Cage the Elephant is coming to the Crest Theatre on April 15, but it’s unlikely you’ll see any selfies from the concert on Instagram.
Cellphones aren’t just a no-no at this acoustic show by the popular rock band. All concertgoers will be required to secure their iPhones, smartwatches and any other recording devices in a special pouch that utilizes a high-tech lock.
The small cases are made by Yondr, which has created a kind of holding cell for your cellphone. After attendees make their way through security and get their ticket scanned, they’ll be given a Yondr pouch that must be used during the show. The device keeps electronic gadgets locked up while concertgoers are in the theater. However, if an urgent call or text must be made, the pouch unlocks automatically when people enter the lobby, which will be outside of Yondr’s “geofence” perimeter.
Yondr’s technology is intended to create a more organic, distraction-free concert experience. Now, the typical music show is marked by the incessant glow of cellphones raised high as people capture the scene for social media. As the company says on its website: “Yondr has a simple purpose: (To) show people how powerful a moment can be when we aren’t focused on documenting or broadcasting it.”
Cellphone-free shows aren’t necessarily new. Such devices were prohibited when Kevin Hart performed two sold-out shows at Sleep Train Arena in 2015. More than 100 attendees were kicked out of the show for violating the policy, which was put in place to prevent the comedian’s punchlines from leaking and spoiling the material for future shows. Other artists, such as Cake’s John McCrea, have been known to rant against concertgoers using cellphones at shows.
But through Yondr, performers are going a step further to remove smartphones from the concert experience. Artists who’ve required the use of Yondr at concerts include Alicia Keys, Guns N’ Roses and the comedian Dave Chappelle.
Cage the Elephant’s show at the Crest Theatre marks the first time that Yondr has been used in the Sacramento area. Yulya Borroum, the Crest Theatre’s manager, said she isn’t quite sold on the idea of requiring concertgoers to use the locking pouches.
“There’s a positive and negative to the technology,” Borroum said. “The positive is that you’re not getting a bright screen in front of you, and I think people will enjoy that. But I think for getting people in and out, it’s likely to create slowdown and frustration and that might be directed at Crest staff even though it’s not our policy. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised.”
The no-cellphone policy hasn’t seemed to turn off ticket buyers for Cage the Elephant’s concert in Sacramento. All tickets sold out within their first day of going on sale.