There were quite a lot of signs dotted around Brixton Academy at James Blake’s gig on Saturday night.
They were written in that polite, pointed, yet restrained way that British signs tend to have. You know, where you can tell the person wanted to really wanted to swear, but instead opted for the more rational “hey guys, would you mind…” approach.
They were essentially asking people to keep the noise down during the show. And also advising them that if they really wanted to have a conversation, they’d be welcome to do so outside the main auditorium.
The subtext: STFU you idiots, and have some respect.
Brixton Academy was also making a point of asking people to be quiet during the show on Twitter.
— O2 Academy Brixton (@O2academybrix) November 5, 2016
If that wasn’t a big enough hint, they then started shutting down a few of the bars inside the main room before it started.
And a few minutes into James Blake’s set, it was obvious why.
Because as it turns out, getting a few thousand people to stand and listen to some insanely good music live in 2016 without also chatting to their mates at the same time is a nigh on impossible pipe dream.
They won’t do it. They can’t do it.
The crowd wouldn’t shut up.
Which is why, when this man yelled “SHUUT UPPPPP” across the crowd at the beginning of Retrograde, it went down pretty well.
Why bother coming to a gig if you’re not arsed about listening to the music?
At one point, a group behind me were loudly observing that all his songs were slow, and it’s not what they expected, and shouldn’t they go to the VIP bit and have shots of tequila, and how annoying it was that they’d paid £24 per ticket. So I turned around and said “You know what’s annoying? Having someone in your ear” which seemed to do the trick.
And if it’d been a really dull, boring gig, you could almost say ok, fair enough: have a chat. But it wasn’t.
James Blake’s gig on Saturday was probably one of the best I’ve been to all year. Seriously: the man is brilliant live.
Thankfully, James Blake himself asked everyone to be quiet while he recorded the loops for the encore of Measurements (“if it could just be me, that’d be good”). And the audience finally obliged. For the final track it was so quiet you could have heard a plastic beer cup drop.
(and we did)
It’s just a shame the crowd couldn’t have afforded him the same respect for the rest of the gig.
Shout out to the guy farting up a storm @jamesblake gig last night, you stank really bad
— pj kimber (@pjkimb3r) November 6, 2016