Having grown up and attended college in Southern Connecticut , I’ve always had the luxury of having New York City in my backyard. One painless 60-minute train ride, or the equivalent time necessary to slam 3-5 beers, and BAM – I’m dumped smack dab in the middle of the greatest city ever. People literally travel around the world to come to a place I can get to in one measly hour, on a whim. And I don’t have to spend four grand a month on rent to enjoy it.
You surely don’t need me to tell you all of the pros New York has to offer: bars, Broadway….bars! The culture, varying neighborhoods and feel of this city are simply unparalleled. As a music fan and professional concert attendee, living close to New York is a sure-shot way to seeing almost every live act one desires (Connecticut often gets skipped on the road to Boston and vice-versa). It’s an instant-manifestation scenario – think of a band you’re dying to see and it will happen. As much as I love catching shows here, it does come with its own baggage: Pretentious music fans who don’t know how to have fun. And for that, New York, I hate you.
Now hear me out.
Last I checked, people went out for shows to have fun, drink, go crazy, and experience something, not to be dead on the inside and out. At the last three New York shows I went to, the crowd was not only unfeeling, but carried a bullshit attitude with them throughout the entire set. Bands notice this and it can sometimes affect the entire night. Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds noticed this and made quips about it throughout their November 4th performance at Webster Hall. “You know we do this for you guys, right!?” she asked us. For shame!
The crowd at Tuesday’s Garbage show, also at Webster, was just as stale. Shirley Manson took notice. She mentioned New York being a “tough crowd.” “But for some reason…we keep coming back.” As if they have a choice. Still, it took the crowd 15 songs to show any sign of life, even after Manson’s comments. Fifteen!
Live music is a treat, and energy should be cyclical. Artists aren’t mere animals in a cage. Sure, we often pay good money to see bands live and our expectations are usually high. But WAKE UP, NEW YORK. You’ve gotta give a little, to get a little. Show the band you give a shit and if that band cares for their fans at all, you’re likely to witness an unforgettable, mindfucking spectacle.
For the record, this is not to say that I’ve never witnessed a lively New York bunch, but I beg you, New York: Let your hair down. Do your homework and know the music. Forget about appearances. Spare me your humblebrags about how you freelance at Rolling Stone and could’ve been “up there” in the press area (GAG!). To quote Cordelia Chase: “Whatever is causing the Joan Collins ‘tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it.” And once you get over yourself, come find me and say ‘Hi!’. I’ll be the guy towards the front with his arms in the air and smile plastered on his face, having the time of his life.
It is a concert, after all.