These days, it’s rare to attend a concert without seeing a sea of phones being waved above the crowd, blocking the view and often annoying people standing behind them. But isn’t the point of live music to escape the distractions of ordinary life?
Texas-born singer-songwriter Austin Meade has been going to shows since he was a kid, tagging along with his dad—and he’s made some great memories by being fully present, interacting with people who love the same music. “You don’t know the people who are five feet, 25 feet, 50 feet from you, but a lot of times you’re singing the same damn song,” he tells SPIN at Louder Than Life. “You look across, and you can have that little ‘rock out’ moment with a stranger that you’ve never had. It just breaks down the barrier of the bullshit.”
While Meade understands the impulse to record a live performance, he feels that fumbling with a phone can weaken your overall experience.
“It feels like everybody wants to always capture the most fun moments, but by that they’re kind of taken away,” Meade says. “I really love it when I look out there and people have their hands up with no phones. It means they’re kind of experiencing their freedom a little bit.”