FT5: Show Pas
First, let me assure you that the plural of faux pas is indeed faux pas; it’s just like the word deer. Now, there has been a lot of recent discussion around the ATH camp about proper rock show etiquette, so after careful deliberation, I opted to lay out my Top Five Faux Pas; these are the things you shouldn’t be doing when you attend a rock show, or really any social event where a stage is involved. If you find that you commit these atrocities while in attendance at a rock show, you should definitely consider reevaluating your behavior; this is for the benefit of everyone I assure you.
Hello there, my name is Mr. Tall, but most of my friends just call me Captain Vertical. I’m sorry, am I standing in your way? I really like this band, and I came to the show early so I could get a good spot. Yeah, I can see from all the way in the back of the bar, but I really want to plant my boat-sized feet right here in front of you, therefore blocking your vision of the band, you too, adore. Sorry short people, but I’m not going to move to the back where it would be most appropriate for me to view the show. I’m going to get as close to the stage as possible with my freakishly large body and piss off every single person that happens to be hindered by my height, which is all of you hobbits.
The show is about ten minutes under way, and the headlining act is just starting to tear it up. By this time the entire crowd is jam packed with people, and we’re all enjoying ourselves quite a bit. Just as you are about to cheer on your favorite band, you feel a hand on your hip, pushing you aside, then an unwanted elbow. At first you are shocked at the audacity of this person shoving their way to the front of the stage, but then they reach back their hand, and suddenly it’s a throng of people, usually under-aged trying to get as close as they can to the front of the stage. The problem is, they can’t make it to the front because the show is full, so they happen to stop right in front of you, probably standing on your feet–and since they obviously have no respect for show etiquette, you can bet they chatter like squirrels for the entirety of the set.
Sure, you want to capture that perfect moment of the show with your brand new camera phone, I get it. I actually don’t mind you holding up your camera for a brief moment to capture the show; if I weren’t a cheap skate and had a camera phone I would do the same. But, then there are those folks who hold up their phones to record the hit for their friends. First, you do realize that the sound quality sucks right? So they probably can’t even tell what song it is, and they are now annoyed too. Second, your friend didn’t come to the show, so odds are they didn’t care enough to hear the band play that song live, and if they did, they could use the Internet to find a recording of that song, so get your phone out of my face and just watch the show already.
There are easily two sides to this topic: you can either be a fan of enthusiasm or you can be anti-enthusiasm. Personally, I find myself sitting exactly in the middle of this issue. I will sing along, under my breath so as not to ruin the show for you, and move from side to side, which means I am not one of those crossed-arm anti-participation folks who refuse to enjoy a band despite their best interests. Still, I’m also not willing to jump around and scream and shout so that you can’t hear the band that you love because all you hear is my deep man voice singing off-key in your ear; and while I sing, I really like to jump up and down which probably blocks the show for those people behind me, but that doesn’t matter because I spilled my beer all over them. Wait, where is my beer? Oh, that’s right, it’s all over the strangers standing next to me.
Now that text messaging and G-Chat have successfully rendered us a population with the inability to communicate with other human beings, we should look at how this carries over to the rock world. You are a show talker, be it with a group of friends or on your cell phone. You know these people, and odds are, you might be one of these people; I abhor these people. You came to the show, paid your money, or got in for free, and you decided that your conversation on AIM was not yet complete, so you chose to stand in the middle of the crowd during the set by one of my favorite bands and carry on said conversation. I shoot you looks of disgust, but it does nothing to hinder your conversation; you are oblivious to the fact that we are trying to enjoy a show around you without being subjected to the various reasons your parents are cutting you off because they think you are wasting all of your money, when in fact you are spending it on your perfectly reasonable cocaine habit. Just shut up or go home; I want to watch this show.
I would be an ass if I didn’t fess up to one or more of these at some point, but most of those were during my young rock show years. Where do you fit in with regards to rock show etiquette? Did we leave something out that really annoys you? Let us know, and we promise we’ll be more understanding.