I’ve been to two shows in the last two nights – the Yours and Owls massive farewell party with a stack of local Wollongong bands on Friday, and Japandroids at the Manning Bar last night. Both nights ruled hard – A+ and11/10 score forever, would reblog and do again – but both highlighted a whole stack of concert pet peeves and whinges that I’d forgotten that I held. So for future reference, if we ever go to a concert together, please avoid doing all the below things or I’ll leave you behind and drive home without you so you have to get the train home alone and probably get mugged.
Beer in the mosh pit
I love a good beer or three at a gig as much as anyone, but there’s a time and place for it; the place being out of the mosh pit/off the dance floor, and the time being forever. The overwhelming majority of the venue is a great place to have a beer – at the bar, in the seating area, at the back, outside in the smoking area, on the toilet – but don’t be bringing your beer on the dance floor. It’s going to get sweaty and uncomfortable enough without you spilling your near-full beer on the back of my head once the band starts playing and you start dancing. And if nothing else, you’re going to spill the beer almost instantly, and you’re only drinking it to get a little silly – just scull it at the bar, dingus.
Throwing stuff at the band
NO. Just NO. At Japandroids, a tall bloke threw an entirely full plastic cup of beer at Brian, the frontman, which just narrowly missed his head. Brian kept on like a champ but called the dude out awesomely at the end of the song, daring him to come up on stage. This isn’t new, people have probably been throwing stuff at bands since the first caveman bands began dropping sick beats back in the stone age, but this dude was throwing the beer because he liked the band, in some backward display of affection – “here dude, have my beer! I love you!” Which brings me to the point that you should NEVER THROW SOMETHING AT THE BAND. Even if you hate them, they don’t need missiles flying at them. If you’re not a fan, do what everyone else does – pull out your phone and write a mean Tweet about how bored you are. Throwing a beer at the band; best case scenario, the band gets a bad impression of your city and never wants to come back. Worst case, you wreck their equipment. Don’t be a jerk, that beer belongs in your belly and not on the stage.
Take a photo, make a quick video, fire off a Snapchat of your favourite song – that’s all good. But mate, you’re not a professional videographer or photographer, so you don’t need to have your phone out and recording every song. You’ve paid $50 for a ticket, don’t spend the whole time watching the show through the tiny viewfinder on your screen. I’ve paid $50 for a ticket, don’t make me keep ducking and weaving around your raised arm because you feel the need to video every song. You’ll get home and realise, as you do after every concert, that phone footage sucks; you’ve got a mostly black and grainy visual and a tinny, distorted and nigh-unrecognisable sound clip of “that song from triple J that I love.” For one song or two, go for it mate, good luck to you. But you don’t need to have your phone in the air and wave it like you just don’t care for the entire show.
Support band etiquette
Support bands are usually pretty dodgy. That doesn’t mean you should be a jerk. It’s a tough gig, opening up for a big band – you’re a no-name local band, nobody knows your songs, it’s early so nobody has stocked up on their liquid courage/social lubricant yet, and everyone just wants you to hurry up and get off and bring on the headliners. Support bands usually have very little going in their favour, so it’s pretty brave to get up in front of an audience who you know will not be picking up what you’re putting down. So when the support band is on, don’t stand in the front row and talk or play on your phone – if you’re going to get close, at least pay attention. And give them a clap at the end – they deserve it, even if they sucked big time.
Being a general jerk
It’s a punk band, it’s going to be high energy, things are going to get a little silly – don’t be surprised or angry when someone bumps into you in the crowd. Don’t be a sook when you fall over in the push. Put your hands up and support the dude crowd surfing or stage diving, and don’t just let him crash to the ground because you didn’t want to touch a stranger. For forty minutes or an hour, you can make best mates with the stranger next to you because you’re united in your common love for the band playing on stage. Mosh mates are the best, because you can sing along and dance and crowd surf like a maniac and it doesn’t matter because you’ll never see each other again. Just help a brother out, because you’re all in this together and everyone’s going to have a much better time if you just stop being a sook, get with the program and be a team player.