Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What's wrong with the youth of America?

Monday night I attended a Death Cab for Cutie concert at Constitution Hall in DC. Constitution Hall is a great venue for a concert because it is small enough that everyone feels reasonably close to the stage, and its tier seating allows even the people in the back rows to get a good view of the stage. The venue also has orchestra seating on the floor. In my days as a younger Fraggle I have fond memories of standing near the front of the stage when my favorite bands were in concert. I would jump and scream and sing along with everyone else (I have also been known to surf a crowd or two, but I think that went out of fashion along with flannel shirts worn over waffle-knit henleys).

So I was surprised to notice that almost no one on the floor at the Death Cab concert looked excited. There was one guy with big hair who was enthusiastically pumping his fist in the air and there were two people near the back dancing along, but that was it. Everyone else just stood in place, nodding their heads slightly in time with the music.

What is wrong with these kids? Are they all so worried that they will look uncool that they won't move around during a concert? What happened to being moved by the music of your favorite band? I remember seriously considering doffing some of my clothes and throwing them at the stage during my first REM concert. And even though I am now well out of my teens, whenever I go to a concert of one of my favorite bands from my youth, I always have to make a lot of noise when my favorite songs are played. And I can never help singing along.

But not this crowd. I have to assume that Death Cab is for them what REM and Nirvana were for me back in the early 1990s. And it's not like Death Cab was playing obscure music--the large majority of their set list was from their most popular and recent albums, Transatlanticism and Plans. I will admit that the band is not the most dynamic I have ever seen in concert, but that shouldn't be much of an excuse.

In the end, it was all pretty sad. It's just depressing to see a large group of teens too self-conscious to get excited about a concert. While I will forever remember crowd-surfing to Hole, they will be left with memories of head bobbing with their hands sitting firmly at their sides.


Blogger Isaac, your bartender said...

Perhaps they were all nervous about the election?

11/09/2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Bailey Quarters said...

I wonder if the venue might not be part of it.

11/09/2006 5:16 PM  
Blogger Red Fraggle said...

That's a good point, Bailey. This is actually my fourth Death Cab concert. The first was in Chicago, at Lollapalooza, and the crowd was definitely more excited than they were on Monday. I have also seen them at the 930 Club, and they were more into it there as well. But still--not super excited. The crowd at 930 was more active during the Weird Al concert I attended there. (Yes, I know, I went to a Weird Al concert.)

11/09/2006 8:40 PM  
Blogger Nate Smith said...

Do you think perhaps their music doesn't led itself so much to audience participation as the music of "our" days did?. I too lived through the alt. rock explosion of the 90's. That's something I'm particularly pleased about. An aural oasis nestled between Bon Jovi and Robbie Williams where Page Hamilton nearly became a millionaire.

11/10/2006 5:54 AM  
Blogger Red Fraggle said...

I was wondering that as well Nate, but then I thought some more and Death Cab has jangly, jump-around type songs (they they played) as well as slower stuff. So I would think that people could get excited about the faster stuff. There were definite points where the music would crescendo and I looked around expecting people to be getting excited, and nothing. Just head bobs.

11/10/2006 11:39 AM  
Blogger Sally-Anne said...

Your theories might be right since you noticed it as a group phenomenon, but I have to admit that I never move around or emote during concerts, and I've been to all different kinds -- venues large and small, musicians obscure and hugely popular, crowds young and old. No matter what the others are doing, I like to just sort of take in the experience more as a spectator than a participant. I never fault those who choose to go the latter route, and indeed I sometimes feel self-conscious that I don't because it looks like I'm not having a good time, but really, I just don't personally equate having a good time with dancing to the beat, singing along, or any other participation. Different strokes...

11/14/2006 5:00 PM  

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