Friday, October 27, 2006
heckler spray

So I was browsing around on Via Chicago when I found this rather charming opinion piece.

If you're too lazy to read it, the gist of it is that the author heckles bands when he's bored at a show, because he thinks art is turning to shit because society is complacent and nobody complains.

At first I thought the entire article was a joke. It still wouldn't be all that funny as a piece of writing, but as someone who writes a few semi-regular things, I understand that sometimes you just can't muster up your A-game. In fact, I'd kind of admire Mr. Thompson for fictionalizing himself as the asshole for the sake of his writing. Thing is, someone on Via Chicago was actually at the first show he mentioned and heard the guy.

It's funny, because that first show was Califone, whom I saw earlier this month. I also thought they were a bit boring live. On the other hand, instead of yelling (rather unfunny quips - if you're going to be a jackass, at least be witty, jackass), I just stood quietly, and then moved back, before slipping out the door.

Now there are several things to bring up here. One is that, before you describe someone as a "geeky 30-something indie rock washout" you might want to look in the mirror and imagine yourself in a decade's time (check the photo: pot, meet kettle). The second is that just because this dude thinks something is boring, doesn't mean everyone does. I'm sure there were a good chunk of people who found Califone enthralling. I hated Six Organ of Admittance's last show here, but my girlfriend found it rather wonderful.

That's probably pretty obvious, but here's the thing that really jumped out at me when I read this article. It's that Paul Thompson is half-right. People are too complacent. Not about art though. People are too complacent when it comes to jerks like Paul Thompson. That goes for most situations, but let's focus on shows.

How many times have you been to a show where some clown pushes his way to the front right before the band starts? How many times have you been to a show where one guy decides it's cool to thrash into everyone in a three metre radius? (and I'm not talking hardcore punk shows) And, how many times have you been enjoying yourself at a concert when some asshole who's seen Dane Cook's Tourgasm DVD one too many times decides to yell something stupid at the band? Does anyone ever say anything?

More often than not everyone just stands politely as one guy attempts to ruin things for everyone else.

So friends, heed Paul's advice and fight your complacency. And next time someone who didn't receive enough attention during their formative years attempts to remedy that by disrupting a musical event, let the fucker have it. Because, as Paul so rightly - albeit melodramatically - puts it, "if you don't stand up for art, it can only stand up for itself for so long before it withers and dies."

now playing: Sam Cooke - You Send Me


Hear, hear!

By Blogger minx, at 11:06 a.m.  

Apathy is our generation's trademark!

How many people our age actually vote? 20%? 30%? Canadian Idol probably does better.

By the way, where are the socially conscious bands these days? Neil Young, Black Angels and Fat Mike... you'd think there'd be more "artists" speaking out, especially these days when there's so much material to work with.

By Anonymous Rob, at 12:23 p.m.  

This rallying cry could have certainly been heeded @ Black Angels last week, as there was a rather large asshole who ruined The Tyde's (admittedly not that enthralling) performance. Shouting "Boo" whenever there is a moment's quiet does not a criticism make. He definitely should have been taken out. It's about respect.

By Anonymous dave, at 6:03 p.m.  

i think Paul's article brings up an interesting discussion, but ultimately I disagree with him. Heckling is never appropriate.

My take is that on the very base level, musicians are doing a job by performing so it's incredibly disrespectful to visit someone's job and offer unexpected, non-constructive criticism. If you really hate a band's live show, don't see them again. Tell your friends not to go either. Don't complain while you're there, having already paid $10 or $20 or whatever, and are surrounded by fans, who might even be enjoying the show.

By Anonymous josh, at 10:58 a.m.  

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