#PerthFest reflections: #RoyAyers

Roy Ayers and Ubiquty at the Music Box 12 Feb was fantastic. He did Searching, he did Evolution, he did Running Away, he even had the audience help him sing Everybody Loves The Sunshine!! (nothing from the Coffy soundtrack though, but hey!)

His saxophone player was out of this world. His bass player almost stole the show with his solo routine, until the drummer started playing with his sticks behind his back (having first balanced one on his head while continuing to play).

So, that’s the positive part of this entry out of the way. Onto the rant!

What is the point of the music box? Is it a venue to enjoy music or to have a chat with your mates?

Perhaps I am too much of a music lover (is there such a thing? When I finally run out of space for my records I will concede as much) but I go to concerts, and I regard paying $40 dollars to see Roy Ayers as a concert, to listen, to listen to music. I do not waste $40 of my money to go to an event like this to talk, but it seems that plenty of other people do. The two ladies next to me, for instance; the girls behind me also.

If you want to talk, you should go to a cafe; if you want to listen to music you go to a concert. (mind, some cafes have this mixed up, because they play the music pretty loud – which is why I stopped going to Cafe 1.30 after being a loyal customer for yonks – and since then they have closed. Coincidence? )

Is this such a boom town that people think nothing of spending $40 to go to a concert venue and then spend the whole time talking to someone? I ain’t part of any boom and I certainly am not throwing my money away on a chat, and I do not appreciate having my money wasted because you and your pals want to talk.

And can you really talk? If you have to lean in close and shout in their ear is this really meaningful communication or just an annoyance to nearby people who don’t want to overhear you but are forced to? Hint – if you have to shout to be heard, then maybe you are not meant to be heard.

Now the music box has done something for those people who want to talk – I saw all sorts of cushy lounge areas and tables to stand around all set up behind the tiered seating area. Go there to talk – leave me in peace.

And what is more, don’t act indignant when I ask you to please be quiet. Seriously, you seem surprised that I should want to hear the music.

Is DJ culture to blame for this all talking during the music? Have we become so immune to music, we just think of all of it as mere background? Since we talk over the opening set, which is only a person spinning records, who cares, right? (hey Sampology, was that you? I listened to what you played and I liked it – nice going with Night People by Lee Dorsey) And since we were talking before, let’s just keep on talking, right through the live act brought to us by hard working performers who do not deserve such disrespect.

Talking during a concert is just wrong. How can I impart this understanding to the other attendees of the Music Box? Because I have tried. But telling others to be quiet is fraught with danger and one major obstacle. You simply cannot tell drunk people to shut up! It can’t be done.

I still burn at the memory of last year’s kick ass music box concert by Calexico which was regrettably marred for me by the two drunk idiots behind me, who yapped the whole way through. Have you ever told drunk people to shut up? The only thing they are more full of other than alcohol is themselves and so they just talk louder. Those two idiots last year actually came around to in front of me so not only could I hear them better but they ended up blocking my view too.

Which leads me into my next point.

What is the point of the couches?

Was Roy Ayers meant to be a seated event or a standing event? Because it is an uneasy mix if it is a bit of both.

Is it perhaps that the standing is only meant to take place down in the pit? Because if that is so, why then does everyone stand in front of the couches. I didn’t line up early (incidentally first in line on opening night – I learned something from attending all those book sales I go to) to get a couch only to then have to ask everyone to get out of my way the rest of the night. (and yes I had to ask loudly, because there was also the issue of people talking) I’m seriously thinking of packing spitballs next time.

Now, before the show, I saw security earn their money keeping people from sitting on the edge of the step down into the pit. Something about having to maintain an open area of a certain size so that people could enter and exit.

Now once the concert started, where was security? Because no one seemed bothered about people blocking the entrances and exits into the pit and certainly no one seemed bothered about people who are standing blocking the view of those people sitting.

Where is the seating area? Where is the standing area? Can we have this properly demarcated? Lines painted on the floor perhaps? So, if you must stand – stand here, off to the side, and don’t get in the way of people who are seated, whether it be those on a couch or those in the first few rows of the tiered seats. Yes, it is not just me, whom you no doubt are thinking of as a whining privileged couch dweller. The people seated behind me in the bleachers, who can see over me on my couch, were shouting at the people standing in front of me because their view was blocked too.

Let’s end on a brighter note. How great was it that Roy hung around after his fantastic show, to sign stuff? I would have brought along my collection if I had known.

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2 Responses to #PerthFest reflections: #RoyAyers

  1. ms says:

    Yeah, the couches look comfy but I always see people getting cheesed at people standing/dancing and blocking their view. I’m happy in the little grandstands.

    I also hear ya regarding people talking. I could hear a real loud murmur under everything all night – fortunately not many people in the stands chatting. I’ve disliked the couple of times I’ve had to stand.

    Having said that, Roy Ayres and his Puma tracksuit sponsorship was cool. They seemed to take a song or two to warm up and sort out the sound mic but then it rocked – and until well past 10pm!

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