South Florida is the best place to experience live music.
Hear me out on this, haters.
I'm not saying we have the largest, most diverse scene, or whether we do or don't have the coolest bands ever, of all time. Our venues aren't like necessarily far superior to those in major metropolises, equipped with the finest sound systems. But these necessary ingredients aren't really what make the difference between a good and amazing show. You know what is? The crowd.
We pretty much have, worldwide, the most involved audiences. We are a passionate people. We dance and sing and get crunk at almost every concert or club or house party that we host. Yes, us! We make fun happen.
The difference between our South Florida concert reality and that of other spots on the map really hit home for me when I flew up to DC last weekend to catch Neutral Milk Hotel at DAR Constitution Hall. I know, you're jealous. But let me finish my tale of woe, because even though I was lucky enough to see NMH live finally, this here is a story of some disappointment.
The set started out so strong. Jeff Mangum and co. just fucking went for it, straight into some "Two Headed Boy." I wanted to jump and scream and cry, but I couldn't, because no one was even standing up.
How the hell do you hear Mangum belt out the words "In the dark we will take off our clothes/and they'll be plaaaayy-cing fingers through the notches in your spine..." and not want to pound your chest and lap up the tears off your nearest neighbor's face?!
(See, you're worked up, and you're sitting at a computer!)
Apparently, I was alone with this feeling in the District of Columbia. No one danced. No one screamed. No one even looked like they were smiling. Some chick in front of me told me to keep it down, and two people over, a couple simply stared into each others' eyes the entire night. My only hope is that they were tripping balls or rolling hard and thus wildly dancing in their own heads.
This behavior would never stand in SoFla. Had NMH performed anywhere in the 561, 954, or 305, there would have been a freaking mosh pit of love straight in front of the stage. Instead, at one point, Mangum had to ask the nerdy crowd to come closer to the stage. Like he had to reassure them as they visibly hesitated, that it's ok to come up and stand and be an active part of the show. How is that even a thing that needs to be explained? I think he sounded like annoyed to be honest. And rightfully so.
Granted, you can say DC isn't a party city. But all these people bought tickets within minutes of them going on sale like six months prior to the event! So they're fans. Or wannabe fans. Anyway, I finally stood up and sang along, cause it's a concert for crying out loud, and no one, not even a stuffy DC crowd, is going to take "Holland, 1945" from me.
I've definitely been to shows all over the damn place, and crowds in cities like Austin and Memphis and New York definitely hold their own frequently. But this is about consistency. The difference between us and any of them other places, is that at almost any show from Wynwood to Clematis there are bound to be at least two people dancing at any given time. People will be smiling, crying, hugging, loving the music, loving life, loving the community. So whatever trash you want to talk, go ahead, and then go see one of your favorite bands in any other city. Come back, and we'll talk.