(Photo links to the full photoset)
I survived the TMBG concert at Exit/In last night, and let me tell you, it was an experience.
To the idiot named Kimberly in front of me: Lady, and I use that term in the pejorative sense, you suck. Yes, you got there early enough to be front row, center stage, but I hate to break it to you (actually, I don’t, I take great pleasure in doing so) but screaming “BIRDHOUSE IN YOUR SOUL!” at the end of every song isn’t gonna make the band play your favorite song.
Even if it’s to shut you up.
Secondly? You stink at taking photos. How do I know? The three people unlucky enough to be stuck behind you got to watch your camera’s LCD screen for most of the concert, and we marveled at your inability to stop jumping up and down long enough to take a photo. (Actually, we didn’t so much marvel as we openly laughed at you and mocked you between songs.) I can guarantee you that your photos sucked, because I saw the freeze-frame version of nearly every photo you took. Your photos of John Linnell were aimed low enough that you cut his head off most of the time, and the few that you managed to get his head AND torso into were aimed low enough that your flash reflected off of his keyboard.
Those of us whose view you blocked through your incessant flash-firing took great pleasure when, about halfway through the show, John Flansburgh commented to the crowd that it was like facing Japanese paparazzi. Know why he was saying it? You. You were blinding both Johns from the moment they got on stage. I believe you DO know why he said it, because I noticed you put your camera down for a while afterward. Shortly afterward, I was able to start getting decent shots.
Had you been even remotely polite to anyone around you, I’d cut you some slack. However, since you weren’t, let me enlighten you on some basic concert etiquette. First, if you’re on the front row, be prepared to stand at a slant so more people can get the coveted first-row experience. If they’re doing it, and you start shoulder-checking people so that you can stand straight on, don’t be surprised if they don’t move. Hint: THEY DON’T LIKE YOU.
Next: if you are in a packed general-admission arena, don’t just think twice before you start jumping up and down, think about six times. Then, after those six times, turn around to see if the people behind you have camera equipment (by the way, since you didn’t look, we did). If space is tight enough that you have to say “Excuse me” more than five times to get to the bathroom, and no one else feels the need to do some House-of-Pain style jumping around, you are probably going to jump on people’s feet and slam elbows into cameras.
Yes, those were my feet you jumped on. Did my left elbow hurt when I hit you with it? Good. It was intentional. You damn near took out a Nikon D80 with your drunken antics – a camera that, I might add, I was being very protective of, was not waving anywhere near you, and which everyone else but you had zero problems avoiding.
You might wonder how I know your name? It’s because you had a friend about three people back from me who kept screaming your name for most of the show. Every time it got quiet, you thought of something you HAD to say to him, so you reached through multiple people, hauled him up to the front, told him something, and then he had to elbow his way back to his place. Either stand with your friend or shut your mouth until the end of the show.
I have never been so glad to see a band take an audience member to task before. John Flansburgh gets major style points for finding a way to deal with you politely when either he or John Linnell would have been completely justified in just taking your camera away from you for the duration of the show.
So how was the show? Actually? Surprisingly good. It was my first TMBG show, and I’d consider attending another. Getting a foam finger tossed at me was a highlight – and a great souvenir. (I sense it’s the newest decoration for my desk.) I got a kick out of watching thirtysomethings reliving their college years; these people would sing along to anything, the more nonsensical the better. Sung encyclopedia entries about the sun? Squee! On-key alphabetical recitations of the countries of the world? SQUEE! Anything from Flood? SQUEEEEEEEEEE!
I can only describe it as surreal. I’ll also say that I’m genuinely surprised by the evolution of the band. As the years have gone on, they’ve evolved into impressively versatile musicians. Somewhere along the way, the novelty of TMBG morphed into good kids’ music and then, in a direction I wouldn’t have guessed, a credible rock band. It wasn’t all witty wordplay and novelty sounds; these guys could just plain rock.
I was impressed. Anything less probably would have been ruined by darling Kimberly, she of the green shirt and Chinese-character neck tattoo.
(Oh, and the part that really messed with my head? Brad, do you realize how much you look like John Linnell? It was a little creepy at times…)
Anyhow – enjoy the photos. This is about a fifth of what I shot last night. I usually get a much better signal-to-noise ratio, but Kimberly’s camera partially blocked well over half my shots. I managed to minimize her in this one, but this is one of my favorites: