In a vain attempt to retain some contact with my lost youth (I fear he hasn’t left a forwarding address), I went to see some popular music last night. If I’m honest, it was more BBC 6Music than Radio 1 (or worse yet, 1Xtra) – but there was definitely a significant cohort of the young present, albeit peppered with a few grey-beards like myself (and not only parents fulfilling their supervisory duty). One advantage of the 6Music clientele was that a choice of real ale is offered to the attendee (not merely the fizzy yellow muck so apparently beloved of the young) – I had a very fine pint of Hobgoblin straight from the barrel (having no fear of the dark) – and, indeed, some of the audience looked as though they would be equally at home at a beer or folk festival.
The event took place inside a church, though one which is no longer used for the purposes of formal religious observance (though, if God does exist, His job description still requires Him to maintain a presence). Despite its presumed deconsecration, the venue was still very church-y – including pews, organ, stained glass and crucifixes. This did make for a slightly surreal experience with the stage situated beneath a giant cross.
Unlike most of the musical events I attend, this one involved serious amplification – which does offer the benefit that the audience can cough and sneeze to their heart’s content without interrupting the musical proceedings (or even being heard by their nearest neighbours). Unusually, there were chairs available – though not really with a view of the stage – but nonetheless a valuable opportunity for the elderly (and me) to rest their agèd limbs before and between acts. Even so, I think I was the only member of the audience taking advantage of any lacunae in the performance to sit and read a book on Etymology (but that was very much their loss, I heartily recommend The Etymologicon to all readers of GofaDM).
The evening’s main act were Django Django – which in Malay would be the plural form of Django (knowledge of etymology is never wasted!) – which I might have described as indie, but which Wikipedia insists are a pyschedelic quartet (and I could find little to disagree with in their arithmetic). They were very entertaining and percussive (and have been very positively reviewed): one so rarely sees the coconut shells played at a gig these days! However, I feel that the sound balance did allow the percussion to dominate over the melodic and vocal lines – but that may just be my own viewpoint as a trainee singer and fully-trained old codger. Equally, it may be down to the fact that the drummer is also the producer and, as is well known, power tends to corrupt.
Still, a very enjoyable evening out – with the advantage that I also felt a little like an anthropologist studying a foreign culture. In this role, I noticed that the singer invariably says thank you after each song by way of indicating that it has ended – something you don’t hear with Schubert lieder. It also seems that pop musicians have a poorer grip on good time-keeping than their classical counterparts. It is unusual for an orchestra or quartet to be even five minutes late, but the support started 20 minutes late and Django Django were 25 minutes late starting (and in my limited experience, this seems the rule rather than the exception). Maybe young people are more patient, and a classical music crowd would become unruly – or even violent – if kept waiting: the last thing anyone wants to see is walking sticks and zimmer frames thrown at the stage!
As I suspect some of you will imagine that I have made this all up in an attempt to pull in a new, younger readership, please see exhibit A: a picture of the headliners “at it” on stage.
As a corollary to last night’s fun, this morning my knees were less than pleased about a night of bopping and swinging my pants. Perhaps it’s time to stop pretending…