Friday, September 21, 2007

On manners, part three

Grizzly Bear, a four-piece art-rock group from Brooklyn, New York, are one of the most interesting and best live acts performing today. I’ve seen them twice: once in Seattle, once—last night—in Toronto.

One of the most appealing aspects of Grizzly Bear’s music, especially in a live setting, is dynamics—in the space of one song, they’ll shift from a single voice accompanied by guitar to lush, four-way harmonies to a throbbing, bass-heavy groove with enormous drum fills. Then they’ll bring it back down to a single voice.

Last night, certain people in The Mod Club decided it was acceptable to talk through the band's otherwise flawless performance. As you would expect, this, to a certain extent, spoiled the quiet parts. Why people feel it's OK to talk at a rock concert is something that has always puzzled me. The only answer I can come up with is that because audience members at a rock club are standing and drinking, they feel like they're at some kind of party and the need to socialize overwhelms them. Either that, or they don't give a shit about music and are just there to be seen.

People who talk at movies are policed by fellow moviegoers, who will inevitably tell them to shut their useless traps. At plays and symphonies, the policing is even tighter—you talk and you'll be dealing with THE USHER. At a rock concert, there's no policing. You could argue this has something to do with the anarchic spirit of rock and roll, but then you'd be making excuses for people who obviously care very little about rock and roll. It’s supposed to be about the music, man.

There was a poignant moment last night, when Ed Droste spoke candidly, but coyly, about the talking. One day we're going to play a seated venue in Toronto, he said, somewhere where there's no long bar, and no booze buzz. Then, not wanting to harsh anyone's buzz, he added: "But I like booze."

So here’s my advice to those who feel the need to yak when they go to see live music: shut your yap. I don’t want you to go elsewhere—I want you to listen. You might find yourself swept up in something special.

If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe this guy.

Grizzly Bear - Little Brother (Daytrotter Session)


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