Bah! What’s up with all the dance music these days? There are like, a million electro-funky-disco dance bands. In my day, the only people dancing at shows were hippies who were shoeless and stoned and we hated them. They’d be up near the front, or around at the sides, and not just at Bumbershoot and Folklife either! They’d pop up in places with roofs and walls, where you could smell them. It was embarrassing and we tried not to look. At least I didn’t. Unless they were hot.
Let me be clear: self-respecting and efficient concertgoers are there for one reason only: to judge. And the best way to judge is pinned to the floor with arms crossed! If pleased, perhaps gently nodding. If displeased: in the back with a drink, talking loudly to a friend. Or up front, either way is good.
OK yes, I know the history of music. Back in the bad old days when everyone worked in a shit factory and was falling over from Plague, there were no iPods so the only way to hear a song was to steal music-parchment from some Prussian composer/fop and hand it to a string quartet. Everyone within earshot would become transfixed, weeping at the unearthly beauty of the sounds, shortly before succumbing to malnutrition and smallpox. Dancing was invented to ward off fleas, and to instigate duels (“sirrah, ‘tis thou what is now been served!”).
But then came the sixties, and the drugs, and hi-fi stereos, and now you could listen to music just to hear it, man, and the Beatles ran around India tripping balls, and you can’t dance while OD’ing on the couch. Everyone was young and privileged and had a life expectancy and antibiotics, and dancing was replaced with Quell and Yo Mama jokes.
But now what? Did we forget our history? Do we deny our human progress? Have we been overrun by tarantulas?!? Every band these days wants and expects you to dance. They make music precisely configured for it. As if music were entertainment! As if live music is not actually a legal proceeding! That an audience should be prepared and then moved to display a degree of artfulness and coordination that belongs strictly on the stage is, well, disheartening. And retrograde.
I don’t dance. Neither should anybody!