I tried to stay until the end, honest…
The Beautiful Girls played to a packed house at The Gov on Thursday night, bringing their slick, but ultimately underwhelming, brand of reggae-tinged roots rock to an audience more intent on taking selfies and conversing loudly throughout the show than listening to the performance.
Whilst some of the blame for this animated indifference can be laid at the feet of the band for the general lack of dynamism in their stage act, much more of it must be attributed to a worrying acceptance of a hedonistic and narcissistic sense of entitlement that has crept into the psyche of the modern gig-goer.
Who can possibly think it is appropriate behaviour to push to the front in a group and then turn your back on the performers, only a few centimetres from their faces, and take a series of photos of yourself and then hold a group meeting to assess the relative merits of each shot you’ve taken?
On Thursday night’s evidence, the answer would be: ‘too many people’.
Who decides that openly conversing about banal bullshit at maximum volume a mere metre away from someone trying to sing to them is in any way a decent thing to do at a gig?
Watching the multitudes doing just that made me embarrassed to be a part of the human race!
There were times during the headliner’s set that the roar of conversation – and that is understating the volume here – drowned out the band almost entirely.
Support act, Animal Ventura, suffered an even worse fate as he manfully played a terrific set of original tunes to a listening audience of about two people out of the hundreds in attendance.
There was once an unwritten understanding that all who went to see a performer were there to actually listen to the artist that they paid good money to see and hear, and that you were part of a like-minded group of people bound by this sense of purpose. Sadly, in an Invasion Of The Body Snatchers type scenario, the ‘me generation’ have replaced the true fan at gigs. These ticket-holders look like music lovers, but really have no interest in the band playing other than singing to each other in the choruses of the one or two songs they actually recognise, preferring to preen, do their hair, or flirt with the drunken reversed baseball capped Neanderthals around them who are all too keen to bellow their mating calls at the top of their lungs.
To be fair, The Beautiful Girls did deserve some of this treatment – after all, they did offer up salaciously cheesy lines like, ‘We were just talking [before the gig] about all the beautiful girls we’ve encountered on past trips to Adelaide’ – as if it is still twenty years ago, and the trend for retrospective reporting of sexual harassment has not yet begun.
The few attentive attendees did seem to enjoy songs like Morning Sun, Periscopes, Music, Blackbird and I Thought About You. All totally inoffensive songs – and collectively they provided the perfect soundtrack to satisfy the many whose idea of a good night out is to smoke a spliff or two before expounding loudly on the world in an aimless stream-of-consciousness ramble of epic proportions.
I had to leave before the encore because some baby-bearded wastrels and their mobile phone obsessed female companions decided they wanted my side-of-stage vantage point and were prepared to deliberately stomp on my feet, head butt me with their backward cap visors and enter into a pathetic face-off with me when I refused to move back into the personal space of those behind me so that they could take their cliched selfies in a cacophony of self-important self-admiration.
An ugly night out.
The Beautiful Girls played The Gov on Thursday 7 December 2017.