Tips for not being ‘one of those people’ during concert season
Saturday, April 15, 2017 10:07 PM
Concert season is in full swing, and having already been to three shows in the last month, I want to talk about how not to be “one of those people” at a show. You know the ones – the ones that are inconsiderate of others around them as well as the band. The ones that are just plain rude people. After years of dealing with these people, I’ve compiled my “Top 5 Pet Peeves at Shows” list. (Hey younger generation, this is especially for you.)
5. Earn your spot
If you show up late to a show, do not be rude and try to shove people around or rip people off of barricade. I fully support taking advantage of gaps in the crowd to make your way up front, I’ve done it many times. But if that gap is not there, there is no reason to shove someone out of the way to get closer. I’m thinking back to last year when my best friend Fallan (who is also a concert warrior) and I went to see Good Charlotte. We stood in line for hours only to have a very rude woman shove me with all her might to move me out of the way. It’s one thing if the crowd is pushing, but when it’s one person with bad manners, I don’t take it well. Long story short, that didn’t work out in her favor. Just don’t do it.
4. Crowd surf the right way
Crowd surfing is fun, I use to do it a lot until I got dropped at Rock on the Range, which hurt so bad I decided to never do it again. But for those that don’t have a fear of getting dropped, go ahead! But there are rules for this as well. First, do not wail around like a wacky-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube man. Instead, keep your legs and body straight and it will be smooth sailing. Second, if you’re a bigger person, please just don’t. Last week when I saw New Found Glory almost every crowd surfer was a 200 pound or more football player looking guy. They could seriously injure some of the smaller people in the crowd. Back in 2014 when I saw NFG in Detroit those same types of guys were stage diving and the crowd was letting them drop to the floor because no one wants to get landed on by people who could hurt them.
3. Know your limits
Most of the shows I go to are very small bands and the crowd is very rough. Pro-tip: if you can’t handle the pit, get out and don’t complain about someone pushing you. Crowds get tight and they get rough. Pushing is expected and it’s a very uncomfortable situation. Try to make the best of it and just concentrate on the music. Here’s what I mean, back in 2013 Fallan and I saw Bullet for my Valentine and were behind some very rude women. Every time the crowed pushed forward we were pushed in to them but were trying our best not to. They tried to fight with us about it even though we couldn’t help it. If you can’t handle the pushing, get out.
2. Don’t be a jerk
If you’re lucky enough to be on barricade don’t be a jerk. Usually when I’m barricade I am smashed up against it, but that is okay because I’m lucky enough to be getting some air. I don’t push back because there is no point in pushing against 1,000 other people. That’s a fight I’m not going to win and it only really makes the person directly behind me miserable. A few weeks back at the Green Day show I got stuck behind an older man who seemed to have never been in a pit before because he made my night miserable by putting himself in a hunched position which pushed his lower half into me the entire show. And trust me, that was awkward for me the entire night. There is really no need to do that. Smash yourself against the barricade and be happy you’re there.
1. Put your phone away and make some real memories
Now this one is going to be the longest because it is my number one concert pet peeve. Taking pictures and recording a show is nice for a few shots, but if you’re doing it the entire show then why are you even there? I’ve watched several bands call out fans for doing this. The Used front-man Bert McCracken pointed at a fan during a show I was at and told her to put her phone away and pleaded for the crowd to make some “real memories.”
During Green Day’s club shows last year, they banned phones from being used and even being out. If you were caught taking a photo you got kicked out of the show. I thought this was a wonderful idea. I’ve watched, especially younger people, record an entire show before and they usually hold it right in someone else’s face. I had a girl at the 1975 use my head as a resting spot to use for her to record, which ended in her phone going flying.
If you’re staring through a screen, why not save your money and watch at home on YouTube because you’re obviously not interested in the actual human aspect of the show.
To quote Billie Joe Armstrong at the last Green Day show, “If you’re staring at your phone, you’re not paying attention to me.” Actually Armstrong has been very vocal about the whole thing, during a Q&A in London he spoke about the issue.
“You can take your picture but let’s have eye contact, let’s have a human experience right now you can’t capture on a cell phone,” Armstrong said. “At our shows I see lot of people holding up cell phones. You can look at a screen at home; you can look at your computer or your phone anywhere.”
He’s right. It’s rude to do to the band you paid money to see and it’s rude to the other people around you. I’m still in disbelief that someone tried to use my head as a phone stand. I could probably rant on about the cell phone thing for an entire other full column but I think I made my point.
They’re many more issues that I see rude fans do at shows, but no doubt these five happen at every single show I go to. All-in-all though, I think I could deal with the violent pushers, the heavy crowd surfers and even the inconsiderate barricaders if I could just go to a show where people were actually living in the moment and not recording the whole thing. Sometimes that alone makes me wish I were an adult in the early 90s when no one had smart phones.