Tone Deaf has already discussed the notion that the smartphone is killing live music in our Sunday Roast editorial, and Jack White kindly requested punters to his Blunderbuss Australian tour that he was banning the use of filming and social media during his show; with entrance signs reading: “please leave your phones in your pockets/purses and enjoy the show live and in person.”
White called it his ‘one-man’crusade’ against the “gadgetry” of the live experience.
Turns out it’s no longer a solo crusade with news that ska/soul revivalists, The English Beat, have called for the restricted use of smartphone at dates of their current Australian tour.
According to The Music, OzTix issued a statement this morning from frontman Dave Wakeling, who also manages the band, who has issued a ban on the use of camera phones for the remainder of the group’s Australian visit.
The band have already played two nights at Sydney’s Factory Theatre (which you can read the review for here) as part of their first ever visit Down Under, but the behaviour of those in attendance has been enough to irk Wakeling into action.
His OzTix statement reads: “In shows that have occurred already in Australia the first few rows of punters held up their camera phones the entire show and as such Dave Wakeling, the singer and manager, found this quite distracting and detracted from him being able to enjoy and connect with the audience.”
The statement also details what happens to those who fail to meet these recommendations, “security will be briefed and patrons not following this course of action will be asked to leave the venue.”
Ben Thompson of the Corner Hotel, who are hosting the band’s Melbourne performance this coming Thursday, told The Music that it was the first time he can remember being issued a strict ‘no phones’ policy.
“I’ve never had a request for no camera phones,” Thompson says. “We don’t really allow professional cameras into the venue without permission from the artist or promoter, but I don’t remember in our history having a request that people can’t be filming with mobile phones.”
As for the punishments and threats of booting fans from the venue caught filming? Thompson says they’ll be urging fans to comply with the request rather than enforce it. “We’re going to put signage up for people to see upon entry and within the room and just letting them know that it’s at the request of the band, rather than the venue or anything else.”
Adding that, “we do everything we can to make the situation as good as we can for the artist, but we don’t plan to be throwing people out.”
The band play Fowler’s in Adelaide tonight before their Melbourne appearance, and two subsequent dates in Perth and Brisbane, so it will be interesting to see if fans respect the ban’s wishes by fighting the urge to keep their phones in their pockets.
As we wrote in our opinion piece concerning the matter of phone etiquette at concerts: “The moral of the story? Next time you’ve got the knee-jerk urge to reach for your phone, leave it in your pocket and keep your head in the music.”