Biting The Hand That Feeds

The whole family headed up to Summerstage last night to see the Arctic Monkeys (and Voxtrot) play an evening show. The girls headed off with their friends and Josh, The Gotham Gal, and I made our way up front on the left side of the stage. We caught most of the Voxtrot set which was nice, then hung out waiting for The Arctic Monkeys to come on. They came on about 8:45pm and played an hour, maybe hour fifteen set. Typical Arctic Monkeys set, rapid fire song to song, no encore. I liked it, but I like them better in an indoor venue. The pounding driving sound kind of floats out into the trees and gets lost.

The Arctic Monkeys are a case study of the power of the word of mouth marketing that Rick Rubin talked about in the New York Times magazine article this weekend.

The Arctic Monkeys are the ultimate myspace success story. They went from nobodies to the top selling record ever in the history of the UK on the back of free mp3s and myspace. Talk about word of mouth marketing.

And I was doing my part last night. I recorded a couple songs with my Sanyo Xacti with the idea that I’d post one of them if they came out well. They didn’t. The sound overpowers the microphone in that camera and I have to find something new to take to shows. Ideally it would be as small and portable as the Xacti.

But about 2/3 of the way through Do Me A Favour (one of my favorite tracks on Favourite Worst Nightmare) a security guard come up to me and tries to take my camera. I yelled at him, he yelled back. If he hadn’t been on the other side of the barricade, I’d have been in trouble. That was the end of my night of recording.

Why he chose to pick on me when everyone around me was recording the show is a mystery to me. Fans are fans. They want to show their friends how great the Arctic Monkeys are. I have no idea why the band and/or the venue works so hard to stop this kind of behavior.

So anyway, here’s the clip (2:45 mins). Sorry for the abrupt ending and the bad sound quality.


#My Music

Comments (Archived):

  1. Yaacov

    Next time sneak in mics from… for stealth and great quality. I guess the security guard didn’t know how many times you’ve pumped them to your readers and friends.

  2. Steven Kane

    I dont know the arctic monkeys but i’d guess that1) the security guard was carrying out arctic monkeys wishes (if they didnt care, security certainly would prefer not to grab peoples cel phones)2) the band’s attitude is simply reflecting their new status — they are now a successful businessin short, “when you got nothing you got nothing to lose.” sure the band loved Myspecae and all that when they had nothing, and nothing to lose. but now they have lots to lose. like their livelihoods. now they are successful, and they’d rather continue to make their livings off of their music (not go back to waiting tables).so now, they want to have some control over the manufacture and distribution of their the risk of sounding like a skipping CD, i just dont understand why we dont think that creative artists should think and act like any other business thinks and acts…

  3. Nick Davis

    I have no idea why they do that. For some reason, they still think control is good. Two years ago I got to shoot the White Stripes for a local paper. Usually you get 3 songs for press to shoot from the front of the stage. We got two before the manager/thug booted us rudely. Then I tried to get a snap with my point and shoot of my friends and almost got thrown out.pic:…As for digicam video sound quality, I rarely care. For me it’s about recording the moment. It’s the best way to relive the experience – a video from where I was standing. The sound is usually 75% clipped (like that BK video I sent the other day).Lastly, I just sold my Arctic Monkeys tickets for the KC show next week. Had like 8 concerts upcoming, and more that I still want to make (Bright Eyes in Lawrence!!!). So the Monkeys had to go. But if Voxtrot is the opener here, I might have made a big, big mistake. OK, just checked the website. I messed up 🙁 Might have to buy another ticket.

  4. jackson

    What if they mess up, or trip and fall, they don’t want that on the web.

  5. Mo

    Steve, It’s hard for me to believe the Artic Monkeys (the band) give a fuck about who is taking video of the concert and it is unfair to blame them for this incident.I found and now love the band thanks to Fred and it is sad that a Super connector like Fred is being treated like this. If this continues, 10 years from now when “Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys” will come true, the band will feel just like the woman in their song Adolescent Fluorescent.

  6. Mo

    Jackson, I didn’t think of that. That is a very good point, you can check out YouTube for the artist M.I.A and her performance at Lollapalooza. It was horrible, I guess she wasn’t feeling well.

  7. Willan Johnson

    Fred – I was at the Stevie Wonder concert at the Greek in LA last night, and same thing – no cameras or video cameras allowed. I have been working on a concept in the live music social networking space, and it is really interesting – many artists and bands still want very tight control in this type of forum. They don’t want to be caught falling down the stairs (like Beyonce). They don’t want their music distributed via poor quality media (like you have done above). Some bands only want pictures taken from one side of the stage versus the other. Of course, most fans are like you and I – we want to re-live the experience and share with friends and family. The two paths will converge but for now some artists see the negatives outweighing the benefits.

  8. michaelgalpert

    I expressed the same exact thoughts to my girlfriend at the concert last night and had mentioned that the arctic monkeys should give you a vip pass that allows you to record at your own will for the amount of promoting you do for them.To answer your question why you were singled out from everyone else, I think its because your xacti looks like a videocamera opposed to all the other video cameras that were disguised as digital cameras. ( have a look see: and ) I doubt the security guard was familiar with the arctic monkeys beliefs he was just “doing his job”.re: the concert i thought it was a great show except for all the younger kids pushing and shoving.I even tried to get some video footage of my own but i wasnt able to do them justice. one day you will be able to get the allowed to record pass…


    I was actually at the show yesterday too! The reason you might be having problems with the sound is because you’re probably standing too close to the speakers. Whenever I record music at shows or concerts, I usually stand anywhere from 50 – 100 feet back, and it usually comes out ok. When you’re that close, the volume will over power the mic. Wait…were you sitting near those guys that climbed up and took their shirts off and then waved the shirts all of the while showing off their hairy stomachs? they were on the left side of the stage. The show was fun. I actually liked to pushing and shoving part (contrary to michael). But then again, I’m one of those people that likes to crowd surf. Give me 5 years, I’ll be over it…But honestly, the only reason that I ever found out about the Arctic Monkeys and went to their concert was because of this blog. I like your music taste. That’s also what we like to do for our group as well. We like to find undiscovered talent and showcase them at our events. We have a benefit concert coming up in the winter, and we’re featuring a few local NY bands that have been personally picked by us. A lot of good undiscovered music still. Anyway, thanks for all of your insight. I really enjoy reading your blog as well as gothamgal’s. I like her restaurant reviews and recipes. I left her a recipe for korean short ribs a few months ago. Hope you guys had a chance to try it. =) Thanks again.

    1. fredwilson

      that was my oldest daughter who was trying to set the crowd surfing record last night.

  10. Carl Rahn Griffith

    glad to hear you had a good time – their open air set at the lancashire county cricket ground last month was great – very loud, tight and powerful and they probably gave us approx 90+ mins playing time … am looking forward to seeing them at an indoor venue at some point in the future but i don’t think it will be in the uk – sadly they’ve attracted a rather ‘chav’ (aka ‘yob’) demographic which is somewhat ironic/bizarre given their style of music and subtle popwer pop intellect/lyrics.…HOWEVER – without going into too much detail, by the end of the gig my brother in law i were soaked, along with everyone else in the mosh pit area vicinity – but, it wasn’t just lukewarm lager many of the chav/yob ‘fans’ had been throwing over people for a couple of hours – it was a warm amber liquid, yes, but not lager … imagine the grossest thing it could possibly be and yes that’s what it was – as it transpires this is apparently now a ‘tradition’ at many british open air gigs of this genre. welcome to britain’s ‘yoof culture’ circa 2007.suffice to say it took several showers before one could feel clean and remotely civilised – most of my clothes and my expensive boots had to be consigned to the trash bin. it somewhat tainted a great gig (ie, amy winehouse and supergrass were just some of the support acts, fyi – pretty cool, eh?).

  11. riozen

    When I worked for Bill Graham we did many Grateful Dead concerts. We always set up an area where the Deadheads could record – audio or video – the Dead. The Dead only asked that the fans not sell what they made but share it for free. The Dead were the #1 box office grossing live act for over 20 years as a result. They sold a lot of records as well. So, the paradigm of free vs. paid music was worked out a long time ago. it’s called loss leader. Obviously neither the RIAA, the record companies or the current Monkeys have caught up.