How To Make Friends And Not Alienate People – How Not To Be A Tool At Rock Shows
So, M and I were at the Opeth concert last month. Of course we were. Awesome musicians like Katatonia, Steven Wilson (whose bassist is WAY too cool for school), and Opeth? You know we were there.
We're probably going to see Device, and we're totally going to Q-Ruption. What? It's like three whole months away! Who's to say something insane won't happen in the next three months, like an alien invasion in which all the bad ass bands in the world are zombified, and the only replacements the planners can find are, like, New Kids on the Block, The Jonas Brothers, and Garth Brooks. It could happen! Just last year, Redlight King left the tour for an international gig, and my bragging rights for seeing them live twice in one year were dashed upon the Jägermeister stage! It would be a travesty to have that happen to me two summers in a row, right?
Have you ever noticed that some people have no concept of standing-room-only etiquette? That's where I come in. Tuck in your shirt, pull up a chair, and get ready to learn.
You definitely should do these things if you want to alienate every person at the rock show. Definitely. (P.S. These are all things we encountered at the Opeth show. Srsly. I have lost all hope for rock & roll humanity.)
1 – Be the tallest person in the room and the tallest person in the second row at the same time! I think I've mentioned before that these places should start admitting shows like they do school pictures.
Remember when you were in second grade, and Ms. Bukowski was all, “Okay, class, line up from tallest to shortest for our class picture so everyone's smile will shine into the camera!” and then she'd spend twenty minutes switching little Bobby Smith and Peggy Sue Barnaby back and forth trying to decide if Bobby's cowlick counted? Bouncers should totally do that. Because I'm of average height for a woman (whatever that means) and no matter where I stand in the room, or who's playing on the stage, I always end up squashed in the middle of a wall of mountainous men, unable to see anything but the top of the lead singer's head and three of the bassist's fingers.
Apparently, we grow 'em tall in Upstate. Who knew?
2 – Be the second tallest person in the room complaining loudly to your friends about the tall guy in the second row while standing in front of a short chick. M and I tend to find a place where I can see everything, provided no one pushes in front of me, and without fail, some dick a full head and shoulders taller than me shoves his way in front of me and starts complaining about the guy in the second row blocking the lead singer's head.
Dude, that's so not cool I feel worse for you than I do for me. Don't be that guy. Seriously. There's not a person around you who isn't thinking, “Welcome to the party, Mr. Oblivious. Do you even know who's on stage?” Including your friends.
3 – Eat Mexican food before you leave. I know it sounds like a good idea. I mean, what goes better with booze and rock & roll than tacos? Plus, it's fast, even if you're whipping it up in your own kitchen rather than be-bopping down to the Taco Bell. But every person in that crowd will be grateful you went with something less strenuous on your bowels, man. I PROMISE YOU.
4 – Forget to wear deodorant...or just plain don't. Okay, so some people don't wear deodorant for religious reasons, or because of the aluminum in it, or because they just don't like it. I am begging you, on my knees, when you go to a rock show, make an exception and pray for forgiveness. Or don't raise your arms for all of Q-Ruption, and avoid me like the plague.
5 – Wear dirty clothes. Maybe you can't smell the cat pee on your shirt, but we sure can. And no, no one thinks that someone just sparked a doobie. We all know the difference between cat pee and “the West Coast Tour”.
6 – Say “the West Coast Tour” when you mean marijuana. Way to show the whole room you think you're smarter than them. Everyone now knows, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are a total asshat. Just because the guy standing beside you chooses to show up in gym shorts and an ironic t-shirt, and not your adorbs hipster garb, doesn't mean he's never heard of the wacky weed before. Did you like rock & roll before rock & roll was cool? You pretentious bastard.
7 – Brag about your sick drumming skillz, yo, while bagging on the roadie testing the drums. Idiot, you do realize that a lot of roadies play an instrument, right? Just because he's not banging out some rockin' drum solo at sound check doesn't mean he's not a kickass drummer. Not everyone wants to be famous.
And let's face it. Even if you are better at the drums than him, that roadie will always be cooler than you because he gets to hang out with the band when they're just futzing around.
Plus, I bet he's less of a douche.
There are all sorts of other things you could do to alienate the entire crowd. I'm looking at you, snooty chick calling all the strangers around you “bitches”, loser in the third row yelling a conversation through the whole show, line cutter at the bar, and beer fart guy. Maybe at Q-Ruption, if you see the only New Yorker in a New Mexico hat headed your way, you could at least pretend you care about your fellow rocker? No? Well, it was worth a shot.