Editor's Pick: I am so sick of complaining about Houston crowds, ill-behaved as they are, but I will say to whoever decided it would be funny to take Bobby Bare Jr.'s glasses off the stage at Hayes Carll's Warehouse show Tuesday night and put them on: That was not cool.
Neph Basedow: Considering I only moved to Houston from Chicago in October, my options are limited - which I deem a good thing, considering the high frequency of shows I've attended since arriving. I'd have to say I was disappointed in the (majority) of the crowd at October's Built to Spill show at House of Blues. Anyone who attended or read the review will already know the crowd was scolded by a usually taciturn Doug Martsch, for incessantly talking through the band's set.
Not to say there weren't true Built to Spill fans in the crowd - there were; I was one of them - but overall, the crowd was a disappointing dud.
Something Fierce, The Mink, January 31: Why, out of all of our Houston horror stories from the year, is this the worst local crowd? Why is this worse than people throwing beer on Asli Omar, arguing with Billy Corgan, talking through Yo La Tengo, and much, much more? Because next to no one came out to the Mink to see one of Houston's top punk acts.
This trio has been churning out classic punk for years now, and it just keeps getting better. Unfortunately, their excellent 7" release show was largely ignored as most kids went to Walter's to see Girls.
John Seaborn Gray: We started the year off by razzing the army of brosephs invading Washington Avenue, but damned if us enlightened, in-the-know, hip-but-not-hipsters didn't show them up repeatedly as far as crass, shitty concert behavior was concerned. The worst example was the listenlisten CD release show earlier this month at the Mink, where people who should know better spent basically the entire concert chattering to one another about God knows what rather than paying attention to what was going on onstage. And what was going on onstage? Fucking knife throwing.
Yes, people at that show even blathered throughout the knife throwing, to say nothing of the sheer unconcerned rudeness displayed during Two Star Symphony and listenlisten's stellar sets that had both bands asking if people wouldn't terribly mind shutting their fucking yaps. The most brosephs I saw this year, I saw during our Houston Press Awards Showcase at Salt Bar (or possibly Pearl Bar, who can even tell) watching The Literary Greats play.
You know what those brosephs did? Stood quietly and enjoyed the music. Quite a concept.
Willie Nelson, Arena Theatre, January: Willie Nelson's long shadow and the lineage he comes from should inspire hushed and excited reverence. There are less than a dozen living, breathing classic country icons ambling the Earth, and he is one of them. When you are in the same room as his voice, you are breathing in history with each note.
So imagine my surprise when the Arena crowd would not sit down, shut up or refrain from walking up to the stage to take pictures or realize that Nelson will not sign your 11X14 print of him while he was singing. This didn't cease for the two hours the man and his legendarily reliable band went through nearly 30 songs.
When the security for the venue would tell them to sit down, they would loudly protest that they had every right to walk where they pleased, even to the point where they would get nearly physical. One fight even broke out to the right of Aftermath's seats over a man spilling his beer on another's wife while he was trying to take a grainy and unfocused picture of the man who wrote "Night Life."
As has come to be an epidemic at most country shows here in Houston, it seems that most attendees are only in attendance to either network, talk about their deer lease antics or drink expensive beer and break in their $1,000 cowboy boots.
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SHOW ME HOW
This all begs the question as to whether most people go to a concert or show to commune with the artist and their music, or are they there to have a shared experience with strangers with the musician becoming merely a moving warbling warming glow in the center of the room.
Shea Serrano: You know, all of the shows that I went to this year had crowds that were pretty okay. I will say this though: If you're a rapper, and you want people to go apeshit at your show, you should concentrate on getting young white kids there. Those guys go bonkers at rap shows. It is excellent.
William Michael Smith:
The Cult, House of Blues, October: Fights, disgusting levels of cleavage courtesy of Dow Corning, drunk-ass corporate doofuses with mussed hairdos attempting to be hipsters on their one music outing of the year, and, of course, the hideous level of chatting and racket. Fortunately, this was exactly the crowd this band and those songs deserved. All hail lame-ass stripper rock.