You get your freak on, boys and girls. In light of Tufts’s annual Cage Rage blowout, I’ve been thinking about the concerts I’ve attended in my days. I think I’m pretty familiar with that weird sweat/peculiar scent status that can be found at every musical performance. But from grandiose arena shows to sketchy dive bars (RIP Peabody’s in Cleveland and its numerous toilets but mysterious lack of stalls), general motifs and habits recur throughout each scenario. That’s right, from Bjork to Beastie Boys, Nelly to Nickleback (yikes), Madonna to MC Hammer, each venue will have concert faux pas perpetrators. So take these few admonishments, and it’ll be smooth sailing at your next concert. Unless it’s Nickleback. Or Creed. All hope is lost there, so go wild.
First off, phone usage. Many major artists, such as The Eagles and Prince, have created policies against cell phone usage at concerts in efforts to displace the negative effects of modern technology and new cultural norms. Basically, the idea is that if you’re recording or taking pictures at a performance, the experience and purity of the artist’s work is ruined. And I completely agree. A few snapshots, maybe even a 30 second video, are the limit. Anything past this threshold completely jeopardizes the ability of experiencing a concert in the intended style and atmosphere. But most importantly, cell phones are huge aggravators to anyone else behind you trying to enjoy the show. One time, someone in front of me pulled out an iPad during the middle of a concert and recorded a third of the set with it. So put down your tablet-sized phones and watch the show through your eyes, not through a screen.
In a similar realm as the phone recorders are poster-bearers. Everyone knows that you love the artist if you are at the concert. But if a tri-fold is brought up during the third song of the set, you’re doing it wrong. There’s a very, very low chance that the performer will be able to read whatever you wrote to him, but the probability of the people behind you being very angry is EXTREMELY high. If you want the artist you’re watching to get a message, tweet at her. Send a zealous letter. Locate his house and throw a rock with a note through a window. Whatever you need to do. Just leave the posters at home.
Next are the hardcore viewers. Getting into the music at a concert is great, and generally is what musicians hope for. But there’s a cap to be respected. I’ll use an anecdote from one of my friends to expound upon this notion. The Orwells, a rock band from Illinois, were performing in our hometown. This band, like many others, has attained a solid groupie following. The organizers kicked my friend in an unfortunate occurrence involving the group’s leader, honey and on-stage vomiting. Another kid broke his kneecap in a similar occurrence. Getting rowdy at a show does not imply unnecessary injury toward others. Also, it seems like everyone is trying to mosh or crowd surf at every concert now. Nine times out of 10, you look like a douche. Especially if it’s at an Ariana Grande concert.
A last group of perpetrators are the concert-lovers. The heat of the moment, natural attraction, adrenaline — whatever. Some PDA is acceptable, but if I can only see the artist on stage through tongue, something’s wrong. Plus, you’re just asking to break a tooth if the show is packed. Drunk teenage girls are likely responsible for keeping dentists in business from concert-related injuries. So go ahead and smooch at concerts if you want, but please have your insurance card ready.
Keep it classy,