Birthday Concert: Dodie
As is tradition here at Polly’s Pad, for my birthday week, we attended a concert. To be fair we booked the tickets for Bristol and it just happened to be this week, but it still counts.
We queued for an hour to get in, with the line behind us soon snaking up the road. The doors opened late, we went through the bag search and I ignored the suggestion to put my bag in the cloakroom – more because I couldn’t be assed to wait at the end to collect it than any kind of rebellion on my part – and we got down into ‘the pit’. I’m not sure what the bit in front of the stage at Bristol’s O2 venue is called, and to be fair, Dodie fans are a somewhat different breed to The Levellers fans that I had been sharing the same space with back in November; far less likely to mosh, in my opinion; Gentle jumping was the order of the night. The crowd was full of the expected demographic – mid to late teenagers, many wearing yellow and sporting sparklely face paint. There was also a person dressed as a banana – but I chalked that one up to ‘meh, it’s Bristol’.
The first support act was Orla Gartland, whom I hadn’t heard of, but Hannah knew her, and it was obvious much of the crowd did. The second support act were Kawala – who I am currently listening to as I write this in my lunch break – who were a band in the similar folky/indie genre.
As support acts go, they were both really good, good enough that I would probably go see them on their own.
And then Dodie came out. She is quite adorable in a cutesy, ‘not making an effort, here I am’ kind of way. I am late to the Dodie party; 1.8 million YouTube subscribers can’t be wrong, and the concert was sold out, and as I hate attending anything uninformed, I downloaded all of her tunes on Spotify and was glad to in a position to mouth along with all of them – except the new one.
She certainly knows her core demographic ; all her songs illicit a kinship with her young followers. All of the lyrics exhibit a youthful anxiety that in one sense is so unrelatable to me as an Xennial *- yets grabs the zeitgeist in a way that makes you wish for youth. A beautiful voice, and poignant words– which are brilliant to listen to through headphones when led on your bed – I imagine- while being all “misunderstood- Gen Z-like” – but not great when you are in a tightly packed space with 2,000 other people ‘singing’ along.
So to get back to my ponder/rant/moan, this isn’t a concert review after all (but 4/5 would definitely see again!) I want to talk about how crowds bring out the worst in people.
In his May 2017 article in Psychology Today, Rob Henderson wrote about Social psychology and the science behind the influence of others on us. “We are social beings”, he reminds us. In fact the largest majority of our day is spent communicating with others, be that verbally, through technology or just listening to others. It is maybe through this listening that the influence of others becomes most apparent. Research has demonstrated that our thoughts may not necessarily be under our own control. Cues come from those around us in how we act – which explains that while a person can be wonderful – people are not.
I am not a crowd person – when I get time I will expand this article to include my research, of others research, into ‘herd mentality’ and crowd behaviour – but for now this is a rant about how concert goers, as a mass are really annoying. Yes, I know I was there too, and therefore also a concert goer, but we have all experienced the hipster like phenomenon of thinking ‘everyone here- except me, obviously – is an idiot’. There must be a word for it, but Tommy Lee Jones says it best:
‘A person is smart, people are dumb’
Here is the thing, young music fans of Bristol. I paid to hear Dodie, not an angst ridden teenager who thinks they have found a kindred spirit screaming along – I will not dignify the noise in my left ear with the title ‘singing’. Let’s just follow these rules at the next concert we attend and moany old farts like me won’t write blog posts about you.
Concert Etiquette :
1) You know the words, we get it! We are all very impressed with your memorisation skills. Now shut up and let me hear the actual artist sing it.
2) Screaming – what is with all the screaming! As per 1) above – we cannot hear the person we have paid money to listen to if you scream every time she says hello, or starts another song. Pack it in!
3) I am just as guilty of grabbing a few shots of the stage for Instagram purposes as the next person, but you don’t need to film the entire show. Live in the moment. This isn’t a Zen thing ; if I attend a concert, and I don’t Snapchat it, does it make a noise? Yes, and we are trying to watch it, get your bloody phone out of the way.
4) Talking – not as bad as the screaming, but seriously, I don’t care that Chloe’s Mum won’t let her get her bellybutton pierced, and No, that doesn’t constitute a hate crime, and… Oh my God, young people, stop playing to the stereotype, I know for a fact you don’t all talk bollocks all the time. You can start by not talking through concerts – I am willing to bet you wouldn’t have a full blown conversation at the cinema during a film. Just 🤫.
5) One for concert organisers :
Mid week – doors open at 7 – Main act came on at 9 – I’ve got work in the morning – and the rest of these people have school, or bedtimes. Sort that out please!
Well that was cathartic – feel better already. I am off to listen to more Dodie, while I can’t relate to her young love and social anxiety vibe, she is still an amazing artist to listen to… Providing everyone else is quiet enough!
“Xennial is a term being used to describepeople born between 1977 & 1983. The micro generation is a mix between the “pessimistic gen-X” and “optimistic millennial,”
According to Dan Woodman, associate professor of Sociology at the University of Melbourne.
So there’s that… Explains so much.