Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Frames

A Caution to the Birds
The Crocodile, Seattle, WA

At every club I frequent, I have a favorite spot to stand. That spot tends to be in the back of the room, as the back offers a few positioning advantages. Namely: (1) more elbow room during packed shows; (2) good vantage point for viewing questionable behavior; and (3) better sightlines to stage. The drawbacks are fairly obvious: (a) greater likelihood of being a body gate: (b) more smokers; (c) higher incidence of incessantly gabbing people.

So let’s talk about the chatter. Some forms I don’t mind (“I bet he’s going to have to tune after that song!”) while other forms make me want to K-I-double L (“Dude! I’ll give you five bucks to yell out ‘Muscrat Love’! Huh huh huh!”).

I’ve stopped asking aloud why people would pay good money to see a show and then promptly not watch that show. Peer pressure, alcohol, Jim-is-in-town-and-he-wants-to-see-a-concert, more interested member of a couple, any number of factors lend themselves to squawking-not-watching. It’s fine when the band is loud and can drown out the voices, but once in a while you’ll get a band that actually REQUESTS SILENCE and then sadly, shamefully, does not receive it.

Many songs by The Frames begin as small, sad commentaries on relationships and life, and end up as HUGE AND DEVASTATING rave-ups. Most of the audience here knows this; we even own a primer on how to attend a Frames show: the incredible live album Set List. This means that we KNOW when to be quiet and we KNOW when to sing along because a large audience in Dublin taught us how already. I actually feel embarrassment on behalf of this audience when we can not pipe down for Glen Hansard. Surely the entire band is wondering if conquering the States is worth the effort.

Sure sure, one of the solutions is to elbow your way to the front where you can be ignorant about the goings-on behind you, but for me that usually means fixating on the back of the football player directly in front of me. Ideally this show would take place in a huge stadium, in a big room with couches everywhere, or at dusk in an outdoor amphitheatre. The Frames simply cannot be contained by this small, noisy space.

The chatterers are not going anywhere – this I understand. But if you’re one, know that we are watching and cursing you, and that there is a bar around the corner where people want to hear you talk. Really. They love talking over there.


Anonymous Jason McHenry said...

The Frames played at Plush and I thought it was one of the best shows I've seen in a great long while. Reminded me of the best show I ver saw at Plush: Stars and Apostle of Hustle fresh from SXSW a couple of years ago. I cried and so did everybody else.

But back to the Frames. They are just too goddam polite is all. They actually graffitied our dumpster and upon closer examination they did it in this perfect little chalk penmanship.

I got a free t-shirt off of them too for pointing out how they misspelled TUSCON on the prints. Yikes.

7:35 AM  

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