Sunday, October 07, 2007

Concert Etiquette

So many factors can impact your concert experience. The primary components -- your pre-concert mood, the venue, what you have going on the next day and of course THE BAND usually are what they are. Sure, you can try to get yourself pumped up for the show or forget about work the next day but for the most part there is only so much you can do to influence the concert. Some people choose to be "on a good mixture" as The National once said or go with a cool group of people to make the show better. My strategy is simple - when attending a general admission show I usually go with Mrs. Hops and we get there very early in order to snag a spot that will work for our short stature.

All that said there is one other thing that has a major impact on a concert - the crowd. A great crowd that is supporting the band can really elevate a show to another level. It is why bands love to play cities where they know they'll be supported well and always step up their game for those events. This is exactly why nothing pisses me off more than annoying people at concerts. You know the people - they can really ruin the show for everyone near them (and sometimes far from them).

Here are a few things I wish people would never do at a concert:

1) Make out - sure you can sneak a kiss or cuddle during a romantic moment but I don't want to have to watch two ugly people grope each other next to me. I remember a great My Morning Jacket show where this gross couple made out for the first 30 minutes of the set and didn't watch a thing. Of course they were standing RIGHT in front of me on the balcony. Luckily the girl had to leave to go puke in the toilet rescuing my night and ruining her dates. Ha ha.

2) Text - maybe one text per show or a text during the openers to let your friends know where you are but this annoys me during the show. First of all its disrespectful to the artist. Second, the light from your phone is very distracting. Third, its hard to get really into the band when the people next to you aren't paying attention.

3) Try and Steal My Spot - these people are at fault on multiple accounts. First there are those who come late and try to run up to the front right when the show starts. If you want a good spot get there early. Otherwise, don't try and steal one from the people who worked hard to earn it. Second, when I go to the bathroom or the bar don't try to squeeze into my space. You know I'm coming back and we'll all be much happier with a bit of space to dance. I hate having to make myself "big" when Mrs. Hops goes to the bathroom so some jerk doesn't try and steal it. Finally, I hate the nudgers. You know those people who are pushing you constantly trying to gain an inch in a non-existent turf war. We're all trying to see the band, please stop making everyone worry more about their territory than the music. I once had a girl slowly take her hand and grab the rail in front of me. This somehow signaled that she had a spot in the front row because she could reach out and grab the rail. Who can't see over me? I'm 5 foot 6...and Mrs. Hops is 5 foot flat. People should flock to our section just so they can stand behind us.

4) Yell stuff at the band - They're the center of attention not you. Why can't you just accept that?

5) Talk - Ah...this kills me. If you don't want to be there then go home! Stop chatting during those moments when the band is trying to play a quiet song...and stop yelling to shout over the loud ones. Talkers, I hate you. So does Jeff Tweedy:

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