Never mind that I showed up 40 minutes late and wound up being seated so close to Bela Fleck that he probably could have scolded me, I realized one thing while spacing the fuck out to drum machines and harmonicas and gut-string instruments: seeing a band like that makes me, in a way, almost never want to go back to Mercury Lounge again.
Now, before an indie mob starts drawing literal pitchforks and I'm thought to undermine this entire furniture endeavor, you gotta realize that we silently made it an intergral part of the site to not pay attention to boundary lines and not make booking decisions based on who gets placed in what genre. That's how we've been lucky enough to capture everything from an electronic duo to an Australian folk-rock band to a multi-talented violinist, all of which, in a way, now fit a different category in and of themselves.
I'll save that discussion for another day, as this story's not about that. It's about costly, ticketed, sit-down theatre shows being an entirely different beast I completely forgot about, and didn't realize until last night that I miss altogether.
At a show like this, there are no cell phones shrink-raying and dip-dying the entire experience into a clickable image with a two-sentence update. No one's at the back bar talking too loudly, nobody's e-mailing their co-worker about tomorrow's meeting, not a soul is updating Facebook during a song. At the least, there's a some rowdy grandfather cheering every Future Man solo; at most, there's a curious amount of audience-led eyefucking. (Ladies, if you get dumped, put on some makeup go to a banjo concert. Trust me.)
To be at a show where one band member is legit dressed like a pirate, another holds a record amount of GRAMMYs but you'd never recognize him on the street and people give more of a shit about their African instrument documentary than how their Twitter handle is spelled is refreshing. It's real. And, it makes me want to see more shows like this.
After all, you know no one in that audience was holding up an iPad to snap a couple pics.