Do you know something, after decades of going to see the great and the good at numerous venues all around the world, I don’t know if I can handle going to gigs anymore? “Really?” I hear you say. Is this the same Spike that flew to The Netherlands to see Franz Ferdinand playing at Vera in Groningen because it was the only gig he could fit into his Summer Schedule? The same Spike that drove to Manchester with a torn hamstring like a Screaming Banshee and hobbled into the Students Union to see Soul Coughing as this was the only gig they were doing “in the UK up North” or indeed dragged his wife to the Bowery Ballroom in NYC to see Adam Green on his Honeymoon…? It is, but I’m afraid that before too long I may end up in prison for GBH after having inserted the smart phone of the guy standing next to me into his rectal passage for incessantly filming the gig before the bands even gone on the fucking stage.

What is it with the gig going public of today that they can’t possibly go to a show without taking selfies with the security guy on pit duty or have to film at least half the show because their cousin Joe stubbed his toe and couldn’t be arsed to turn up? Why can’t these people just watch the show and enjoy it?

I’m going to offend a lot of punters here, but these people that feel the need to have to film and photograph the show should be dragged out and beaten to death with their own phones. Besides being massively annoying and spoiling the gig for those around them that don’t feel the need to record every second of their insignificant little lives and post these moments on social media like a badge of honour, it’s disrespectful.

Are they even aware that they are stealing money from the very artist they have paid to watch? The show itself may or may not have intellectual property rights, but I can guarantee that the songs and recordings most certainly do and with an artiste’s income streams already rapidly diminishing due, in the main, to the fact that everyone seems to think recorded music is free to all and sundry (muppets). It won’t be long before artists can’t afford to record or tour. At this point, these guys will just be left with X-Factor, Strictly and other such homogenised drivel. Be careful what you wish for, I say.

Maybe I’m missing something and the problem is with me for not being down with the kids. Maybe, but maybe not as it seems that some artists/bands are fighting back. At a recent gig in LA Rage Against the Machine (oh the irony!), Cypress Hill & Public Enemy have asked paying customers to put their phones in snazzy plastic bags which they can collect after the show. I know that Mumford’s, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kate Bush may not have taken phones away from their customers, but have made requests for them not to film or take pictures. Jack White goes a step further and has a guy come on to the stage asking punters to refrain from taking snaps as they have provided several professionals to take pictures, who after the show, make them available to fans from midnight on the day of said show to download for free. Big thumbs up to JW.

Hey look, I know that some will say if we’ve paid money for the concert we want to appreciate it by taking some photos. Well I say, “Wake up and smell the coffee, guys”. Your phone may be capable but more than likely you’re not, especially if you’ve had several Shandy’s and a few jazz cigarettes. Take it from me, an ex-professional photographer, the flash will only light the back of the guy in front of you, not the stage that’s sixty feet away, so your photos will be shit, you’ve become more annoying than the coked up assholes by the mixing desk and you’re in danger of needing to visit a proctologist to discuss the removal of the aforementioned electrical device that unfortunately/fortunately (delete as applicable) keeps vibrating to let you know the cab’s waiting outside the venue to take you back to La La Land.

Sx

Author Spike Beecham

Spike has an extensive music industry background and has 25 years working in the industry. Spike has covered a wide variety of roles including Promoters Rep, Stage Manager, Tour Manager, Production Manager, Promoter, Artist Manager and Theatre Producer to name but a few.

More posts by Spike Beecham

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