Last night was a pretty strange one. In the space of an hour or two, the warm little glow generated by a brilliant Grizzly Bear gig was replaced by the sour taste engendered by having lost all respect for the band. The reason? Well, by now I guess you’ve probably seen. If not, though, here’s a couple of handy screengrabs from their Twitter account, which conveyed their opinion that the crowd at The Sage Gateshead were ‘boring’ and ‘zombies’.
Well, lads, I’m sorry if the folk whose enjoyment of your music inspired them to part with near enough twenty quid didn’t fully meet the standards you require of an audience, but I’d respectfully suggest that you’re completely in the wrong here. Incidentally, I’m not having a dig at the prices. I honestly don’t begrudge paying twenty quid for a ticket to a show in such a beautiful venue in order to help support a band in these hellishly tough times, because I realise touring ain’t cheap, and this business isn’t an easy way to make a living.
People have put the perceived lack of atmosphere down to the choice of venue, an argument I’m not going to get into because it just distracts from the main issue, which, in my opinion, is Grizzly Bear’s lack of respect for their fans. Don’t misunderstand me, obviously I realise that not every band enjoys every show, and some may frequently privately blame the crowd for that. Fine. Everyone’s got their opinion, and a band’s perspective is a unique one compared to anyone else’s at a gig. And nobody expects a band to bow and scrape or profusely and eloquently express their eternal gratitude for our custom, because we’re getting plenty in return from them too. However, it’s not cool to publicly broadcast to 60 odd thousand Twitter followers your contempt for the people who have invested their time, money and emotion in your band, not just tonight but for years and years in many cases,
The band later attempted to justify themselves by pointing out that they were buying pints in Brewdog after the show, so, y’know, they must be stand-up guys. This already misguided defence was, however, unravelled by another Tweet two hours after that which reiterated their opinion of the ‘boring old crowd’. So, essentially, what they’re saying is that it’s cool to insult your audience provided you buy them a pint after the show, even if you don’t regret what you’ve said. At the time of writing, apology is conspicuously absent from the band’s feed, aside from them telling me they’re sorry I took their reply to someone else personally. Instead, they’re still sticking to the point that they were just being ‘honest’ about the apparent contempt they hold us in, and that ‘it wasn’t specifically aimed at anyone’ (except everyone in the room, of course).
The thing I find hardest to understand is how on earth a band can reach Grizzly Bear’s level of experience and success and still not fully grasp why it’s not acceptable to be so fucking rude about their audience. Whatever though, I’m chalking this up as a life lesson, and resolving that these dudes won’t get another penny out of me.