Indie Shows: A User’s Manual

So last weekend I went to two pretty low-key, awesome live shows. Friday night I saw Starfucker/STRFKR, and Saturday night I saw YACHT/Y△CHT. Arguably, the fact that there are multiple ways to refer to each band is enough to classify them as “indie”—but that’s actually not what I want to discuss. There’s a larger problem at hand here.

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Too many people attending these shows are doing it all wrong.

To me, the formula for one of these nights is simple:

1.     Gather in a living room. Doesn’t matter whose it is. Just gather there.
2.     Plug a phone/iPod/laptop into the speakers and open Spotify.
3.     Start a shuffle playlist for the band you’re about to see.
4.     Throw back some drinks and talk to your bros/girls/significant other about how sick the show will be. Possibly one of you has cried at a past show of theirs. Yell obscenities at this person when he/she mentions it.
5.     Roll a few spliffs containing weed your friend with a club card bought for you (this friend is completely in parallel with your friend that had a fake ID in college). Continue talking about how great the show is likely to be.
6.     Encourage everyone to finish their drinks, take a piss, and get ready to catch the next bus to the venue, knowing full and well that you’re probably not going to get on that bus, or the next one. Plan accordingly.
7.     Convince one of your party that bringing a mixed drink on the bus is crucial (or allow yourself to be convinced of this fact by another). Fill an old water bottle with 49% vodka, 49% flat 7up, and 2% premature regret right before you walk out the door.
8.     Be obnoxious on the bus, but only to a certain degree. People should know you’re about to have a great fucking time, but if you’re drunk to the point of confrontation, you’ve already gone way too far.
9.     When you get to the venue, chat with the people standing in line next to you. Subject material should range from how stoked you are for the show to how long you’ve been waiting to see this band live.
10. Walk into the venue 10-15 minutes before the end of the opening band’s set. They might be good, and you listened to them a bunch in anticipation of tonight, but when it really comes down to it, you don’t care about them.
11. Tell your girlfriend it’s okay to go to the bathroom right when they finish their set, and get inwardly outraged when it takes her 20 minutes to come back.
12. When she’s back, make your push forward to lock down a good spot. Get as close as possible, but don’t get frustrated when you’re not front and center. It’s not a big deal. You’re still going to be ten feet away from that band you’ve always wanted to see.
13. Finally. They’re on stage. Enjoy this moment—you’re about to enjoy the shit out of the next hour and a half (give or take).
14. It’s a couple songs into the set. Here’s the juncture where you decide if you’re the 25% that does this right, or the 75% that has an average night. DANCE. When you’re in a dark room and live music is being played directly at you, don’t just stand there like an asshole. Especially for a low-profile, high-energy indie show—it’s undoubtedly great music that’s even better live, and you’re pissing everyone else off when you’re standing still, not even swaying. If you’re going to be a bore, go sit in the fucking nosebleeds. Don’t ruin the crowd mentality.
15. You have license to take one 10-15 second video and one picture. Nothing more. 10-15 seconds is just enough to catch the drop and ensuing madness of your favorite song, and one picture is all you need to post online. Seriously though: wanting evidence that you were there is fine, but don’t watch the whole show through your phone. It’s a waste.
16. Scream for the encore. Doesn’t matter if you feel self-conscious about it. Obviously you want to hear more, so do your part to make it happen.
17. If Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” is playing as the masses file out, it’s worth it to try to get everyone to dance their way out the doors.  It probably won’t work, but you’ll be too high off the great show to care.
18. Now you have a couple of options: go out, go get food, go home, or all three. Can’t really go wrong no matter what you choose, honestly.
19. Pray that you get your hearing back by tomorrow, and go to sleep.
20. Run it back the next night.

Really the biggest takeaway here is to enjoy yourself. Somehow, I don’t think going to an electro/alternative concert and standing completely still screams enjoyment. If you’re going to a show, you need to accept crowd mentality. There’s an etiquette to this sort of thing. Don’t fuck with it.

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