Last Wednesday, I went to see The Dodos and The Felice Brothers at Mr. Small’s Theatre, and while the music was great, the audience really stole the show. The Dodos played first and the crowd was fairly predictable: a mixture of high schoolers, hipsters, and twenty-somethings who like consistently good indie rock.
After The Dodos’ set, the young crowd cleared out and an entirely new crowd appeared. I had never listened to The Felice Brothers, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Presumably, however, their music would be similar to The Dodos and they would have a similar fan base. Not the case. The Felice Brothers put on a lively show with a variety of instruments (an accordion, a violin, and a synth, to name a few), and with so much happening on stage, it was hard to look away. But the audience was truly fascinating. The crowd was older and significantly rowdier than the crowd during The Dodos. Throughout their set I was torn between watching the band and watching the equally amusing audience.
The crowd during The Felice Brothers’ set made me think about audiences in general. What is it about audiences at concerts that makes them so interesting? Do they really affect how much fun I have at a show? Sometimes it’s such a predictable crowd — hip stoners at a Best Coast show, for instance, or well-dressed pseudo-intellectuals at Bon Iver. But crowds that aren’t so easily classified are truly intriguing. I highly doubt that anyone was at The Felice Brothers’ show to maintain a particular image, and the songs varied so much it was hard to classify the crowd based on genre. One thing was certain, though: everyone was having a great time.
Maybe, in the end, it’s less about the type of person at a show and simply about the atmosphere an audience can create. For me, the audience is what makes a great live show, and the crowd definitely pulled it off last week.