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Why won’t people SHUT UP at concerts?

It’s happened to all of us. We’re at a gig trying to enjoy the music but two people right next to us insist on having a conversation throughout the set. And because the music is loud, they’re shouting at each other. Why don’t they just STFU?

This article in Slate recounts a recent unpleasant such encounter at a Sloan show in Toronto.

A few days ago, my husband and I trekked out to a local club on a weeknight to catch Canadian rock ‘n’ roll stalwarts Sloan, who are touring the U.S. in support of a predictably great new album, “12.” As per usual, the band was also firing on all cylinders, busting out album deep cuts, hits and rarities (shouts to the cowbell-heavy “Live On” and obscurity “Step On It, Jean”).

For much of the first set, we sat at the bar, roughly 10 feet away from a group of men also parked on seats in the back. I physically can’t stand for long periods of time, so this was a good compromise so we could still see and enjoy the music. However, after the show started, one of the guys in said group proceeded to carry on a conversation — a very loud, intense conversation, in fact. It was so loud that my husband and I moved to another area where we could sit, as his voice carried over the music, and he seemed more interested in chatting than paying attention to Sloan.

People are disrespectful all the time during concerts; his behavior was absolutely nothing new. But an off-hand tweet I made about the incident — “I will never understand why people pay money for a concert ticket and then will spend the entire show loudly talking and ignoring the band” — struck a nerve. Days later, likes, quote-tweets and commiserating comments continued to roll in at a steady pace.

You know you want to see how this turns out. Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38162 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Why won’t people SHUT UP at concerts?

  • I had one concert basically ruined for me by this. I went to see Bowie’s Serious Moonlight concert at the CNE stadium. It was a big show, about 25,000 people, and the tickets were expensive for back then at $25 each. We found ourselves sitting quite high up, but the concert was quite amazing, until this group of four jock-type guys stationed themselves right at the end of our row of seats, near to where we were sitting, and those sons of bitches didn’t shut up for the entire show. To make matters worse, there were people up and down the aisle all during the show, and these guys apparently knew everybody. Each new person coming along would bring yet another loud conversation. I was pissed, to the point where I got into an argument later with my girlfriend because I was in such a bad mood. Later on I was able to get a DVD of Bowie’s show in Vancouver, for the same tour, and so I was finally able to enjoy the show without any distractions. But these guys were jerks. Why would you go to a show like that and not even pay any attention to it?

    I still remember my sister’s old boyfriend telling me about a show at Massey Hall. I forget who the headliner was, a really good band, but the opening act was Symphonic Slam. If you know of them, they were a pretty awesome Canadian progressive power rock trio. Well, he said there were two girls right behind him who wouldn’t shut up, and he was really enjoying Symphonic Slam and wanted to listen to them. He gave them a couple of dirty looks, but that didn’t put them off. Finally he turned around and said, “If you too don’t shut up right now I’m going to make you!” They shut up after that.


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