Say what you will about Caleb and Co, but the fact stands that I am, and have been for a good 7 years, a huge fan of Kings Of Leon. Their second album Aha Shake Heartbreak was one that my 14 year old self listened to non-stop. It comforted me in times of teen angst and emotional wreckage, and it's what still holds a significant place in my musical heart.
Personal opinions aside though, going to see your favourite artist[s] live, soaking up that wonderfully raw atmosphere, and sharing such an experience with equally adoring fans is something that I'm sure most of us would agree should be, and usually is, an incredible and pretty special event.
I'm lucky enough to have seen Kings of Leon twice now. The first, at Birmingham N.I.A, was such an awe-inspiring performance. The interaction between not only band and audience, but the audience members themselves, was an incredible feeling, and one which I will cherish forever.
The second however, at Coventry Ricoh Arena, was one which, I'm sad to say, could have been improved ten-fold were it not for the somewhat mixed behaviour of the crowd.
From what I saw, and have had replayed to me by various videos floating around cyberspace, was an audienceship that was split into three basic categories.
1) The crazy-kids [usually wasted, wailing, and expressing an uncanny ability to start a mosh pit in even the most tranquil of performances. I doubt even a Josh Groban gig could discourage them]
2) The fun-fans [genuine admirers of the artist's music, there to sing, dance, and support in whatever way they can]
3)The debbie-downers [Heads down, hands unapplauding, seats left early]
For me, the crazy-kids, much as they were having an apparently fantastic time, maan, pretty much ruined the whole night. Not only in their instinctive drive to push whoever was around them into a frenzied mosh, but also their presumed pleasure in throwing beer, cigarette butts and quite possibly urine across the crowd.
Call me crazy, but having to flick cigarette ash out of my hair and dodge flying bottles of liquid is not my idea of fun. I know it's just something that happens, and I wasn't naive enough to arrive unexpectant of that kind of thing, but really...it's a waste of drink if nothing else, and at £4 a pop I certainly wouldn't be chucking them away.
And guys [who I'm presuming were the culprits of aforementioned urine bottles, but hey, maybe you're just a gal with a she-pee to hand], for the love of God hold it in. Just, do it.
Thankfully I had a raincoat to shield me from any incoming showers, but the thought of having anything other than beer on my shoes is enough to make me queasy...mainly at the thought of some poor soul thinking that throwing their pee around is OK.
It's not. Trust me.
and here was me thinking it would just be useful for queuing in the rain. Pee wasn't on the agenda at this point.
On to the second category of bad audiencesip, the downers. Stuck near a crazy circle of catapulting moshers, me and my friends failed to realise that behind us stood a sea of people who couldn't have looked more bored if they tried, and thinking back on it, I'm almost glad I was stuck in the turbulent atmosphere that I was, because at least it was an atmosphere of sorts.
A friend who had seated tickets showed me videos of the crowd, and I couldn't have been more shocked at the contrast. Sure enough, there was a small bubble of jumpers, singers and crazy-kids near the front, but the stalls and rear of the standing area were filled with statuesque figures. I'm talking hands-in-pockets, no-singing-no-swaying, applause-avoiding individuals, who had paid at least £50 to be there.
Goodness knows, but from what I saw on that clip I'm surprised KOL didn't just walk off stage. They're not exactly renowned for their commitment at gigs after all, but stay they did, and play to a majority group that stood around as if they'd stumbled upon the concert by mistake.
And the worst thing about all of this mess? The band were actually phenomenal.
What should have been a super-special, goosebump-inducing show for me was drowned out by a constant need to check I wasn't getting dragged into some punching party, or that my eyebrows hadn't been singed off by cigarette ends.
Thankfully, my friends helped make the night a wonderful one, and looking back I can appreciate how utterly incredible it was to see KOL perform again, but honestly? I'm in disbelief that we paid such a large chunk of money to get unwarrantably punched in the face [thankfully the friend this happened to is fine and dandy now], showered in beer and shoved around like there's no tomorrow.
I'm pretty keen to hear what you guys think, whether I'm being unreasonable here or whether you've had similar thoughts and experiences. Is it disrespectful to be a crazy-kid or debbie-downer? Or should everyone be left to act in whatever way they see fit, no matter its effect on everyone else's experience?
Answers on a pee-free postcard please.