Nearly anybody would agree that a concert is one of the funnest and most exciting forms of entertainment that exists. Amazing performers with engineered sound and lights doing songs you’ve never heard quite like that before put concert-going near the apex on the Good Times scale. However, there are ways you can f*ck it all up for yourself and make a good time turn bad. If you’re interested in having a bad time or ruining your friend’s night, please read on.
Sit in the stands
This is the number one way to have a shitty time at a concert. The only seats close enough to see the stage are way off to the side where the mix is as poor as a metalhead with a third job. There’s no movement of people so it’s really hard to bump into some doobage. The universal expression of badassery, headbanging, is barely even possible in the stands. If you try, you’ll look like a douche anyway. You’ll probably be sitting behind some kids who’s dad is losing his shit everytime you say cool words like shit, f*ck, asshat, and faggotous, and you won’t be paying attention to the show every time he turns around to give you a dirty look. So unless you’re a true pimp who brings the gold binoculars on a stick Shakespeare style you’re going to have a concert experience akin to watching someone’s car TV from three lanes over during rush hour.
Remember, there are no good seats at a concert. Get out on the floor.
Don’t wear ear plugs
Even with all the technology we have today, in some ways it’s still 1960. Some artists use pre-recorded tracks and samples and even lip-sync their entire show to get good sound at a comfortable level. The kind of music we like, however, throws all that shit to the wind and brings as many amplifiers and speaker cabinets, and drums, and cymbals as can fit into every vehicle available and put microphones up to all of it and turn it all up, as they say, to eleven. Eleven. I can hear you actually saying it aloud right now with that British inflection. Like a badass. The point I’m trying to make is that with all that cool shit cranked up so loud that you can feel each note in the guitar solo scrambling your brain, it wreaks havoc on your ears and can ruin every conversation you try have for the next two days. Not to mention, some sound guys (and musicians too) have no idea what a smooth mix sounds like and they’ll pin too much treble into the guitars or vocals which make each word with an “s” sound like a herd of pubescent wooly mammoths shitting icepicks directly into your ears. Or worse.
Ear plugs can save you from a world of shit, and actually help you hear all the bass solos better. Save your ears, bro.
Drink too much
We all know that opening acts are just there to warm up the crowd and make the headliners look and sound comparatively better. Very rarely are they even entertaining, let alone good. We also know how to best make use of this time before the good stuff starts happening on stage. We drink. We do shots. We schmooze the barmistresses that they might remember our choice of poison. They keep them coming when we can barely form the proper utterance for more Jager. This, gentlemen, is a noble pursuit. It, though, should be pants-shittingly obvious that there is a line that one should not cross. Getting slobbering drunk and out of hand can lead to missing the final act(s) for a number of reasons. You may just be too drunk to remember any of the songs they played. You may gag slightly on your twelfth wine cooler and throw up in front of the bar, getting your ass handily removed from the venue and the company of your friends or ride home. Perhaps that greasy hot dog mess you washed down with Kokanee Gold two hours ago wasn’t sitting right when you noticed an ass zit worthy of its own zip code on the filthy hippy who just sac-mooned the stage. I’ll let you come up with your own epilogue to that story, but I can’t imagine any happy endings when you have to choose which gastric ejection to save for the bathroom. How embarrassing.
It can easily go the other way if you’re not on top of your shit…
Drink too little
So you wised up after your friend picked your half naked ass up off the ladies bathroom floor and whisked you away to a cab waiting out front. He told you how he actually got your shit on his shoes, how he left your puke filled bandana on the back of a toilet, and how you said “I love you, man” at least twenty times before he dragged you into the loo at your house and left you a towel for a blanket and a pizza box in case you miss the toilet again. You don’t feel too hot the next evening when you finally wake up with your head stuck between the bowl and the wall and vow to “never drink again”.
You’ve waited to see these guys ever since your vigilant friend introduced you to some new brutal shit you didn’t think could even exist. Perfect view of the stage, sound is great, and you just walked back from the bar with your fourth lemon water. You should be having fun but you can’t bring yourself to care about the sixth extended solo the guitarist took, and the guido in the fake Armani just stepped on your foot again. You have no idea how much longer the droning guitar and snare loop can go on without changing, you’re annoyed by everyone you see, and you wish the concert was over so you can go home and watch House re-runs.
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Have a few drinks, loosen up, and enjoy the show.
Have a bubble
Happy Endings Ice Cream Parlour might be the only place this side of Thailand you didn’t mind nine anonymous… strangers swarming your personal space with reckless abandon, but you paid $300 for that Rocky Road Sundae Swirl because you knew what you were getting into and you had a safe word. You have to expect, though, that you’re going to make a lot of contact with a lot of people and, especially at larger events, the crowd can move a big distance very quickly leaving you with nowhere to go. Just try to stay on your feet and don’t bitch if somebody slams into you and you spill your drink on your junk. Every metalhead knows too that if you see someone go down, haul them back up as quick as you can lest their dental work becomes the bloodied adornment for the buckle on a set of stilettos. Understandably, nobody likes getting hair whipped by a 300 lb sweat factory that just got out of the mosh pit and missed his mouth with that last pint of Canadian. It’s much worse if you have a fit every time someone touches you and you’ll be in a bad mood for the final act.
Having said all that, if someone elbows you more than twice trying to get in front of you at the rail, bust his lip.
There you go. I know there are hundreds of other ways to turn your night into a nightmare, but I’ll leave it for your stories in the comments. Avoid these mistakes and you’re well on your way to screaming with carefree teenage delight at your next metal show. You’ve come by it rightly, my friends. See you in the pit.