My fellow concertgoers, it is time to shape up.
It would seem that the etiquette of those attending live music shows around here has fallen to new lows. When the teeming, seething masses at Hipster Mecca (better known as Lollapalooza, Chicago’s obscenely large summer music festival) are more considerate and fairer-smelling than the attendees at the West End Cultural Centre, it is time to admit that we have a problem.
Fortunately, if we follow these seven simple rules, we Winnipeggers can regain reputable status as a city that (politely) enjoys good music.
1. Respect short people
Some people are born with the natural ability to reach high cupboards, and some are not. However, this does not mean that anyone over the height of 5’10” should find the shortest person in the crowd and stand directly in front of them. Please, let at least one smaller person stand in front of you. Your view will still be just as good, and you’ll have the added benefit of not being loathed.
2. Don’t take videos
Does anyone actually watch the grainy, hand-shot videos of live concerts with ear-mangling sound quality? No. If you force your “friends” (Facebook or otherwise) to see these, they secretly hate you for it. Meanwhile, everyone behind you watches only your waving camera as it obscures the entire stage, marking you as someone so stupefied by technology that they are no longer capable of making memories.
3. Don’t text
Not only does this annoy everyone around you, it is likely your friend does not care that “OMG this is the best song evrrrr.” Additionally, texting in a mosh pit could be hazardous to your health. While in your moronic and oblivious state, you could be kicked in the head by a crowd surfer. That crowd surfer may have been the lead singer, but you’ll never notice.
4. Don’t drink too much
If you wish to ingest alcohol until you can’t stand up, there are plenty of places to do this; go to a bad country music bar or a friend’s parents’ basement. What is the point of paying $40 for a ticket when you won’t remember the show? Additionally, after you’ve spilled beer on her, knocked her over and possibly thrown up at her feet, that cute girl in the band t-shirt will not leave with you.
You love this band, right? So if you’re on the floor, dance! There must be nothing more depressing for an artist than looking out onto a sea of emotionless, still faces. If you prefer to enjoy your music in a semi-comatose state, you can do that from the seats or, better yet, at home.
6. Stop complaining
If you like to complain about how hot and cramped it is on the floor, leave. There are plenty of less irritating and more deserving concertgoers who will happily take your place. Go find seats to plunk yourself down in where the rest of the crowd isn’t forced to listen to your lack of self-restraint.
7. Be there for the music
Remember that you are at this show because you love the band and want to appreciate their talent and energy live. You are not there to show off how loud you can talk or to punch the person next to you in the face.
If you don’t particularly like the band, don’t go. If you do, let yourself be immersed in only the music, and share this incredible experience with hundreds or thousands of like-minded people. Live shows can be some of the best moments of your life, and are always better if you don’t go home on a stretcher.
Alana Westwood is an evening-and-weekends philosopher who will hate you for any of these infractions, especially if committed at the Tegan and Sara show last April. You know who you are.
Published in Volume 65, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 2, 2010)