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Monday, October 29, 2007


I saw The Weakerthans at the 9:30 Club this evening. Really good show, and I picked up their new album.

I went by myself, which I don't do all that often. That left me time to contemplate something that occasionally runs through my head at shows: What would a society comprised entirely of fans of a given band be like? For example:

Rage Against the Machine fans - Complete disaster. A mix of anti-authority sentiment and aggressive tendencies does not make for a coherent or cohesive society.

Xiu Xiu fans - I think Xiu Xiu Land would be kind of a nice place to live, but it would be very quirky. I think some very interesting traditions would develop -- there might be a national holiday dedicated to citizens reading their own confessional poetry in public places, for instance. Social norms would be much different across the board.

The Decemberists fans - First of all, 89% of the population would wear glasses. Everyone would be quite polite, and good at listening. 20% of the public budget would be devoted to arts. Actually, I think Decemberists Land would rather resemble Scandinavia.

I was thinking tonight at the Weakerthans show that their fans would be the ones whose society I would most like to inhabit. The band writes songs that skillfully and compassionately pick apart the human condition, and the fans have one of the highest rates of people singing/mouthing the lyrics that I've seen. People in the crowd are really polite, but friendlier and not as reserved as with some other bands.

Now, if I could only exert this much energy thinking about more practical matters...


lj said...

H & I went to a Weakerthans show a month or so ago, and were not pleased with the fan situation. It's kinda cool, I suppose, when fans mouth the lyrics or maybe sing a line or two along with the chorus. But this guy right behind us sang along with every single word of every single song so loudly that we could not clearly hear the actual lead singer of the band (you know, the one on stage singing through a big PA). After suffering for a while, a young woman got up the balls to say something, and then several of us backed her up (the best was when this other guys said, "We believe you that you know every lyric"). The rest of the show was a little awkward, with this guy making fun of us and saying things like, "Sorry, I guess I just really like the Weakerthans," but at least we could hear the *&%#@$ band. (H still couldn't *see* them, of course, because the only way anyone can see the band at club shows is to be 6'4"+ or to show up 4 hours early) I suppose the fact that other folks helped shut this guy up might speak well for the general makeup of Weakerthans fans, but on the whole it was a really annoying experience. I should listen to their new album, though, because we liked what we could hear.

teague said...

Having somebody loudly singing everything would be pretty annoying. As you said, singing along is good when reserved for certain appropriate moments. The thing about going to shows is that one person standing next to you can ruin it (a couple times I've been stuck next to somebody flailing wildly, which is a major drag). I guess these are society's "bad apples," to extend my metaphor way too far...