Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The kids are alright

Because I saw them a couple of times last month, I didn’t go to the Crystal Castles gig the other night in Dublin. I was interested, nonetheless, to read reviews of the gig and especially the venue. From the reviews, …

Thu, Apr 24, 2008, 09:32


Because I saw them a couple of times last month, I didn’t go to the Crystal Castles gig the other night in Dublin. I was interested, nonetheless, to read reviews of the gig and especially the venue.

From the reviews, the “new” Andrews Lane Theatre sounds good, a room just the right side of sleazy and situated right bang in the middle of town.

Apart from the venue, everyone talking about the gig also seemed to have something else in common: they were talking about the kids in the audience.

From Niall’s review for State:

IThe venue was largley occupied by kids from 16-20 years old. There were glowstick-laden nu-rave kids, walking haircuts, Nathan Barley clones, extremely fashion conscious, and normal ‘non-distinguishable by fashion’ folk dotted in-between.

UnaRocks was also there:

There were a million (maybe less) hip kids hanging out at the gig. I felt old. But their clothes and haircuts were pretty cool, in fairness.

Mega-snapper Caitriona had this to say in response to Una’s post:

I felt extraordinarily old

Regular On The Record poster Steve K also noted the presence of the kids:

Also, did anyone go to see Crystal Castles last night? I had to leave because of the noise, though it was a great gig. But full of kids, jam packed, and they loved it. I had no idea they had this kind of following… were they a guest on Skins or something????

It’s interesting that all of these people commented on the fact that they were not the youngest people in the room as if they’d suddenly realised that a baton had been passed to a younger generation. I seem to remember reading similar comments after the El Guincho show at Antics a few weeks ago. Even twentysomethings, it appears, notice a generation gap when it is pushing them aside on the way to the bar or the stage.

It’s something I’ve stopped noticing, to be honest, because I’m usually one of the oldest people in the room at most gigs I go to. See, I’m an auld fella and I’m proud. I’ve seen things you kids will never see. I’ve also seen things you kids will never want to see, but the less said about those gigs the better.

I have noticed, though, that there’s a definite cut-off point when people just stop going to smaller gigs on a regular basis and it usually occurs in a person’s late twenties. Around about then, they see a big flashing neon stop sign which signals the end of the road and they take heed of it. Sure, they’ll go to shows now and then in the Olympia or Vicar Street and they’ll be out in force for the summer event gigs. But mostly, they’ll stay at home, look after the nippers and keep their money for their mortgages. Sometimes, their musical tastes also stagnate leading to a generation of people who venerate acts who were big when they were still regular gig-goers (hey, why else does Morrissey still have a career?).

Of course, there are exceptions who completely missed that stop sign (and one or two people who are in the venue because of work), but Irish gig audiences, by and large, are twentysomethings. It’s their domain, their playground.

But if I go to a show abroad, there’s a much wider spread of ages. I went to see Crystal Castles and HEALTH in New York’s Mercury Lounge last month and there were kids, twentysomething hipsters, nerdy blokes who obviously worked in the computer trade and old lads like myself all in the one room without anyone paying any attention to the age breakdown of the audience.

Elsewhere, gig-going does not not seem confined to first-jobbers or their peers. It’s a much more all-inclusive affair, where it’s seen as something which doesn’t stop just because you swap the rent for mortgage payments or when your job becomes a career. In Ireland, by contrast, gig-going sometimes does appear a mite ageist. That there’s a whole new bunch of kids eager to go out and see live music and make noise and get sweaty and be enthused by it all is, I reckon, something to be happy about.

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