So If you hadn’t guessed I’ve moved! It all went kinda well and hopefully things can finally get back to normal. There’s still loads of unpacking to do but for the time being I’m thinking of doing videos in this space for a while, so yeah er… get used to it.
So the other night I went to a Jon Hopkins gig at the Albert Hall in Manchester. Before Jon went on, a sign came up on the projector saying something along the likes of “We appreciate people not using mobile phones during the show” and this got me thinking.
It’s becoming quite a popular trend to suggest gig goers to leave their phones in their pockets and in some cases to even lock it away before even entering the gig.
Back when I started gigging people didn’t really use phones at gigs – my god that makes me sound accent but it was only about ten years ago but that just goes to show how things have changed. There just wasn’t that many photos and videos being taken as the quality was a bit rubbish but now it’s a lot better, or well acceptable…
So why does having your phone out a a gig get such a negative rep? Well, let’s go through a few examples.
Constantly Recording or Taking Photos
Somebody is blocking your view of a show by either constantly recording the show or taking photos. I mean constantly recording is a bit weird really, especially when they’re looking through the back of the phone the whole time. If that’s just for a memento for later, you’ve kind of missed the experience. Although ignorance is bliss to some people, I had mate who watched ‘No Country for Old Men’ on a 1.77 screen, just as the director intended, hmm.
Talking Throughout the Show
We’ve all experienced this and not just at gigs. You’re watching a show and two guys in front start gibbering on about being in work the next day and whether Tony is gonna turn up ‘cause he’s been off ill for a week, but he’s really just been sitting of binge watching Narcos on Netflix, bloody Tony. I don’t know who Tony is.
Not Even Watching
There’s also that weird guy In front with a much better view than you, not even watching the show because he’s just on his phone looking at hats, or squirrels, or squirrels with hats, something weird anyway.
Now here’s my takeaway on all that. For me I think it’s perfectly acceptable to take a few photos as keepsakes, maybe even a selfie or two with your mates. I really do think it depends on the gig though. Obviously if it’s a classical music show and it’s seated you just wouldn’t, it’d be like taking a selfie during a funeral which would just be weird.
Why I Was Confused
At the Jon Hopkins gig where everyone was throwing shapes. I’d think why not? That’s why I thought it was a little odd to have the phone notice beforehand. It wasn’t a sit down and reflect show, really a bit of a rave, much to my dismay to be honest.
Let’s try and be Positive
So we’ve gone over the negative aspects, let’s look at a couple of examples where it’s been positive where some artist’s have actually embraced mobile phones at shows.
In some cases it’s become the new version of the lighter were instead of waves of naked flames swaying in unison, we now have fully lit mobile phones or sync’d artist apps. I think that’s actually pretty cool and well, obviously a bit safer.
There’s also been some instances where artists have addressed the crowd to use their phones to download exclusive tracks or take part in experiments. I think that’s pretty interesting, as long as it’s an experiment we agreed to be part of (looking at you Apple & U2).
There’s also the safety aspect. We all know what it’s like to get lost in the crowd and forced to endure line rides to where you ‘think’ your mates are. At the very least with your phone you can contact them to find out where they are and let them know everything’s ok etc.
So with that, I’ll tell you where I’m at with all of this. I understand it can be the artist’s choice to stop or prevent people from bringing or using phones at gigs but you know what, I don’t like being told what to do. I kinda see it as my prerogative to be responsible.
It’s saved me in so many circumstances where I’ve lost somebody, where years ago I’d just be lost. Plus, as I’ve said before I do like to take a few photos for keepsakes. There’s s many shows I’ve been too which I can hardly remember but the ones in which I’ve taken photos trigger memories and so I’m so glad I did.
Having said that, yeah, I totally know that people can take overdo this and it can ruin shows for a lot of people. It’s the equivalent of the tall guy with the tall hat at the cinema. Ughh.
So with that I’ll end it there and ask you guys. What’s your view on this? For or against using mobile phones at shows?
Join me on Patreon!
Want to get early access to DIY Musician Guide video & posts, as well as behind the scenes content? Get all that and more for just $1 a month when you support what I do and become a patron.