Concert Fouls No. 15, 27 and 64: Because, Sometimes, It's The Venue That's To Blame...
In certain cases, however, it's the venue that screws things up.
Yes, it's true. For the most part, these fouls are committed with a great deal more innocence than the ones that have been brought to DC9 thus far. But these issues are still preventable for the most part. And, most importantly, the blame still lays at the attitudinal feet of the concert-goer, not the venue themselves.
Of course, even if certain variables make a foul almost impossible to prevent, that doesn't make any less of a foul. In that vein, we look at three issues we have with certain area concert venues after the jump.
The smoking section at the entrance of the Granada Theater, the Kessler Theater and the House of Blues: This one is by far the most innocent of the bunch, and far be it from us to proffer sermons against lighting up. Hey, sometimes a brother (or sister) just needs a smoke. But given that many of this area's top rooms have their outdoor smoking sections located at the main entrance to the building, a couple of issues present themselves at each and every show in said venues. For example: You're at a highly-anticipated, heavily attended concert at The Kessler, the House of Blues or the Granada Theater and the show's not quite started, so the outer area of the entrance is more populated than the inside of the venue at that time. To gain entrance into the building, one must plow through a fog of musty cancer clouds before walking in, and, of course, re-enter the monolithic death dust when leaving for the night. Again, only so much can be done about this; the buildings are designed the way they are, and people have the right to smoke as much as people have the right not to. It's just an unappetizing way to begin, or to end, a great show. Thankfully, there are plenty of places where non-smokers aren't made to be greeted and good-nighted with a Surgeon General's warning label.
The televisions being left on during sets at The Loft: This one is where the venue and many of the patrons share the blame pretty equally. This past November at The Loft, the French-Canadian outfit Plants & Animals were working their way through an enjoyable, if slightly over-earnest, opening set for Frightened Rabbit. Meanwhile, Your Texas Rangers were on the verge of winning a key playoff game against the hated Yankees. Since the many flat-screen televisions surrounding the small room were showing the game, many of the folks there were watching the innings pass closer than they were the band performing. Watching the game is one thing, but when the cheers and high-fives began to take over the room -- and drown out a performance in the process -- it's embarrassing. In an understandable display of frustration, the band's very French-sounding lead guitar player pleaded with the venue's personnel to turn the television off and for the attendees to enjoy the show that he likened to a "first date with Dallas." A similar embarrassment occurred a couple of Saturdays ago when The Sons of Bill were in the middle of their set-closing song while opening for Roger Clyne. As the band worked through a moving version of their signature tune "Joey's Arm," the televisions behind the bar near the stage showed Josh Hamilton crank a walk-off homer. As jubilant cheers and raucous shouts of "Yeah, BABY!" made their way to the attention of lead singer James Wilson, it was hard not to feel bad for the young band. In a good-natured, but I'm-really-serious-even-though-I'm-acting-like-I'm-joking kind of way, Wilson chided the crowd and made sure they knew that he knew they weren't paying attention. I'm a sports fan, but again, such a display was embarrassing. I love seeing shows at The Loft. I think that the folks there know how to put on a really great show. And, hey, that room has perhaps the best smoking section in all of north Texas, thanks to their outdoor patio deck's striking view of downtown Dallas. Here's one tip, though: When a band is playing, turn the televisions off. That way, the people that care more about a ballgame are forced to exit the room and go to the Jack Daniel's Saloon downstairs.
The Chatty Cathy's By The Bar In The Back Of The House of Blues: Nah, never mind. That one's too easy and is way too lost of a cause.