Music, Uncategorized

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Talk at a Folk Concert

Following up on your Monkey’s post from this weekend, in which he was gnashing his teeth over the overtalkative crowd that ruined an otherwise great performance by the Great Lake Swimmers at the Middle East in Cambridge Friday night.

1. It’s Rude: It’s rude to the performer who is trying to play his songs, and it is rude to the people in the audience who are trying to listen but can’t hear themselves think because you are jammering in the background. Even if you don’t like the music, have some sympathy for the musician as a person and the audience as your fellow man.

2. It’s an embarrassment to us as music fans. What does it say about us as a town (Boston/Cambridge) that we can’t stop talking long enough to listen to music? Your Monkey was embarrassed to be part of a crowd filled with immature jackasses who were too busy thinking about themselves to realize that they were ruining the night. We are the birthplace of the folk revival movement of the late 1950s, a proud tradition that includes Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. Don’t lets ruin it with our selfishness.

3. It Makes You Look Like An Ass: You may be a perfectly nice person 98% of the time, but when I see you talking during a show my blood starts to boil and soon I hate everything about you. I hate the way you look and the way to stand and the way you hold your drink. I hate the way to talk and I hate the way you check your phone and I hate the people you are talking to.

4. It’s Bad for Business: I wouldn’t blame the Great Lake Swimmers if they didn’t want to come back to Boston to play here again. And I’m not sure I would go see them again in the same setting because the audience is just too distracting to have a good time. What does that mean for the next quiet acoustic singer-songwriter who rolls into town? Should they not even bother showing up here? Should I not get a ticket for the show because I don’t know if I’ll be able to hear the music?

5. There’s always a chance the Monkey could snap. Your Monkey is not a violent person. But he has to admit that his blood was boiling and his back was sweating and it took all of his self control not to turn around and start screaming at all of the people who wouldn’t shut up during the performance. It would not have been pleasant for anyone involved. And there may have been others like him in the crowd who were reaching the same level of frustration and aggravation. Just be nice and respectful and other people will treat you the same way.

So people, please. Tell your friends, your colleagues and your coworkers. Save your conversations for before or after the show. if you have to shout because the music is too loud, maybe it’s time to stop talking.

Thanks — that’s enough on this subject for now.


Great Lake Swimmers at the Middle East (or, let’s all talk through a concert!)

Your Monkey is feeling grumbly and scowly today after heading out to the Middle East in Cambridge last night to see the Great Lake Swimmers.

The musical performances were great to see, but the night was really ruined by a shamefully rude crowd who insisted on talking through the whole show.

What a bunch of jabberjaws.

Your Monkey’s heart was breaking for the performers in the Swimmers and opening act Wooden Birds. He would be surprised if either group could hear themselves think on stage.

Your Monkey also felt genuinely bad for all the nice, respectful people at the show who were trying to hear the music but could barely hear themselves think.

At least one person was bold enough to ask the crowd to quiet down, but it didn’t do any good.

Your Monkey was not expecting some kind of church-like silence during the show, but this chatter went above and beyond.

Seriously, people. Why are we paying $12 bucks for a show if we don’t even care enough to listen to what the band has to play?

What is wrong with us as a society if we can’t stop talking for an hour or so?

Are we so convinced of our own importance that we don’t care if we’re rude to the band and the other people in the crowd?

Or are we so self-absorbed that we just don’t notice?

Believe me, you’re not that interesting.

This Monkey certainly isn’t that interesting.

Nothing we have to say is that important that it can’t wait.


Despite the poor reception they got last night, the Great Lake Swimmers and the Wooden Birds managed to deliver great performances.

Here is a Great Lake Swimmers song for your enjoyment.

To get the roughly the same experience that this Monkey had last night, turn the television on, find Fox News and crank it up to full volume behind you before you play it.

Shameless self indulgence, Work, Writing

5 Things I Learned This Week

Having lagged a bit in his blog postings over the past 7 days or so, your Monkey feels inclined to provide some updates on the growing and changing he has done since his last post.

1.White hot rage is like a super power. Have you ever been truly deeply and sincerely mad about something? So mad that you burn white hot heat and your body shakes for hours on end? It’s not recommended, but it does give you a certain feeling of empowerment that you might otherwise lack. No one is going to push you around when you get that mad.

2. Emusic reviews are to be taken with a grain of salt. Sure emusic editor Tim Chester may give a glowing review to an neo psychedelic album by the Residual Echoes. And sure this same review might prompt your psychedelic music-hungry Grumpy Monkey to make an impulse purchase. But that doesn’t mean that the album is any good. The Residual Echoes make music that can best be described as an incomprehensible mess. Shame on this Monkey for not doing the research before clicking “buy.”

3. Facebook grows old fast. Oh yes, my doubting friends. After years of being a conscientious objector, your Monkey finally took the plunge and set up a facebook account, maybe because all of his baby-having friends insisted on posting their newborn photos on their facebook sites. At first, your Monkey was oddly touched by the cute little news updates from friends and seeing who was watching what on Netflix and who ordered food from what restaurant and what everyone did over the weekend. But now the thrill is fading. Perhaps we would be better served spending our Facebook time doing something  more productive. We could be volunteering for a charities, cleaning our rooms, or searching WordPress for clever blogs written by pretend Monkeys.

4. The Great Lake Swimmers truly are great. Two weeks ago your Monkey affectionately wrote about the band’s latest single, Pulling on a Line. See that post here. But many bands have one great single and not much else. Turns out the Great Lake Singers are really onto something. This band delivers beautiful, shimmering melodies that are matched with smart lyrics. The music is soft and gentle without trending towards dull (I’m looking in your direction, Iron & Wine).

Some other great Great Lake Swimmers songs include:

  • Still
  • Palmistry
  • Your Rocky Spine
  • Backstage With the Modern Dancer

5. Careerbuilder is a den of deception. The company with the clever commercials featuring monkeys like yours truly has a site with more bad come-on deals than a late night infomercial. When you set up your account, every page that you’re asked to add work information to has a tricky-looking opt-in field that appears to be part of process, but is actually seeking your permission to be contacted by phone by a shady online correspondence school.

And let’s not forget that the first five emails your Monkey received about potential “jobs” through this site made Nigerian email phishing scams seem plausible by comparison.

Careerbuilder: Clever ads but a bad user experience…

Great Lake Swimmers: As smooth and refreshing as a dip in Lake Michigan.

Music, Podcasts

One Great Song from the Great Lake Swimmers

Today’s posting will be a simple one.

There will be no whining about Your Monkey’s failed job search, no belabored attempts to put pop culture into context, no complaining about the general unsound state of the planet, and no bad banana jokes.

Instead we will have a very mellow and melodic song from the Great Lake Swimmers, which came to your Monkey courtesy of the KEXP song of the day podcast. Here is a link to the station’s site.

Thanks to KEXP for putting out the song, to the Great Lake Swimmers for allowing it to be a free download, and to Nettwerk music for posting the video on YouTube.

Here’s a link to the Great Lake Swimmers’ website, too.