Last night I went down to the Showbox to see one of my favorite bands, G. Love & Special Sauce. It was my first time seeing them in person, and they didn't disappoint. Yes, they're a motley band of dorks, but that's how I like my musicians. Few bands that I know of put out such irresistibly danceable stuff as G.Love. And I love how in their crazy blues/hip-hop genre (which I'm pretty sure there isn't a lot of competition over) they manage to sing about stuff that matters. G.Love tells us about how he likes his beverages cold, sleeps in his jammies, knows the best way to get downtown... you know, earth-shattering important lyrics. Which I'm all about. I don't need my music to be negative and angry. Unfortunately if you look at the music charts I seem to be the minority.
G.Love did not disappoint, but once again the Showbox did. The venue is actually pretty nice inside - that isn't the problem. It's the people. Somehow, magically, regardless of the artist performing, the Showbox manages to attract all the stereotypical concert assholes into one place. There was "Girl-Whose-Boobs-Make-Her-Ticket-Worth-More-Than-Yours", "Guy-Who-ODs-And-Falls-On-You", "Mrs-Talks-Over-Music", "Homophobic-Giant-Bobblehead", "Mr-The-World-Is-My-Trashcan". And of course they all make me have to become "Elbow-Ninja" in order to protect what little square of space I have left.
Why do people go to concerts? Please, tell me. I know why I go to concerts (hint: it has something to do with music). I just don't understand the rest of the crowd who all insist on gathering in one place to ignore the show and be rude to each other.
In my mind, there are three acceptable purposes for live music:
* Dance: You enjoy the presence of some great band by getting your groove on
* Listen: You sit and listen to the music while watching the band, but doing nothing else
* Ambient: You are doing some other activity (dinner, talking, whatever) while a band makes it that much more pleasant
Unfortunately, these can not all coexist. For example, the white noise caused by Ambients can ruin the experience of Listeners. Likewise the space required to support Dancers leaves no room for Ambients. And to make things even more difficult, there are those people who don't fit into any logical category. In no way does standing yet not dancing for hours make any sense. If you're doing that out of some confused notion that you're there to see the band, here's a hint: that works much better if everyone sits, not stands.
I'd think you could solve the problem by partitioning the space based on people's intentions, but it only takes one confused person in the wrong place to completly disrupt the rest of the crowd. The Showbox seems to always result in the worst situation through some combination of no seating plus cheap tickets (which amplifies the number of directionless drop-ins). But despite my dislike of the Showbox, I'll probably end up there again. Because who doesn't like seeing their favorite bands for cheap?