Mobile Moaning: Should Phones Be Banned From Gigs?

Savages don't want you using your phone during their gigs. Should we care?
savages notice.jpg

Clash awoke this morning, as misty-eyed as ever, bursting with positivity for a new day of new music (must be something to do with the sun, as we’re usually miserable before elevenses), to find a journo friend of ours tweeting an interesting notice from a Savages show.

Tweeted Pitchfork associate editor and renowned good egg Laura Snapes: “Oh look, Savages are posting anti-mobile phone signs at their gigs now too.” She linked to the picture shown above – which seems to make the band in question’s position as clear as can be.

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The “too” of Snapes’ tweet implies that other acts have posted requests for punters to keep their mobiles in pockets and handbags, rucksacks and bum bags. (Amongst them Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as reported by the Guardian.) A quick poll of the office reveals that Clash hasn’t seen – or, rather, doesn’t recall seeing – a sign like this before; but they’re out there, and are more likely to spread than not.

Now Clash can understand and respect the need to keep one’s amusing ringtone of choice on silent for the duration of performances necessitating audience silence; but aren’t Savages an awesomely noisy punk band? Are they going to hear some guy’s phone when it blasts 10 seconds of ‘Bad Romance’ into the sweaty fug that settles before their sets? Of course they’re not.

So the problem, as explicitly stated in the notice, is the taking of photos and footage with mobile devices. As punters, we’ve all stood behind some idiot who’s brought an iPad to the party and wants to document it for posterity, like some sort of ginormous dumbass.

But occasional snaps from a smartphone? Doesn’t bother us. And when those shots are shared through social networks, are not their owners going extra miles for their favourite bands’ causes? They’ve bought a ticket, that’s one thing; now they’re actively promoting the experience to their pals.

Or: are we missing the rise of a dangerous trend here? Are attendees becoming disconnected from live music courtesy of viewing it through LCD screens? Sometimes a sea of raised phones can be a beautiful sight – from the stage, or the back row. But, in a cramped space with scant room for angling arms in just the right way, we can certainly appreciate what an uncomfortable experience it is to be that guy stood beside that guy.

“Silence your phones,” they ask. A please would be nice, but the sentiment is nevertheless acknowledged. But can this sort of request really be enforced? Can you envisage a day when security, between checking for contraband booze and asking crowd-surfers to knock it off, have to go around pulling batteries from BlackBerrys?

Should mobile phones be banned from use during music performances? You tell us, readers – click (back) to our Twitter pages to tell us about your experiences with mobile-brandishing boors who’ve ruined a long-anticipated night. Or are you so fond of your five-megapixel memories that you’ll never down your digital tool for any band?

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Savages’ debut album, appropriately titled ‘Silence Yourself’, is released via Matador on May 6th. Here’s some news about it. Listen to the track ‘She Will’ below.

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