Put your phones down, people – especially during concerts

By JAMIE MASSENGALE,

I don’t know about you, but I love music. In fact, I love most all kinds of music from rock and hip-hop to reggae and bluegrass.

I also love to attend concerts and am a big supporter of live music.

Last weekend, I attended one of the most incredible shows I have ever seen in Hattiesburg. It was at one of my favorite venues, the Thirsty Hippo.

Blues phenom Christone "Kingfish" Ingram came down from the Delta and showed us Hattiesburgers his amazing skills as a young virtuoso who shreds a guitar like there's no tomorrow.

It was an amazing time seeing this 20-year-old who is making a name for himself all over the world. Just ask anyone who was there. It was truly a sight to see.

Maybe I'm being little passé and if you think that’s the case, feel free to call me old-fashioned, but I'm just not a big fan of people recording concerts on their cellular phones.

Personally, I want to enjoy being in the moment and not feel compelled to break out my phone.

I get it. You want to show off to your friends on social media that you went to a concert or event.

I see nothing wrong with taking a picture or even getting a little video for Instagram or Facebook, but live streaming a concert for someone who isn’t there or even filming entire songs has to stop.

And trust me when I say, I have been guilty myseslf. I've done it many times. I've gone live on social media during the Brown Bag Concert Series downtown and even at Live at Five over at Town Square Park.

I can even go back and show you clips from a few weeks ago when I went to see Tenacious D play in New Orleans.

But those days are behind me.

In recent months, I've started making little music videos with my cell phone and have recorded local artists like Thomas Jackson and Shelby Kemp during their performances.

When it comes to recording video of concerts, I definitely think there is a time and place for everything.

If you don’t know me, I’m a tall man and I always feel bad for people who stand behind me at shows.

I usually try to stand in the back of the room at concerts or in front of large objects to allow the more vertically-challenged concertgoers to get a good vantage point, which is what I tried to do at last weekend’s Kingfish show at the Thirsty Hippo.

But so many people were watching the concert through their phones that I could hardly even see the stage. We’re talking about people in the front of the crowd.

That’s just rude.

Sorry, but I can't see through your phone and I didn't pay to watch a concert through that tiny screen on your phone.

In recent years, some artists have even begun a trend requiring patrons to leave their cell phones at home – or evern lock them up while they attend the show.

That’s right.

Fans are being asked to put their phones in pouches that don't allow them to access their phones while they are in the venue.

That was the case when The Lumineers played at the Saenger in Hattiesburg last year and I heard great things about the concert.

Now I am not in favor of completely banning cell phones from concerts, but I do think that when people are blocking the view for an extended period of time, it’s just not cool.

All I ask is that if you feel compelled to pull your phone out at a concert, be considerate of the people around you – and especially behind you.

Massengale is a local musician who performs under the name Massive J. If you disagree with his take on cell phones at concerts, please send all hate email to rick@HubCitySPOKES.com