Friday, July 11, 2008


They've just finished the second song, and the crowd seem restless. There's a lot of slow clapping going on. They carry on, anyway. The sound's raw, loud, kind of sloppy. But it's exciting and immediate too. At least that's how it sounds to me. I'm not hearing it like those unhappy people in the audience, a sinking in that we're not in Kansas anymore. I know I'm not in Kansas anymore, I wasn't even born when we left.

There's some enthusiastic cheering as they reach the end of song 3. So it's not a given that what they're doing is alienating. Some people like it.

It really is loud, though. I want to turn the volume down on my earphones (an option not available to the people in the hall), but I'm going to stick it out, because there's a thrill in it, a sense that I'm transgressing something, even though it's only in my own mind (and whatever tinny hiss is escaping my headphones and reaching those at the desks next to me).

The slow hand-clapping starts off, and he tails off his introduction to the next song... the audience falls silent, and he continues. The cat-calls resume, and are starting to grow. There's a definite air of menace. I can only hear, of course, but it sounds fair to say the audience is divided.

Well, that one seemed to push them a bit far. The guitarist's tuning, and the jeering is growing. The singer is mumbling into his mike, speaking nonsense as far as I can tell. Eventually the claps subside as people realise he's talking and they can't hear what he's saying: "...mblmblmblmblmblif you only wouldn't clap so hard." There's a smatter of applause at this, so I guess he still has his supporters, they haven't all turned against him.

The thing is, you can't really tell what the audience is doing during the songs, because it really is fucken loud.

The guitarist is tuning again now, and the atmosphere really does sound like it's getting ugly. The piano starts off, and this song' different to the rest; where there's been a lot of exuberance before, now there's palpable menace, the hostility in the audience reflected back at them. "Something is happening, and you don't know what it is..."

They finish, there's more heckling, the audience laughs. One man shouts out. He's just saying what he thinks, he doesn't know he's just become part of a myth.

The singer's exasperated. "I don't believe you!". Then he realises the literal meaning of what he's just said. "You're a liar!"

Then, to the band:

"Play it fucking loud!"

How does it feel?


(There's some clapping at the end. A few stuck it out, then. Animated discussion. The national anthem comes across the tannoy. Then the tape cuts out.)

(Seems someone's always upset about something, aren't they?)

(Now go here.)

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