing you’ve done for us (aside from convincing an entire generation of people that musicians who can’t play their instruments or sing or have any recognisable appeal are even worthy of the title “musicians”...yeah I said it!) Before our nose-ringed, swastika clad, droning little middle class “rockers” came along there was a strange musical movement known as “prog”-Middle Class rockers who didn’t try and hide it. And do you know what people did at progressive rock concerts? They stood there quietly and they listened. Do you remember that? Listening to music? God, those were the days weren’t they? When people actually listened to music. How quaint. You see, people don’t listen anymore. People don’t go to gigs to listen anymore. People sometimes actually go, literally just to “go mental”, to release their anger in a burst of fury and fists. Thanks again Punk, you’ve spawned a generation of people who don’t know the difference between a gig and a fightclub.
Oh, and we get that you’re “so into the music” that you simply can’t bear the thought of leaving for five minutes and end up resorting to pissing into a plastic cup...but do you have to chuck it? Put it on the floor, or better yet...just piss yourself? The sweat and the stench of a live gig is hardly going to get you laid anyway and you’re obviously prepared to go to extremes: piss on the underwear is better than piss in the hair. And PLEASE if we must hurl bottles of our own urine around like the primitive animals we all apparently become when listening to live music, can we make sure it’s the ONLY bodily fluid we throw? Ultimately it’s probably my own fault for attending a My Passion gig...you have to be prepared to get sperm thrown in your hair at that sort of thing. Oh wait. No you don’t. In what situation (other than regretted office Christmas parties) should one be prepared to get sperm thrown at them? To this day I don’t know whether this was an expression of hatred for the lead singer or a form of sadistic love.
Now I’m not saying we abolish the idea of the gig altogether. Going back to the days of prog might mean the death of so many fantastic live atmospheres. Moving to music is not just good fun, it’s part of the experience-an articulation of passion, a loving and spontaneous sign of support and respect for the musicians on stage, it’s the mark of a true fan-to be able to lose oneself in the music...but can we please just do it WITHOUT making it like a scene from A Clockwork Orange? The music needs to be the sole focus of the gig and just once it’d nice to be able to see my favourite band live without having to use my peripheral vision.
The youth may believe they need at outlet for these serious bursts of aggression. But I employ you not to take this attitude into our gigs, otherwise the ever tightening boundaries that initially separated clubs and gigs will eventually fuse and become one; which nobody wants. If you must physically portray your rage please, join a gym, take up kick boxing, re-create the plot of Raging Bull, I don’t care! Just don’t bring it into our gigs. Remember where it all spouted from? Music. Music, an art for the ears, not for the eyes and certainly not for the fists. Let’s keep it that way.
I for one suggest channelling your rage into art; writing a long winded rant on an independent online magazine perhaps?