Musings on Music: 2 shows, 2 worlds

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November has been a rather exciting month for me concert-wise. I went to see 30 Seconds to Mars (a band I’m having a slight obsession with and which, of course, you know if you’re an avid reader of this blog). Twice. For the fourth and fifth time this year. And the sixth time in total (as I said, slight obsession). I also went to see Biffy Clyro who are a fairly new discovery of mine and who have become one of my favourite bands over the past months. I’d already seen them play at a smaller festival this summer and was already blown away. So I was dying to see them play a headline show. While both bands are making rock-ish music, their shows and the experiences I had there couldn’t have been more different. And here’s why.

Mars were playing at the Festhalle here in Frankfurt which is a big arena that can fit more than 13.000 people. I’m not a huge fan of such big ass venues and this one in particular. I just prefer the atmosphere of a more intimate venue and the sound in such a wide space can be pretty crappy. Not to speak of getting a decent view of the stage when you’re stuck in a crowd of thousands of people (and you tend to be a little claustrophobic like me). Luckily, this time we had the privilege of having early entry into the venue before all the people with general admission came in. This was because we’d purchased access to the soundcheck which was amazing btw. I loved it a lot more than the actual show because there were probably only about 100 people there, we got to hear songs that never get played during the regular shows and the band seemed a lot more relaxed, too. Anyway, due to the early access me and the friend I was with saved us a spot in second row. I usually love being at the front because that’s where the action happens. There’s nothing worse than people who stand around like they’re glued to the ground and usually these people are not to be found at the front. Since it was still 1,5 hours until the support band was supposed to start we sat down and so did everyone around us.

Until the general admission people came in. When I saw them running inside like they were chased by a lion on the loose, I was still laughing. But not for long. There were 2 girls running right towards us. And they didn’t give a shit that we were sitting there. They just ran over us. I’m not kidding! I was barely able to pull my hand out of they way or they would’ve crushed it, I’m sure. Once they got past us, they tried to pull the girls in the front who had gotten up by then off the barrier. It was ridiculous! And sad at the same time. There was a huge riot going on, everybody was screaming at each other and I was THIS close to leave. But that wasn’t easy anymore since people kept flooding in. After a couple of minutes I was barely able to move because they kept pushing so hard from behind. I couldn’t believe it! There we were hours away from the actual show and they were pushing like maniacs. As if this would make all the people in from of them magically disappear.

I don’t know how many times I told my friend I was going to leave. And I don’t know how I managed to stay to be honest. It was hot and annoying and I knew that this definitely wasn’t going to be the worst. And I was right. The pushing already got worse when the support act came on, but when Mars entered the stage it was just insane. I felt like being at war which is funny because they actual have an album which is called This is War. I had thousand of people pushing in my back and the ass of the girl in front of me in my stomach as she was trying not to get smashed into the barrier. Usually, I love to jump around and throw my limbs in every possible direction, but I wasn’t even able to jump because I was stuck between people. Needless to say that I wasn’t able to enjoy the show very much. I constantly had to watch out not to get crushed. In retrospect, it probably would’ve been wiser to just go in the back. But I don’t even know if it would’ve been possible to get out of there unless I’d tried to escape over the barrier. After the show I was really sad about this whole experience. This night should’ve been all about music and enjoying ourselves. Instead it was about getting as close to the front as possible and about getting the band’s attention. It’s not like I didn’t know that a big part of this fanbase behaves that way. I’ve heard things and I’ve seen glimpses of it before. But I’ve been at the front before and never have I seen people lose their common sense and respect for each other in a way like that. It still makes me angry thinking about it. So you can find me in the back next time. For sure.

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Cut to Biffy Clyro. This show took place at the Stadthalle in Offenbach which only fits 4.000 people. I guess you can imagine how tiny it seemed to me after the last arena show. While it is still somewhat of a mystery to me how Biffy are not that famous in Germany (because honestly, I think they are brilliant, amazingly talented musicians), I was also happy to be able to see them in such an intimate atmosphere. Me and the boyfriend arrived only after doors had opened. We got rid of our coats. Went to the toilet. Got some drinks. And still got a spot on the far right side of the barrier where we had a fairly good view of the stage. People were loosely standing around, talking, everything was so relaxed. There was a lot of space and noone was trying to fight over a spot with someone. It was heaven!

Even when the band came on, it stayed as relaxed as it was. I was happy to have enough space to jump around and go crazy. And so were other people. This time it really was all about the music. For both the band and the crowd. I’m pretty sure Biffy wouldn’t even mind if there wasn’t a crowd cheering for them. I think they would’ve as much fun just being by themselves. Because all they want is to be on that stage with their instruments in their hands and play. And holy shit are they good at it! I’d actually go as far as to say that they’re one of the few bands whose songs actually sound better live than on the album. And this doesn’t happen too often, at least in my experience. The crowd seemed to be as thrilled as me and the boyfriend because they were jumping and clapping and singing. Of course, the jumping wasn’t enough in my opinion. It never is, but I’ve gotten used to that by now and I don’t really care anymore. I’d even jump if I was the only one doing it, no problem. There were even a few crowdsurfers which I thought was a bit stupid adventurous since there were quite a few gaps in the crowd. But everyone seemed to get out fine in the end. After the show, I was absolutely stoked! I love that feeling so much. When you’ve just witnessed some great art and talent right in front of your eyes and ears and you’ve let go of everything to just be in that very moment. Right there. No worries, no problems, they all fade away for a little while, so you can just be and breathe. This is the reason I go to concerts. And I want to applaud Biffy Clyro for giving me exactly that.

Have you had any recent concert experiences, good or bad? Please share them!

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