No Dancing Allowed

June 28, 2010 at 6:39 pm (Uncategorized)

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DC concert goers know that the District attracts great bands at storied venues like the 9:30 Club, Black Cat, DAR, Velvet Lounge, Iota and others.   The lights, sound, merchandise, bartenders–  all in perfectly working order at our local establishments.  The bands sweat and plead their artistic case to sold-out venues night after night.   The only thing missing from these musical jaunts is a pulse off stage.

It’s not that people don’t enjoy the music or don’t vigorously clap after every song–they do, but for whatever reason Washingtonians refuse to dance at concerts.  They don’t sing along obnoxiously.  They don’t hoot and holler.  Their voices aren’t scratchy and coarse at the end of the show.  They do not collapse in sweat when it’s over.  They don’t look like they are having fun.  Where’s Kevin Bacon when you need him?  If things don’t change I might have my own Brett McKenzie angry dance moment on K Street.

With ticket prices ranging from $10 to $100 live music in DC is not the cheapest activity, not to mention the  “ticketbastard” charges.  I assume most people from the front row to the bleachers want to be there.  After two-ish years and tons of shows, I’ve come to the conclusion that Washingtonians are either a tough crowd,  have a classy sense of audience demeanor, or hate dancing.

Some venues are better than others of course, and concerts with a prominently foreign or gay audience conduct a lot of booty shaking, but shows at DAR are notoriously awkward.  DAR, or Daughters of the American Revolution/Constitution Hall, is a beautiful venue that inspires the contributions of Mayflower families to our American land.  It hosted my graduation and is a perfect place for visiting families to politely clap after boring commencement speeches.  But, rock concerts? Not so much.

And it’s not just because I have bad seats.  At a recent Silversun Pickups show even the front row at DAR seemed to barely bob their heads.  Pigeons in other cities rock out more casually.

Maybe I’m just used to  uncouth crowds that creep on your space, step on your feet, and spill beer down your shirt?  Annoyances I will gladly trade for the indescribable feeling of releasing energy to live music en masse.  At the show, I was the only person in my entire section who stood up and danced for one of my favorite songs.  Alone, with a sprained ankle none-the-less, I felt a little silly for being one of the louder people this half of the Hall.  I tried to not let it ruin my fun.  In seems in DC–professionally and personally– I’m just often dancing to my own beat.

However, there is some good news to dance about these days.  I got a new job offer and believe that the change of pace and will make summer in the capital more pleasant.  In fact, listening to Silversun Pickups play this song I wondered how they knew?

…Well someone said I made a mistake
Kept looking forward on paths sideways
It’s everything that is connected and beautiful
and now I know just where I stand
Seasons always shift too late
Spent too much time now on paths sideways
Everything that is connected and beautiful
and now I know just where I stand
Thank God it’s over….

Let’s dance, yo!

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