A musician has slammed another artist’s enforcing of ‘gig rules’ – discouraging singing and talking along during the performance – claiming that she ‘should be a teacher or a prison officer’ instead.
In a heated debate on Good Morning Britain, Rowetta – best known for her work with the Happy Mondays – told Lucy May Walker that it’s not fair to ask paid audiences not to enjoy themselves.
‘To have a set of rules for a gig when they’re paying – I think that’s really awful, honestly – you should be a teacher or a prison officer,’ the 90s star told the programme.
‘If you don’t love being on stage with people watching you, stay in your bedroom, sing there and stream it…
‘Because you have got a good voice but you obviously haven’t got the personality… you haven’t got that thing where you connect with the audience.’
Folk pop performer Lucy, who is currently on tour, recently shared a set of ‘guidelines’ for enjoying her show.
In a poster shared on X – formerly known as Twitter – the singer explained that ‘the audience can either make or break a show’.
‘Just one person can ruin it for everybody else,’ she added. ‘Here are some guidelines for you to follow (so that person isn’t you!).’
Suggestions include keeping quiet until intervals, not using flash when taking photos, ‘reading the room’ before singing along, and trying to wait until the end of a tune before leaving the room.
‘For this tour that I’m on right now it’s acoustic, solo acoustic,’ she told Ed Balls and Ranvir Singh.
‘I’m playing tiny rooms from 30 to 60 capacity – and I’m a folk-pop singer songwriter.
‘I’ve done a little set of rules… for this tour in particular and I don’t think these rules should be for every single gig, of course these rules can’t be for arenas…
‘But for my kind of genre of music, I think people should listen to the music – that’s why they’re there, no?’
Lucy added that there are some songs which are particularly emotional, that she doesn’t believe should be interrupted.
She said: ‘Imagine if I’m singing a song about baby loss and there’s someone chatting through it.
‘I don’t think anyone in their right mind can say “oh well they’re allowed to have fun”… If you’re there to socialise with your friends then why not go to the pub?’
Rowetta, 57, pointed out that not all crowds are able to control their noise levels.
‘I sing at funerals, I sing for people with learning disabilities, people with Tourette’s, children – they talk,’ she said.
‘They’re disruptive, they don’t always listen… but they’re loving the night, they’re loving my voice and they’re loving the connection we have…
‘How can you charge fans and then tell them to shut up? You’re singing for yourself, you should be singing to the audience.
‘You’re in the wrong game if you don’t like people talking and enjoying themselves.’
The Reach Out hitmaker went as far as to say that Lucy won’t be performing live for as long as she has – 40 years – due to her attitude.
‘I’ve done working men’s clubs where it’s racist graffiti,’ she recalled. ‘When I walk in, I’m terrified – and it’s a real big challenge, you want them to love you and you hope so but you cant just trust in it, but I do.
‘With racist graffiti and an audience that don’t know me, I’ve walked in and then when you start to sing and they go “ooh”.’
But Lucy was adamant that ‘just because you’ve bought a ticket to see a show doesn’t mean you can act however you want’, adding that she ended up writing her guidelines after being tired of calling people out on stage.
‘Why buy tickets to talk through the whole set,’ she added.
Viewers on X – formerly known as Twitter – had mixed reactions.
While many agreed with Rowetta, they felt she needed to ‘calm down’.
‘Blimey, I wasn’t expecting that!’ one person wrote. ‘I thought [Lucy] handled it really well and Rowetta came across as rude…’
‘I get Rowetta’s point but at least give Lucy a chance to speak,’ another added. ‘Shouting over her did you no favours.’
‘What is the point of a debate if Rowetta will not let Lucy speak? ‘ one questioned. ‘It’s an intimate venue big difference to Glastonbury so there should be a little etiquette in that situation.’
Rowetta first rose to prominence in the 90s with the Happy Mondays, before having a second rush at fame when she appeared on the X Factor.
The star was branded ‘amazing but barking bloody mad’ by Simon Cowell, before finishing the competition in fourth place.
Rowetta, who still performs with the Happy Mondays, toured with them in 2015 to mark the 25th anniversary of the album Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches.