Sonya Madan is a quiet, near serene, presence on stage.
Possessed of a calm and peaceful form of confidence that comes from knowing that just because you are talented you don’t have to be arrogant.
When someone like that is driven to say…
“If you wanna talk…please fuck off.”
Even in that moment…good manners.
Quite often at gigs I will stand somewhere near the back of the room so that I can find a space where nobody is behind me and where my taking notes on my ‘phone for my review won’t interfere with the enjoyment of others.
If I can’t find a spot like that then I don’t take notes or I take a pen and paper with me…making sure I don’t hinder, or interfere with, the enjoyment of the evening is more important than my ability to remember every song played.
About half-way through the Echobelly gig at the Mash House a group of four girls and one boy entered the space where the gig was taking place. Given their age I was surprised, but delighted, to see them there…the music I love reaching an audience who missed them first time around is a wonderful prospect.
Three of the girls formed a huddle in front of me.
The other girl and the boy stood facing one another.
None of them looked at the stage.
First came the vape.
Then the talking.
Then the screeching laughter.
As Sonya and Glenn played “Dead Again”, a song about mortality…a sad, beautiful, rumination of the temporary nature of our existence…I was treated to the howls of laughter, the inane chatter and the lascivious graspings of a group of people who had no interest in what was happening in front of them.
Did it ruin my enjoyment of the moment?
It didn’t help though.
I had to work to focus on what I was there for.
A chap beside me found that more difficult and I could see him staring, furiously, at the group…weighing up the implications of confronting them…before taking his wife by the hand and moving to another spot.
A similar thing had happened at the Mark Morriss gig in Sneaky Petes a few days ago.
Two girls from some live music foundation stood just to my side for the entire duration of the gig and never once looked at what was happening on stage or stopped talking. They didn’t even applaud at the end of the songs. They were oblivious…to what was going on and to how their actions were impacting, negatively, on those around them.
Bear in mind that these were intimate, acoustic shows…not pedal to the metal, balls out, full band, RAWK, shows. These were small venues with little need for speakers or amplification to be honest. A huddle of fans barely reaching triple figures. A treat, a reward for the faithful to see and hear things in such a setting.
I can’t imagine it is difficult to gauge the mood in a room and the impact of your actions on others.
Sadly, it seems that the selfish minority grow fat on the fact that the rest of us are too polite to challenge them, to confront them, to tell them how they are upsetting the preferred order of things.
“Chill out mate.”
“I bet you’re a great laugh.”
“It’s a gig, not a library.”
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Maybe they are right.
I’m old of course.
Perhaps I am overly sensitive to such things.
Can I be honest?
I don’t think I am overly sensitive.
I don’t think it’s because I am old.
I think it’s because I try to put the needs of others on a par with my own needs and if what I am doing is interfering with the ability of someone else to participate with or to enjoy something…I stop doing that thing.