Johnny Marr, Foals, ALT-J Weigh In On Camera Phones At Concerts Debate

By Michael Nelson / July 31, 2013 - 4:20 pm

A few weeks ago, She & Him re-ignited the timeless question of smartphone usage at concerts when they banned cameras at their Toronto Urban Roots Fest performance. It’s an increasingly common request made by bands, including Savages, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and others. In the interest of keeping the fires stoked, NME asked a number of musicians to weigh in on the subject. The responses varied, although the typical sentiment seemed to be something along the lines of, “We’d never tell anyone what to do, but really, enough with the cell phones.”

Among the musicians interviewed were members of Foals, ALT-J, and Johnny Marr. Here’s what they had to say:

Foals: It’s part of a wider temptation to really go around an aquarium and instead of looking at the fish you take photos of the fish so that you can then show your friends and pretend you understand what a barramundi is. But I think it’s better just to go and experience the gig.

ALT-J: My view on filming, people filming on their phones at gigs is, I don’t know why they bother, cause it’s gonna look and sound really rubbish. And I think often you’re hampering your own enjoyment of the gig by not concentrating on being there in the moment.

Johnny Marr: To stand and just be looking at it through your phone is a completely wasted opportunity. You know, I don’t mean to be unkind but I think you should put your phone down because you’re just being a dick, really, just enjoy the gig because it’s a better … it’s a dick job, filming the show. Let someone else be the dick and watch it on YouTube. You’re really missing a sensory experience. That’s one of the things about gigs, it’s taking in what’s going on with the people around you, and watching it on a little screen, it’s [a] waste of time.”

Check out other responses from the likes of Biffy Clyro, Deap Valley, Miles Kane, and more, at NME.