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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Lighten Up & Have Some Fun
Thursday, March 04, 2010

There is a pandemic sweeping our concerts and nightclubs. It doesn’t matter where you live, or what event you go to, you’ll see it. In fact, you may have been affected by it already. The problem - people thinking they’re too cool to have fun.

A couple of weeks ago I was at Mercury Lounge in the city to see Blockhead, DJ Signify, and Machinedrum (the latter is pictured above). You’d figure with a group of artists like that performing it would be a sweaty dance floor filled with people moving to the beat, or even not to the beat if they're rhythmically challenged, like myself. Confusingly, the vast majority of the paid audience, and it was a totally packed house, was rooted to the floor. Only a dozen or so people were dancing, or bouncing, or even moving the top halves of their bodies. Instead, most everyone was watching what was going on on stage. The only problem with that was, nothing was really happening there.

Don’t get me wrong, the artists were fantastic, but if you’re in the audience for a show where the only instruments are turntables, a drum machine and a laptop, there isn’t much visual stimulation going on. These are situations where it’s really all about the music and I don’t know how people can claim to appreciate the kind of music that was being played, and being made, on that evening, without showing it in their body language.

This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve seen a crowd not move despite the music being awesome. A couple of years ago I went to see Paul Oakenfold spin and only a handful of people in the packed house were moving. We’re talking about a legendary DJ performing to the best of his abilities and the best the crowd could muster was a visual interest.

People, please realize, when a DJ is spinning records he, or she, isn't doing it so you can watch them, they're doing it so you can MOVE.

I know, moving can be a scary thing. What if you’re not on beat? What if someone thinks you look crazy? Those are fears people have ingrained in them. Heck, I'm not immune to them. But here’s a better question; what if you didn’t care about any of those things and just moved however you were inspired to? If you’re resisting the urge to dance, sway, jump, or bounce, not only are you not having the best possible time you can, but just think of the poor DJ on stage who’s working his butt off only to see a crowd of glazed over faces looking back at him or her.

Recently I watched an interview with a former rocker turned children’s artist named Dan Zanes (which you can see here) where he was asked who was a better audience, adults or children, and he didn’t even have to think before he said children. His reason - they’re uninhibited, and as we get older we gather those aforementioned inhibitions that prevent us from jumping around when we hear music we like.

If you really think about it, that whole “I’m so confident” air many people like to try to create when they’re at a show, or a nightclub, that whole “too cool for school” attitude that keeps them holding an expensive drink rather than dancing to the music, is really a total lack of confidence. If they were truly confident they wouldn’t care what anyone thinks and they’d be shaking their asses.

So the next time you’re at a show, or a club, and the DJ is killin it, show some appreciation by having some fun. That’s what he, or she, wants to see, and once you realize nobody else in the place matters except for you and your friends, you’ll have a far better time than the people who are trying to act cool.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:25 AM  
  • At 2:15 PM, Blogger TomasinaW said…

    Well, surely, crazy servers that clear drinks fast will prevent people from dancing. And, of course, there are those places where dancing kicks over drinks is also a deal-breaker. Though, mainly dancing stops when clubs become too un-mixed. Diversity tends to encourage dance. And, these things are very cyclical. Video killed dance in the early eighties. People watched the projections of MTV videos in the middle of a hot dance moment. Post a picture and wham -- no dancing. People got over that freezing in the moment, but it is sad to hear that the times are cooling one of the cheapest ways to have fun in a club.

  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger Adam Bernard said…

    Great point about the cost of dancing. I didn't even think of that! Drinking costs money, dancing costs nothing.

    Thanks for the insight!

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