Do gigs really need “atmosphere”?



A prolific gigger’s views on the erosion of personal space…

At some point over the last few years – presumably when gigging blurred the lines between work and leisure – I stopped enjoying the thrill of a good boogie. I’m happy enough to be away from the pits and circles that come with stuffy angst-ridden rock gigs, but now even the brush of a stranger’s shoulder seems to wind me up.

Hear me out – I’m not just some weird loner…

When we go to gigs, common sense dictates that we like the band. This means we’ve (hopefully) bought their albums, listened to them and enjoyed them. So why does the notion of “atmosphere” require us to behave like battery hens when we’re inside the venue?

Let’s face it – atmosphere hasn’t made us like the band in the first place. When I put a new album on for the first time, I don’t go and stand annoyingly close to the nearest person (often my mum), and keep pushing her closer and closer to a non-existent stage, sweating on her and making sure she gets at least one good elbow-shaped bruise. If you do that – you’re doing this music thing wrong.

So once again I ask – why do live shows have to be about “atmosphere”? Why can’t they be about listening to our favourite songs being played in their purest form, or re-worked for our benefit? If we want to sing along, that’s great (if you can do it in the car, it’s okay at a gig). But how about we keep our distance from one-another? Do we have a deal?

Good, now I’m off to stand awkwardly in the corner…


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