The Black Crowes Bans Cameras, Photography with Cameraphones at Its Pageant Show; People Freak Out

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Leave these at home if you're going to the Black Crowes show. - J-P KÄRNÄ/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • J-P Kärnä/Wikimedia Commons
  • Leave these at home if you're going to the Black Crowes show.

The Black Crowes is bringing its "Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys" tour to the Pageant on Friday night. We chatted with drummer Steve Gorman in the new RFT about the band's new album, Croweology. Stay tuned here for some juicy outtakes tomorrow. Tickets are $49.50, and are still available.

In other news associated with the show, the following note appeared on the Pageant's website the other day: "The Black Crowes will no longer allow cameras into the venue. Additionally, photos will not be permitted to be taken with camera phones or any other device during the show. Absolutely no cameras (still or video) or audio equipment will be permitted inside the soundcheck party."

Over at the Pageant's Facebook post about this, a discussion continues to rage. Most people commenting are absolutely up in arms over the ban; the vitriol toward the band and the policy itself is jaw-dropping.

My take on the ban? Fantastic. Good job, Black Crowes. It's about time more groups did this.

Taking a photo or two to commemorate a show you are at, for Facebook or personal use? Sure, totally kosher; I've done it myself. Not a big deal. But more and more lately, the shows I attend are dominated by people angling to get that perfect shot or good-quality video. And they're not doing this for a few songs or occasionally; they're doing this for most of the show. People are too busy documenting the experience for posterity to actually enjoy -- or heck, even have -- the experience.

(Plus, in the process of trying to get a photo, people in the audience are often being completely rude to those around (or behind) them. It makes for an unpleasant, irritating concert experience.)

Besides that: Contrary to what fans think, they're not entitled to take photos of their heroes. When journalists take professional photos (such as you see here on the RFT's website), we get permission from the band and its publicist, who is often acting on behalf of band management. Often, you have to sign photo waivers promising you won't re-sell the photos or use them for anything other than press use. It's a way for artists to control where and how their image is used, and to ensure that people aren't profiting off of their likeness. Sometimes it's a pain, sure; but it's the way the business works. A music venue is a private place, not a public area, and so bands can control the rules there. Because -- and let me repeat -- fans attending a show aren't entitled to take photos. I'm not sure where that mindset came from, but this didn't used to be the case.

Now, this lament about the rise of fan-taken concert photography isn't anything new; plenty of stories have been written about it elsewhere. But bands are slowly starting to respond to the camera insanity: At an April Wilco also I saw, the band banned photography. It was odd not seeing flashes and people holding up cameras -- but the overall experience was so much more pleasant.

Who knows? Friday's show might be as well. And if you're still distraught over your lack of documentation, there's this: The band's still allowing audio taping.

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