The band is playing. Please be quiet.

I’m not sure what exactly the medical condition is called that prevents adults, usually between the ages of 18-34, from being unable to refrain from talking for periods of 45 to 60 minutes when a band is on stage. And I’m no scientist, Jim, nor am I a doctor,  but I know for a fact it’s a real condition. I’ve seen it first hand, many times. I just don’t understand how some people just can’t stop talking to listen, especially when the band is playing. It’s annoying to me, and it has to be disrespectful to the band.

Some of us, if you can imagine this, love live music, and, well, geeze, maybe came to see AND hear the band perform their music live. No, really, what a concept. Live music. For 45 to 60 minutes. Played by actual musicians. RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. You can watch them play their instruments, tune them, tell you stories, and showcase some new stuff you’ve probably not heard yet … but all you can do is talk?

I’m not referring to “Oh, that’s a great lyric” or “Wow, what an amazing guitar lick” or “Damn, that rhythm section is tight” type of talk … this has nothing to do with the actual events on stage. These are just random yahoos talking about the random things that make up their random lives. I get clapping, cheering, yelling, showing the band you connect with them and their music and appreciate the vigor they bring to the stage while playing it for you. But just standing talking about work and the kids and TV shows and your new car? Nobody but you really cares about the banality of your daily life, and nobody outside of your circle of friends needs to hear about in a voice loud enough to be heard in a 10 foot radius.

Sadly, this isn’t a one-time event, or something that happens in one venue, or one city, or to one band. Tonight, I was standing 15-20 feet away from a stack of speakers that covered 72 square feet, pumping music at 128 decibels (thanks iPod app that pointed that out to me) and was rather pissed at the general din of the conversation not only being audible, but at many points overpowering the sound coming from the stage.

Yet I’m the bad guy when I politely ask, or, not-so-politely request, someone take their conversation elsewhere because, well, I paid to hear the band play their music, not you talk about your new cell phone (happened at a Cowboy Junkies show in Kent), or how the kids did in school (Red Wanting Blue, Pittsburgh), or how the local sports team won or lost today’s or this week’s game (numerous bands in numerous towns). Seriously … I do not understand why people pay to see a band and then proceed to talk the entire time the band they paid to see is on stage.

And after politely asking, or not-so-politely requesting, someone please be quiet because the band is on, I’ve been threatened, made fun of, pointed out to others as someone who’s bothered by people talking, and, at one show, almost had a sucker punch thrown at me as I walked away, until a friend told the dude, “Uh, he was in the military. And he’s from Youngstown. You might wanna reconsider that.” All because, oh, I wanna HEAR the band I paid to see, not hear you talk.

Tonight, the assclowns who were talking over the finesse band we saw proceeded to yell in my ear, ask if they could clap, try to goad me into an altercation and involve their friends in even more conversation after I asked them to take their conversation elsewhere because I didn’t pay to hear them talk, I paid to hear the band. All of this happened 20 feet from the stage in a venue that had more than 200 people inside.  And by finesse band, I’m talking a band with an upright bassist, cello player, banjo/uke player, drummer who spent as much time behind the kit as playing his cajon (aka slapbox) in front of it, and a lead singer who played acoustic guitar. So the sound was intricate. And layered, and often times very low volume, where all the conversations were drowning it out.

I’m not talking Ronnie James Dio at jet engine level blowing your hair back, whether you have hair or not. This is music that silence is a part of, and when you have dozens of conversations going on in the room, you just can’t get that silence.

Like I said … I just don’t get it.

What’s so hard about being quiet for 45 to 60 minutes when  a band is playing? Is it me? Do I expect too much?


6 Responses to “The band is playing. Please be quiet.”

  1. Barry Says:

    I agree completely. And, being ex-military myself, would be delighted to punctuate my annoyance with something to make a real impression. After all, an idiot with a split lip might have trouble talking.

  2. Dawn@LightenUp! Says:

    Shut the f*ck up so Eric can hear his band!

    Did that help, buddy?

  3. Red Wanting Blue Says:

    I don’t think people will make noises while the world’s best band “Red Wanting Blue” is playing “Red Wanting Blue”

    • Eric Broz Says:

      Bobby Bare Jr. said it best after his second song when he opened for you at House of Blues in Cleveland: “I apologize if my music is interrupting your conversations. I *can* play quieter.”

  4. Lisa researching music venues in Columbus Says:

    I’m with you. Can we all agree to keep it to ourselves until the music stops? That would be great.

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