I know I’m sounding like a grump but I had actually never seen it this bad for a band so big, Massive Attack are an amazing band, well at least to me they are. I might be wrong but I’m pretty sure going to gigs is mostly about the music, especially when you get to hear people like Horace Andy and Martine Topley-Bird sing live and Deborah Miller was amazing sing Safe from Harm and Unfinished Sympathy. I’m pretty sure it’s not about getting blind drunk whilst yelling over the band like they’re an inconvenience to you! When the first encore was over, I almost left with the first wave of leavers but after learning my lesson with Interpol I waited for the lights to come up before leaving and they did come out for one last song, their biggest hit and now everyone that is left, pays attention!!!
I know that when you go to a gig, it’s crowded, there are people who insist on talking throughout the gig and there is a fair amount of pushing and shoving as people make there way to the bar, toilets etc but never in my life had I seen so many people turn up to a gig and ignore the band and that band was not a small band, even their name tells you, Massive Attack. Yes Massive fucking Attack were playing, three sold out shows and most people acted like they had turned up to see a friend of a friend’s band play some back room in a pub and were there for the free pints!
I had turned up just in time to see Young Fathers hit the stage, the venue (Brixton Academy) and it was probably about a quarter full at this point, so I made my way towards the front to settle into a spot stupidly thinking this that this is still where the die hard music fans go! Turns out that’s about the first two rows in front of the stage! Young Fathers were good, not quite to my taste musically but I still enjoyed watching them perform. They also came out later to perform with Massive Attack.
The venue fills up and the band hits the stage and people seems nonplussed about it all. The band have gone to great lengths to ensure not only an audible feast but a visual one as well. They have taken their status and used it as a platform via video to stream information mainly highlighting the refugee crisis, a bold and political move and one I salute but I’m not sure how many people it reached. They even put up a donation number at the end, I’m not really sure how many people who saw once they music stopped and everyone turned to leave (those that stuck around!)
The band is not known (well to me anyway) for being a loud, singalong band, dancing I would expect but most people just seemed to carry on their conversations as loudly as possible over the band. The front start to get more crowded and the girl in front of me kept pulling this guy towards her, blocking my view so she could shout in his ear every five minutes about random crap! So I move to towards the back which was even worse. At one point I could just about hear teardrop and some of the new songs, there is the obligatory cheer and applause when a song finishes as people turn round to acknowledge them.
You pay near enough 35 quid a ticket these days for a gig, that’s not including booking fees and possibly postage, to stand around for 2 hours (because only the hardcore come early to get to the front and also see the support band, I’m not hardcore by the way) and ignore a band just so you can say you went to see them? But you don’t really see them or here them because you have you’re back to the stage and are yelling at your friend for not making your drunken self look good in a photo for Facebook, so you can brag about going to see a band that you really don’t actually care about. What’s more I’ve paid £35 to hear and see a band play live, not listen to inane drunken ramblings!! If I wanted that experience I would go to a nightclub! Which is why I haven’t been to a club in years!
There were people there to see the band I know that, these were the people that were equally pissed off and not be able to see or hear the band but it seems increasingly more popular that people just go to gigs to hear the hits and ignore the rest of the songs, especially during the quieter songs when obnoxious behaviour is even more apparent. It’s also really disrespectful to the people on stage. I’m beginning to think they turn the lights down, not so you can see the stage better but so the band don’t see the audience ignoring them.