Please Shut Up
We all have our pet hates and I'm no exception. I go to a fair few live contemporary music events, not just in Liverpool.
Live music is something I've enjoyed for over 40 years but unfortunately there is a dark cloud on the horizon.
In the past four years or so, I find more and more people, especially, but not exclusively at standing gigs, spend their time chattering away, often at high volume, more or less oblivious to what is happening on stage. They still applaud enthusiastically at the end of every song of course as though enthralled by the quality of the performance, even though they've paid hardly any attention.
This phenomenon is not confined to Liverpool but, in my experience, seems to be worse here than, for example, Manchester or Sheffield, although judging by comments on the internet, it is a regular problem in the USA as well. It's getting to the stage where I am now increasingly reluctant to go to certain venues in the city and on past occasions, have had to leave early because the extraneous noise was just way too annoying.
Why spend sizable amounts of money ostensibly to see someone perform, pretty much ignore them and spoil the experience for others? It would be cheaper and more appropriate (and much less frustrating to those like me who just want to hear the music) for these people to just go to the pub or a bar.
In the past few years I have seen things like loud blues/ rock band, Nine Below Zero stopping playing to ask the stentorian quintet making continuous noise at the bar to pipe down; a pair of chatterboxes behind me at an Echo Arena Crosby, Stills and Nash concert who conversed non-stop throughout the gig, having paid £50 per ticket; a Tourettes whistler who insisted on sounding off regularly at a Roger Hodgson gig, usually during the quietest passages of music; a Terry Reid fan who frequently drowned out Terry Reid's performance for everyone within 20 feet, telling anyone who would listen how wonderful he thinks Terry Reid is, (Terry Reid asked him to shut up eventually); and a Toots and the Maytals gig made intolerable by chatter volume comparable to Anfield football ground when Liverpool are attacking the Kop goal.
I have tried very politely asking adjacent perpetrators to reduce their noise level. The response is often an aggressive stance and / or glare, followed by an increase in volume.
I have tried to understand why this happens. I am a liberal after all and believe firmly in live and let live as a guiding prinnciple. Maybe it's me and I'm just turning into a stereotypical Grumpy Old Man. I have no problem with people talking briefly between songs - I sometimes do that myself - or making the occasional sotto voce comment during a song. I am talking here about full blown, multiple participant high volume exchanges.
Perhaps the advent of social media has made opportunities for friends to meet up and converse with each other face to face less frequent. Maybe over consumption of booze in an era of binge drinking is making people much more uninhibitedly garrulous. It may just be another sign that good manners are a thing of the past in this country. Perhaps, for some, attendance at certain gigs has little to do with listening to the music at all but is done solely to be able to try to accrue social cachet on Twitter or Facebook by saying "I was there" (hence the increasing incidence of taking repeated pictures of the band with the latest smartphone.)
I am reluctant to suggest this but perhaps appropriate signage and / or proactive stewarding to limit this could somehow be made part of the licensing conditions for live performance venues.
All I know is it ain't right, I am getting sick to death of it and I don't have a ready solution other than staying at home.