not okSeriously? What the actual fuck? Anyone who does this is seriously the worst.

So last week I went to two concerts. Both of them were at Montreal’s renowned concert hall Metropolis. Metropolis is basically the largest indoor venue we’ve got that doesn’t double as a hockey rink. The place has a standing room capacity of 2,350. Both of the shows I went to were seemed to be very nearly at capacity, with both the main floor and the balcony pretty crowded. So about 2000 people in the building. You can imagine that many people are able to make a lot of noise in support of their favorite musical acts right? Yep, it can get pretty loud.

I’ve got no problem with cheering, clapping or singing along. What I do have a major issue with is people loudly talking while the performers are performing.

Talking during shows has always been a thing. It’s always annoyed me. However, most of the shows I’ve been to have never been ruined by people talking. Now, I’ll admit that it’s been a little while since I’ve been to a concert that wasn’t at a large outdoor venue or a small intimate one. Big venues are usually loud enough to drown out the talking and smaller shows usually have a more respectful fanbase (since if there’s 20 people at the show they probably are all pretty big fans of the act). This was the first time in a long time I’ve been to a show that’s “big” and indoors.

The first show I went to was Mastodon. They had little warnings up on the screens every few minutes saying “Please don’t talk during the show” and I thought it was a little strange, who the fuck would talk at a show and was it really so much of a problem that they needed to show a warning? I didn’t hear much talking at the Mastodon show. It’s hard to say whether or not it was that the crowd was more respectful or that Mastodon just locks in their entire setlist to “as loud as we can fucking get it”. It might be a function of revisionist memory but it certainly seemed to me that there weren’t little circles of people standing around talking while the band performed. I remember people, even all the way at the back, bobbing their heads and you know, actually listening to the music they paid to see.

The next night we headed back out to Metropolis to watch a very different type of music. We went to Vance Joy. Here’s his hit single:

You might notice that sound is the ukelele. You know what isn’t nearly as loud as a sludge metal band? A dude with a ukelele. The opening act (Jaymes Young) was nearly completely drowned out by the sound of 2000 people just fucking talking but I had hope that maybe the crowd would be more respectful of the headliner, since he was who they paid to see. Nope.

Not being in my early 20s or teens anymore I like to take in a lot of shows that I see towards the back of the hall, not getting bumped into and smooshed against strangers. After one or two songs my girlfriend and I were sick of the amount of people talking loudly around us and moved up. It was the same story closer up. Moved up further. Same story again. We had now moved directly into the main crowd and still everyone around was just fucking chit chatting during the performance. It was to the point where there was an audible din of talking during every song and it got louder in between songs to the point where you couldn’t even make out what Vance Joy was saying to the crowd.

I’ll say it again: what the actual fuck?

How have we fucked this up so badly? When you go to the movie theater, you know to shut the fuck up and enjoy the film. If you’re talking during a movie you’re in the minority. Chances are someone will say something to you. If you don’t cut it out, you will probably even get kicked out.

Let’s compare the two experiences (going to a concert versus going to a movie):

  • Both are performances.
  • One has live performers and the other is pre-recorded.
  • One is usually much more expensive and the other can be as cheap as $5.
  • One is usually one night only in a single venue and the other is multiple showings a day at multiple venues.

So people have decided that one of these is ok to talk through and the other isn’t. How is the more expensive, less accessible, live performance the one that people talk through? (Don’t get me wrong, I think talking at the movies is also annoying as hell, I’m just saying that of the two of them it makes no sense that people think it’s ok to talk during a concert).

News flash idiots: A concert is not a dance club. Those are real people up on stage that are performing for you. You’re probably even a fan of their work because you just paid to go to their concert. You’re being a shitty fan. Not to mention the fact that you are essentially ruining the show for those of us that actually want to hear the music uninterrupted by whatever stupid shit you have to say that can’t wait until after the show.

There. Rant over. I like to imagine that anyone reading this column is better than talking during a show, but if for some reason you’re not: please, please, please reconsider talking during a live concert. If you’ve absolutely got something to say, lean in and speak softly to whoever you’re saying it to instead of just speaking loudly over the music. Don’t be a douchebag.

Keith does all sorts of things here on, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek

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