March 6th, 2006

last unicorn

(no subject)

So it occurs to me that I ought to tell you something about the concerts that I have actually gotten to see lately -- Belle and Sebastian (fangirl squee!) in Toronto on the 25th, and Metric this past Saturday in Ottawa. Both concerts can be summed up as follows: Band great, crowd terrible. Which was rather disappointing.

I'll start with B&S. I was so excited about this show. My one great concert regret was that I didn't get to see them when they came to Vancouver while I was living in Victoria -- they were playing on a Thursday night, and it was the one semester of my Master's degree that I had a Friday-morning class, and I'd already missed one class for a Thursday-night Tori Amos concert (because it's a ferry ride between Vancouver and Victoria, it's literally impossible to get back overnight, even if I were capable of sacrificing all sleep). So this show was, in part, a chance to make up for that. And it was great. They played a great mix of stuff, old and new. Not a single song off "The Boy with the Arab Strap", which surprised me, and at least 4, and probably 5 songs off "If You're Feeling Sinister", which is usually my favourite of their albums.

The opening act was fabulous, too -- it was The New Pornographers, a group which is justly famous in its own right. They were great -- I wasn't familiar with a lot of their music, but it was really good, and they really seemed to be having a good time up there for the most part. And they kept saying how amazing it was that they got to tour with B&S and how they hadn't worked up the courage to say "hi" yet, which was rather charming. So, all in all, a great concert.

Unfortunately, the audience was not as polite as I would have hoped B&S fans would be. fairplaythings and I got there early-ish, and positioned ourselves up by the stage, about 5 rows back, and, knowing it would be crowded, didn't move. We had quite a good spot, but, of course, people started pushing forward and there were the inevitable groups who came late but figured they had a right to shove up to the front anyway. Boo to them. And then there were the dancers. Now, I'm not really averse to people dancing at shows, but when it's crowded like that, you really do need to show a certain basic level of respect to the rest of the crowd. But no -- we had the jumper who couldn't keep track of her feet and kept landing on everybody else's (ouch!), and then there was the slinky dancer -- who clearly knew no other way to dance -- who kept bumping into people and generally trying to occupy twice the amount of space everyone else got. Even that I could forgive, except that these were the exact same people who had shoved their way to the front in the first place. So double boo to them.

In summary: Concert great (wonderful, fabulous, awesome). Crowd bad.

On to Metric: It was the second of two sold-out shows in Ottawa. The one on Friday (that we'd had to give up in favour of the subsequently cancelled NIN show) was the 19+ event; this one was an all-ages show. Not that I expected kinder, gentler behaviour from a younger audience -- in fact, I kind of expected the crowd to be a bit on the obnoxious side. And in that expectation I was not disappointed. Unfortunately.

The doors opened at 6:30 -- pretty early for a weekend show, even in sleepy Ottawa (this city has a curfew for bands, which is a subject for an entirely separate rant). fairplaythings and I were a bit later showing up than we would have liked to be -- we got in line (a long, long line) probably around 6ish, and waited patiently in the cold (well, it wasn't all that cold, really. I'm just being dramatic.). They did start letting people in at 6:30, but were not terribly efficient about it, and the line crept ever-so-slowly. We finally got in the doors around 7:15, I think. This would not be a source of complaint -- we weren't going to get up close to the stage, but then, we hadn't been there early enough, so we were prepared to accept that -- except for the fact that the first of the opening acts had already taken the stage. So boo to the venue for starting the openers before the vast majority of people even had a chance to get in!

Anyway, we made our way forward, holding on to our coats since we didn't want to wait in the coat-check line after having waited long enough to miss some of the opening act's set, and settled ourselves about a quarter of the way back, more-or-less in the centre. Had I thought about it, I probably would have suggested we find a spot at the sides or up on the balcony. I'll definitely think about it for next time. Because the crowd was very pushy, and we were soon quite thoroughly squished in, making me somewhat claustrophobic.

Now, none of this is really anyone's fault -- people can't be blamed for wanting to get closer, and for squishing in, and certainly my claustrophobia is no one's problem but my own. But then. The latecomers arrived. And started shoving. And there were lots of them, and they were not even remotely considerate of them. One group of about 5 literally forced their way between fairplaythings and I, and nearly knocked me over in doing so. Grr to them.

Metric, though, was quite good -- they played a fairly short set, but it was a good one, and I quite enjoyed it. It was a good show, musically. Shame about the audience.

I think the moral of this story is that I need to find some more obscure bands to watch in concert -- I'm too old, or too crochety, or too something for popular bands. Sigh.
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