Someday, I’d like to go to a Matt & Kim show. Not because I’m a big fan—they’re just OK—but because I’d like to see how many audience members take out their iPhones to take photos and/or video during the duo’s distinctly anti-recording song, “Cameras.”
(Which also has a shockingly violent music video. Who knew?)
Remember when concert tickets used to specify “no cameras or recording devices allowed”? I do. I once went to a show where they searched bags and confiscated the cameras they found. Now, with smartphones, that would be impossible. And that’s too bad.
Once upon a time, only weirdly tall people would block your view. They’re still there, but now shorter people holding their electronic devices in the air are an even larger distraction. Instead of seeing mostly darkness, except for the performers on the stage, you see the glow of all the screens in front of you.
This was especially bad at the Purity Ring show I recently attended in Philly. The standing-room venue had a level floor and a low-ish stage, and I spent most of the band’s hour-long set staring at skinny, tattooed hipster arms, reaching above the crowd to get the perfect Instagram shot.
And let’s be real: None of these blurry, shaky, dark photos of some lights and some performers and some instruments look different from any other concert photo taken by a smartphone. And you’re never going to watch the 15-second clip of the performance you insist on recording.
Afterword: I have been guilty of these crimes in the past. I spent entirely too much of the final LCD Soundsystem show taking photos and tweeting or Facebooking them. In fact, I missed Aziz Ansari walking directly between me and Carly for this very reason. But I still, to this day, enjoy watching the clips I recorded there.