Last night at the Gilad Atzmon – Medical Aid for Palestine gig at the 606 Club, owner Steve Rubie needed several times to adopt a stony countenance (above) to persuade the audience to be quiet, and to give attention and respect to the performers. Rubie had to work and work hard. He felt obliged to apologise. But -eventually – it worked.
The result was that the audience could be treated to some quiet magic ….from Christine Tobin and Barry Green at the beginning of the evening, particularly in Jobim’s Insensatez….. later from Nigel Kennedy in Bach…. and some very delicate percussion stuff from Adriano Adewale with Chico Chagas, , and poet Caroline Bird. (!)
But should a club manager really have to apologise to ask people to listen to the music???
At the 606 on the night in question, Gilad Atzmon quipped, as Steve Rubie upbraided his paying punters for talking: “How rare, a furious flautist!” I sat, with other members and their guests, in obedient silence. Perhaps the owner of the Club might reflect on his policy of cramming ’em in (so that I was jostled constantly by passing waiters), on uncomfortable chairs, and subjected to rudeness on the door and a level of amplified volume which had my head ringing until lunchtime the next day. My privileged perch, next to the scribe himself permitted me the occasional smile in your direction, as some of the music (notably Nigel Kennedy’s Bach partitas) touched parts we had especially brought with us; but a conversation with our party was not possible, as we were assaulted without respite from 9.00 until midnight. Why not a break, a pause, for the chattering classes to chatter? Or why not a club policy which sees to it that paying members get better treatment and, in return, take responsibility for their enthusiastic/unruly guests?
Ouch! Nice to see you at the gig Mike….I would agree on one point: that a decent – length half-time breather would probably have served us as audience well. that such a break might be an essential rather than a nice-to-have. Necessary perhaps to keep the listeners’ batteries and their respect for the performers going.
But hold on, we did witness an incredible variety of acts. Barry Green on piano is absolutely in the zone right now. And David Calder’s appeal for the Medical Aid for Palestine was strong and clear and still rings in my ears.