Thursday, March 8, 2012

Good Show

For the past few weeks, I've been ravenously gobbling up all the concert schedules that local venues are starting to put up.  In Los Angeles, you can see good shows all year long, but there is definitely a "concert season," probably because of the great outdoor venues.  I've made easy calls like, Yes, of course I'll go see Tennis at the Troubadour and difficult calls like, Do I really want to spend that much money to see Neil Diamond at The Greek?  (I didn't.)  But, it got me thinking about concert etiquette.

Perhaps it's because I've been consistently going to shows for twenty years or maybe it's because I'm getting older.  But, I feel like the way you behave at a concert says a lot about you and your appreciation for live music.  I'm not saying you should act like you're at church, even though I truly think that seeing live music is as close to a religious experience I'll get in this lifetime.  But, I am saying that there are basic rules.

First off, bathe.  Shower.  Put on deodorant.  There's a good chance you're over six feet tall and I might end up pressed into your armpit at some point during the show.  Please don't make me feel pukey.  Seriously.  I've probably had a drink or two at this point and you really don't want me to hurl down your v-neck tee, do you?  This seems to be a bigger problem in the last decade or so.  I was in some pretty sweaty mosh pits back in the 90s and I never encountered B.O., usually just grabby hands or snaggy facial piercings.

Another good rule of thumb is that unless the band asks for requests, yelling out the name of the song you want them to play will make everyone want to murder you.  Including the band.  Think about it.  Even if it's on the set list, no one wants to indulge the drunk asshole.  And, think of your safety.  I've seen people get tripped right after an obnoxious song title yelling session.  Once, at a Cake concert, I was ready to neck punch the guy next to me who kept screaming "Jolene! Play Jolene!  Duuuuude, Jolene!" after every single song.  They never played 'Jolene.'

Let's talk about talking.  Talking is fine.  I mean, it's not a movie theatre or a library.  You're having fun, of course you're going to want to talk to your buddies.  But, loudly talking about how they don't sound as good as the last time you saw them or how they "sold out" or how you think they suck now is just lame.  You're ruining it for everyone, dude.  If you're not digging it, go get a beer and shut up.

Also, on the talking tip, if you're at a venue with seats, like, say, The Hollywood Bowl or The Greek Theatre, please oh please realize that you're like two feet behind the seats in front of you.  We can hear everything you're saying.  So, when The Decemberists start playing a ballad like, "June Hymn," it's not the time to tell your bestie about what a dick your boyfriend is being.  I will murder you.  I'm serious.  If I see you this season and you're talking during a quiet slow song, I will seriously beat you up.  You may have three inches and forty pounds on me but I have anger and indignation on my side.  I'm talking to you, feather girl whose boyfriend drank all of the Diet Coke.  Be afraid.

Finally, I want to say something about shoving.  I've always been of the opinion that, if you're down front in the standing section of a show, anything pretty much goes.  I've wormed my way to the front plenty of times.  If you're down there, you have to realize that just because you staked out your spot during the opening act and waited patiently, it doesn't mean it's yours.  People will creep in at the last minute and that's okay.  It's just the way it goes, it's the unspoken concert creed.  You might get pushed or shoved or stepped on.  Deal with it.  It's the price of admission to be down there.  However, if you are gratuitously shoving people just to do it and we're not in a mosh pit, I will elbow you back.  Look, I'm small.  I've fallen down before.  I've been knocked over and kicked and stepped on.  I can usually handle myself.  But, if you're a big dude shoving people over on your way to the front, I might sacrifice the rest of my Dos Equis to your crotch.

Okay, I've said my piece.  For the most part, people at concerts are awesome.  I like to think that everyone there is having the same experience as me, that we're all just so glad to be there.  That we're all our best selves at a concert.  But, if any of the above apply to you, do us all a favor and tone it down or chill it out or deodorant it up.  You'll probably have a better time but more importantly, I will.

And, I won't be forced to come at you like a spider monkey.