A minority on the outskirts

As an ethnic minority I’ve always found it intriguing to have a little glance around me at concerts to see where I stand within the crowd. With my choice of music including that of indie/rock – a genre traditionally saturated by white men – I always find myself as even more of a minority as I’m both Asian and female.

I’ve been attending concerts for years with my gig-going history including the likes of Biffy Clyro, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Arctic Monkeys, and Glass Animals. Every time I go I find myself even more aware of the lack of diversity within the crowd, and more conscious that myself and the people I’m with (usually my aunt and/or my brother) are one of extremely few non-whites.

A couple of days ago I was with my brother, uncle and his mate (also Indian) seeing Bloc Party at The Roundhouse, which is one of my favourite venues in London. I found myself on the outskirts of the main centre of the audience, fully conscious of the fact that I was surrounded by predominantly white men. Any women I saw (also white) seemed to be attached to their significant other. This doesn’t tend to make me hugely uncomfortable, but recently it has made me question why there is still such a lack of culturally diverse people attending live concerts.

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On a slightly lighter, less political note, I also found myself as a minority with regards to my knowledge of Bloc Party’s discography, only familiar with the band’s latest album, HYMNS. Hard-core fans of theirs who stuck by them since day one are not keen on this record at all. It presents a shift in the band’s sound that some people are not willing to accept. I’m all for a band adapting their sound, whether it be to suit the current times or whether it be a natural step in a group’s progression and evolution. (Other examples include Arctic Monkeys with AM, Two Door Cinema Club with Gameshow, and Kings of Leon with WALLS.)

So not only was I a minority fan on the outskirts of the venue singing along to the likes of ‘Different Drugs’ and ‘Only He Can Heal Me’ while “true” fans bitched about Bloc Party’s new musical direction, but I was also one of very few women, and one of very few non-whites.

I’ll just add that lead singer, Kele Okereke, was born to Nigerian parents and does not fit heteronormative ideals. The band also has a female drummer.

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