Salutations, pixtorial pixxies!
One of the observations that I’ve made whenever I shoot gigs at the Barbican is this: the majority of the paying audience at times just don’t know how to fully appreciate music through enthusiastic expression. Hear me out: there are certain performances where, by principle, you just can’t jump out of seat and start jumping for joy or whooping around like a clown in a circus. Such gigs are namely Classical, Philip Glass, or some ‘arty-jazz’ form of expression or solo performance, like Keith Jarrett. At said gigs, you can’t cough, shuffle in your seat, fart, or, God forbid, even smile for fear that the creases in your skin might make a noise!
Yet, there are the gigs where the musicians expect you to stand up and partake in the celebration of the music, and rarely at the Barbican do people stand up. The only time I saw this happen in full force was during the Seun Kuti performance 2 years ago. His was more of an open challenge to people to either get up and dance or just sit there and act conservatively. Of course, this being a Nigerian gig, the majority of people were up and down the aisles.
Since yesterday’s band was afro-beat band Antibalas, you’d think there’d be some engagement from the crowds. Truth be told, there were actually some people trying to dance in the aisles, but of course, there’s only a jobsworth who’d complain to the ushers & the ushers trying to get the people back to their seat. Suffice to say said people were not having any of it, and the poor usher had to retreat. The point I’m trying to make is this: venues like the Barbican expect a certain decorum from the paying customers during performances and do not expect rabble behaviour. I can appreciate that. However, there will always be performances where you just have to let the rhythm hold you. So, should you ever hear that dancing within wanting a way out, let it!
Now that I’ve got that ‘observation’ out of the way, here are a couple of shots of Antibalas yesterday: