Audience participation

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ryanking
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Audience participation

Post by ryanking »

How would you feel if you went to a rock show and the performers kept coming into the crowd and dancing with you, or inviting you and the rest of the audience to whistle, sing harmony, and play instruments on several songs?

Could this deep "audience participation" be an evolution of rock, or is it more likely to die out as a Darwinian dead end? The Microphones and Calvin Johnson are conducting tests on their current tour.

The below article describes the Ithaca, NY show, the day after I witnessed (and helped) the Microphones' sets in Detroit and Grand Rapids.

http://www.cornelldailysun.com/articles/5929/
Proptronics
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Post by Proptronics »

Wow, that's great... I enjoy shows where their audience participation when it's the right kind of band. I've read about Belle & Sebastian (thanks Helen) pulling people onstage and doing sing-alongs. In a fun-based concert, I think it's great. Now a serious, sit down and listen type of show crowd participation might irk me. I guess it just depends on the show.

On a side note, how was the Elite Restaurant? My friend Brian has been working for months to get that going but I moved out of GR before the opening date. Fitting that the week after I move to the Northwest, one of my favorite Northwest bands would go to GR... What was the vibe, what was the crowd like, full details please??
Joshua
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Post by Joshua »

As a rule, I dislike bands that goad the audience into singing along - Bono has long been a main offender in my book when it comes to that sort of thing. I imagine that if I were seeing The Boss and the whole damn audience was crooning "Born in the USA," that'd be another matter and I'd enjoy that, but in general I think that I've paid to hear the band perform - not the audience.

The one major exception that I witnessed several months ago was, interestingly enough, at a concert that I thought would be a dedicated "sit down and listen" affair, as Prop mentions above. Martin Sexton was at The Ark in Ann Arbor - it was just him and a drummer, so the sound was very raw, very natural - and there were times when the audience would be singing along in such a way that it was barely audible, adding a depth and texture to the sound without interfering. There was even the ocassional showoff - someone in the audience who would rise above the rest with a harmony variation, and once or twice, Sexton even played off of the audience's harmonies, extending songs and changing chords to fit the moment. It was absolutely unbelievable.

Audience participation has its moments, but generally, I say "shut up and listen."
D. Phillips
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Post by D. Phillips »

I suppose it all depends on the show for me. I am certainly guilty of screaming right in the face of Freddy Fortune at more than one F&M show, but I too get annoyed by the whole "I can't hear you!" move pulled by some artists. It's just cheap, man. Give us a show. Everyone pulls that.
Proptronics
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Post by Proptronics »

Whoa, whoa, whoa...

I'm in no way advocating the closet crooners who feel the need to sing-a-long to all their favorites. I enjoy the random instances where weird shit happens involving the audience. Like Jon Spencer pulling my friend on stage and burying the biggest, wettest man-to-man kiss I've ever witnessed. Or Belle & Sebastian pulling people onstage to help sing along to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" or Green Day in an excellent show of self-mockery put together a punk band culled from audience members and jumped around in the front row after the band was taught a few simple chords and lyrics... Random stuff like that is what I enjoy. Although this didn't involve an audience member, Crooked Fingers paused between songs and asked if "since there was such a small crowd," would we care if they unplugged and played down on the floor of the intersection instead of playing on the stage. It was just so spur of the moment and intimate that makes that show far more memorable than others.

Piss on the girl who knows every damn lyric and sings it louder than the sound system! Umm, so I'm not accused of being sexist, piss on the guys that pull that shit too.
D. Phillips
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Post by D. Phillips »

Piss on the girl who knows every damn lyric and sings it louder than the sound system! Umm, so I'm not accused of being sexist, piss on the guys that pull that shit too.
Looks like you're into some weird R. Kelly shit, man...
Joshua
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Post by Joshua »

Cornelius pulled a guy on stage and used his hand to play the theremin during his kooky cover of the classic "Brazil." That was pretty sweet.
Proptronics
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Post by Proptronics »

Fortunately, I avoid All Ages shows so I've never found myself in any underage hot water. Thankfully, Clear Channel has not yet blacklisted any of my hit singles...
jaimoe0
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Post by jaimoe0 »

All Ages shows are the best! I'm not talking about stadium shitfests, but small clubs and halls that host all ages shows. The kids wanna rock, and we should encourage them. Doesn't Fugazi have a policy about playing ONLY all ages shows? Hey, if it's good enough for Ian, it's good enough for me. My five year old went to his second concert in August... the Mr. T Experience at a small theater that used to host Melodrama and Vaudeville. Rock on, kiddies.
Jake
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Post by Jake »

Only playing All Ages shows and only charging $5. I don't care whether or not you like the music or the politics, but you have to love Fugazi's spirit and policies.

On another note: not to sound like a total dirty old man, but all-ages ska shows have the cutest girls of any concerts I've ever been to.
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