Concert Etiquette For Dummies: Don't Be A Douche

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Brittanie Shey
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Walter's on Washington, April 2

The following scenario has happened to Rocks Off three times in the past two months: There we are, waiting patiently in line to get into a crowded general-admission concert. When we finally get in, we make our way to the middle of the crowd, or sometimes to the corner of the stage (depending on the venue) so as to have the best view of the band. Now, this writer will admit she's taller than most girls, but she's no Yao Ming, and she also isn't trying to be an asshole. Rocks Off is respectful of people's space, and we don't always want to be right in front of the stage.

So it always dismays us when someone says, like they did at the Black Joe Lewis concert earlier this month, "EXCUSE ME. I have been waiting here for half an hour. Go find somewhere else to stand." Or like the guy at the Ray Davies La Zona Rosa show at SXSW who waved his $400 badge in our face, then spun around with his elbows out whirling dervish-style to make a one-foot force field around himself. There's no such thing as a buffer zone at a sold-out show, and no one in their right mind would get to a movie theater 30 minutes early, sit down in a middle row, then complain when someone comes in right before the trailers and sits down in front of them.

But maybe we're wrong. Maybe we really are the asshole in this situation. We're willing to be convinced either way.

Then we read that Van Morrison was coming to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Saturday. Any time we think of Morrison, we think of that early-'90s Saturday Night Live skit where a couple at a Van Morrison concert keeps getting angry with the people in front of them who insist on standing and dancing for every song, blocking the couple's view. The whole affair has got us thinking about concert etiquette, about what's okay to do at a show and what's not. Heck, there's even a Wikipedia article on the subject.

So Rocks Off polled some of our music-loving friends for the most annoying concert-going behavior, and our top six peeves are listed below. Is there something that annoys you? Or can you overlook any kind of jackassery in the company of a kick-ass band? Leave your comments below.

Improper Use of Electronic Devices

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Occasionally Rocks Off will forget our notebook, so we'll make use of the handy Notes app on the iPhone and email the file to ourselves later. But each time we pull out the phone to type the name of a song or some funny onstage quote, we feel a pang of guilt. Because it annoys the hell out of us to see someone at a show texting their friends, or carrying on a concert-long commentary on Twitter. Here's an idea... Pay attention to the band. You know, the one onstage.

But our grievances don't just extend to texting. If you bring your Flip camera and hold it over your head for 45 minutes so you can post some shitty-audio concert video on YouTube, you're blocking someone's view with your big fat fists. And there's a reason why flash is prohibited at most shows - it's blinding in the darkness of a place like Walter's, and distracting to the band in a venue like Jones Hall.

Groupies

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Rocks Off doesn't want to slut-shame anyone, but you, my dear, are not Pamela des Barres. You will not marry Andrew Vanwyngarden. At best, you might have an only slightly embarrassing story to write in your journal. At worst, the gift that keeps on giving. Here's one actual musician's take on girls who come to shows for the musicians and not the music:

No one's watching you rub up on each other with the cheapest beer in your hands. No one cares if you kiss. I can get faux lesbians on my cell phone in this day and age. It's desperate and sad. You want to impress me, start massaging each other's genitals. Until then, your Katy Perry-edge is blunting my view.

But let's be fair. Not all groupies are teh wimmins. At the Magic Kids/Girls show at Walter's (appropriate, no?) Rocks Off saw one dude in the crowd fawn and paw all over Kids singer Bennett Foster. And at the English Beat show at Warehouse Live, one ecstatic dude-brah was so insistent on knuckling up with Dave Wakeling after EVERY SINGLE SONG that the singer eventually had to tell him to tone it down a notch.

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