Don't Go There: Rules of the Road Vol. 2


For those about to rock ... we re-tune our guitars!

Continuing Post Rock's laundry list of things artists should never, ever do at a concert, a couple of rules came to mind during last night's Fleet Foxes show at the Black Cat. (NPR has the audio archive here.)

3. Do not tune and otherwise fiddle with your instruments immediately before the first song.
Same idea as Rule No. 1, about not talking to the audience before the opening number. You've emerged from the wings, we've saluted you with an appropriate roar and now we're anxious to hear you get things started. We are not, however, anxious to hear you get your guitar dialed in just so. You (or, if you roll like that, your guitar tech) should have taken care of that offstage, before the set.

Exception: Your guitar falls off its stand as you're walking onstage. Or you're an actual guitar hero, a virtuoso whose has spent a lifetime in pursuit of that perfect tone and tuning. But most likely, you aren't. So don't.

4. Do not mumble incoherently into the microphone between songs.
Song fades out, crowd cheers, momentum surges. And then you kill it by [unintelligible] [unintelligible] [unintelligible]. Total buzz kill - and a good way to lose the crowd, at least temporarily. Could be the PA's fault or the sound engineer's. Could be a problem with your own diction. Doesn't matter. We don't want to hear your excuses. In fact, unless we can actually understand what you're saying, we don't want to hear you talking at all, outside of a brief greeting and a show-closing "thank you." Incoherent mumbling is much worse than dead air, because now we just feel like we're missing something. And we're annoyed.

Exception: Your name is Bob Dylan.

Not really a rule, more like an observation-as-rant, but ... Do not wear a ski cap on stage on a hot summer night.
You think it looks cool. We think it looks ridiculous, even if you are from a much colder part of the country. It's distracting. Just ... don't.

Exception: You're sick and need to keep your head warm. Though we suspect, given the evidence, that you probably would have worn the hat regardless. (Amazing vocals, though!)

By J. Freedom du Lac |  July 8, 2008; 10:58 AM ET Lists , Live Last Night , Rules Of The Road
Previous: Live Last Week: I Go To Too Many Shows | Next: Summer Mixtape, Track 7: 'American Boy' - Estelle featuring Kanye West

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I saw Fleet Foxes last week in Austin and he was wearing the wool cap in 90 degree weather (it was an outdoor show). I heard he looked like the guy from the Spin Doctors last night.

Posted by: Jumbo Slice | July 8, 2008 12:05 PM

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