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Earlier | Later

the kids are alright

I went to another concert by Tara Jane O'Neil last night, at The Vera Project. TJO is fairly obscure and her music is somewhere between folk rock, art rock and indie rock - it's not commercial, and not something most people are going to be aware of. I thought that teenagers in particular were unlikely to know of her or be interested in her music, and as the Vera Project is an all-ages venue, I wasn't expecting many people to be there. Well, it's true that most of the people who came were there for the headliner, Mirah, who's more of a folk-rocker and also apparently way more popular than I knew (I barely had any idea who she is, I knew I'd heard her on KEXP before and that was it); nonetheless, the place was pretty full, which surprised me. Of course the other thing I forgot is that there are always teens and college students who know and are into the underground/indie scene, and as Seattle is much bigger than my hometown and also has the excellent "indie" station KEXP, there'd be many young adults who'd be in the know, as it were.

I sound like such an old man writing about the "teens" and the "young adults", but I did feel a little funny being there among so many people who were obviously an average 15 years younger than me. I also found it amusing that everyone was plopping themselves down on the floor instead of standing up - it seemed very much like something out of secondary school. But it made a lot of sense - the stage was low, so by sitting down everyone had a good view; and the venue is no drinking / no smoking, so the floor was actually clean enough to sit on, unlike the usual clubs.

What really astounded me, however, was the behavior of the audience. I have never been at a show with a more well-behaved audience, ever. As soon as each group began, the audience quieted completely and sat attentively through every song. I did not hear anyone talking during any part of the sets; I think I heard a quiet cell phone ring once, briefly, but it went unanswered; there was not a lot of movement, people getting up and walking in or out, during the sets either. Just to be clear, it's not that I expected a young crowd to be noisier and more ill-behaved than the typical club crowd; rather, I simply didn't expect them to be the best audience I've ever sat among, in any venue. So that made it one of the best concert experiences I've ever had - I got to enjoy the show without interruptions or irritations, and as a bonus didn't leave with the usual smoky club stench, either.

I talked briefly to TJO, who remembered me from last time, and also talked at length with Nora, the violinist for the opening band Liarbird, who also played with TJO last month as her backing band. I talked with Nora last time too, and was pleased that she immediately recognized me.

The Vera Project's having a volunteer orientation two Thursdays from now, I think I'm going to try to make it.


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