Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
I love shows that have a quiet/loud dichotomy. I'm all in favor of subtle droners paired with jackhammer ones, punk bands with acoustic soloists, et cetera. They just engage different parts of the ear/brain interaction, and that's a good thing. But I'm not so into it when the crowd is the loud part and the band is the quiet one. Saturday night's last two sets at the Bottle were a good illustration. Granted, the gnostic street-preacher braying of Daniel A.I.U. Higgs isn't for everyone (and this set wasn't as riveting as the last one I saw, when he had Chiara Giovando contributing vocals and violin and a sirenlike presence). But honestly, when the drunken roar from the bar reaches even past the artist's monitor, well, we're definitely crossing into "no one paid 12 bucks to hear YOU" territory. But who do you yell at? This is a collective problem, not an individual one--everyone gets louder to match everyone else around them who's getting louder. There's a reason why, in crowds witnessing something nasty, the thing to do is designate one particular person to call 911, as otherwise no individual might take the initiative. Some people consider yelling "Shut the fuck up!" at a music venue to be a breach of etiquette in its own right, but I say it isn't. Of course, maybe Higgs could've done a better job of standing up for himself. I wouldn't say I'm superstitious exactly, but he's not someone whose curses I'd like to run up against in a dark alley.
Now, I can't imagine Om, who headlined, will ever have this problem. They were like the "real rain" of Travis Bickle's longing, wiping the sonic backdrop clean. But maybe they could loan their amps to Higgs for a full set of mouth-harp soloing at their volume level next time.