Four Simple Ways to Get People to Stop Using Phones at Concerts
I'm still stuck in 2008, being one of the few freaks without a smartphone, so I don't really "get it." All I need this chunk of plastic to do is occasionally make phone calls or send text messages.
For me, constantly being connected to the Internet would be a living nightmare. It takes enough of a toll on my mental health as it is. Besides, I have an excellent sense of direction, so I don't need GPS. So what else is a smartphone useful for? Shitty video games about birds? Squinting at YouTube videos on the light rail? Getting lo-res porn from your friends on SnapChat? Wow, how am I possibly living without a smartphone? (Yet, that's still a question I receive often.)
Maybe I'm wrong and maybe smartphones are cool. Maybe someday I'll understand why people stand for eight hours in the bitter cold to get these things while folks in other countries stand in similar queues just to get bread and cheese. If smartphones aren't some sort of backwards status symbol to show off how you wasted money better spent on literally anything else, I don't know what is.
Maybe someday I'll "get it," but I'll never understand the mentality of someone who takes out their smartphone in the middle of a concert. Is there anything you can do that's as simultaneously self-entitled yet lacking self-awareness? These people, who I call "Phoneys," make it incredibly hard to pay attention to anything going on onstage. They aren't dancing and they aren't singing along. They're just blocking everyone else with a bright fucking light like they own the place.
I guess I'm not the only one annoyed by phones at concerts. Artists as varied as St. Vincent, Neutral Milk Hotel, Prince, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Björk, and Fiona Apple have started banning photos at their gigs, and with good reason. The problem is, these musicians might come off as being dicks or "precious" about their performance. The bands that don't enforce such policies continue to have a bunch of nitwits crowded at the front, holding up Apple's beacons so no one can see.
Why? Why do you do this stupid, stupid thing? You know you're never going to re-watch the hours of blurry video you shot. No one on your Instagram cares. All you're doing is wasting your time, annoying people around you and pissing off the bands that you pretend to love so much.
As much as I love bitching, I feel I also need to provide some alternatives. Below, I've outlined a few solutions. Phoneys, consider yourself warned.