Put Your F*cking Phones Down. A Guide to Concert Etiquette
Confession time: I hate going to concerts, although I still do it for bands I truly love and want to see live. Basically, I believe, as Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote, that hell is other people. Friends, he is not wrong. Nothing dampers enjoyment at a show more than the boneheaded selfishness of other people. So, because somedays I just want to see the world burn, I’ve put together a guide for concert etiquette. Enjoy!
Put Your F*cking Phones Down.
The number one thing I hate, loathe, despise about going to a concert in 2019 is every f*cking a-hole who thinks it’s their sworn duty to record the entirety of the concert on their phone. So naturally, they hold it high above their head (so as not to get in the way of their own view) thus having a blinding screen to distract everyone behind them.
I will be very clear here: If you do this, you are an insufferable a**hole who doesn’t deserve good things in your life. Ever.
I know people who do this. They do it to post it to their social media to show other people that they were there. I also know they basically never rewatch these videos. If you insist on being that jacka*s, then go do it by the wall where you don’t obstruct anyone else’s view. Or better yet, don’t do it. I promise you it will be ok if you don’t document every waking moment for posterity.
Look, concerts are fun and sweaty and you’re going to get a little gross if you go to one. Please plan ahead and bathe within 24 hours of going, unless there is a medical reason to not do so—believe me when I tell you everyone else can smell it if you don’t.
Don’t Hit On People Like That.
Storytime! I was at my favorite band’s concert last summer. I see them every time they come to town. I know all the words to all of their songs, which I’ll sing along to and dance because I love them a lot, and they’re really fun to see live. Some guy saw me having a grand old time and decided that I was someone he’d like to get to know. So, he took his shot like this:
“Hey, you know all the words. Good job!” and he gave me a thumbs up.
I could only respond “they’re my favorite band” and then turned around and ignored him.
Don’t be that guy. Please assume if someone has taken the time out of their schedule to go see a band, they like the band. Assume that because they’re dancing and singing along to said band that they enjoy that band. If you want to talk to them, don’t be condescending because perhaps they dress like they want to tear down a youth rec center and put a parking lot in its stead, and you don’t expect them to be at a show like that. Gatekeeping bands and music is obnoxious. Don’t do it, please. Especially at that band’s concert.
Singing Along is Fine (Except When It’s Not)
I believe you should go to a concert to have fun. That means sing, dance, and as long as you’re respectful of everyone’s space, you do you! So I’m all for singing along to your favorite songs (as long as it’s that type of concert. This obviously, clearly does not apply to a musical being performed.) The louder the concert, the more you should feel comfortable singing your little heart out; just read the room. Don’t be the only one belting it out while the singer is trying to have a quieter, more intimate moment with the audience. It takes away from everyone else’s enjoyment
If You’re Really Tall, Do You Really Need to Be in the Front?
OK, this is going to be controversial here, so context clearly matters. I was at the amazing Bikini Kill concert in LA. It was great, the crowd was pretty fun (except for the damn phone issue) but there were a few dudes, clearly 6’1+ who were toward the front of the crowd, blocking the view of the audience behind them—watching the show with their arms crossed and only sort of nodding along to the music, not visibly appearing to be as pumped as a lot of people were, to be there.
Look—here is where context comes in. If you are a super tall super fan, go elbow your way up to the front, because this experience is going to matter more to you than to basically everyone else here. Go have fun!
…but if you’re not a super fan, and you just have a preference for being closer to the stage AND you’re taller than a lot of people there?
Consider that you’re blocking the view for people who are more excited to be there than you, and plan accordingly where you position yourself. I say this with love as a 5’10 broad who knows that I block a view for a lot of women when I’m at a lady-heavy show. Practicing being considerate is awesome!
Don’t Get Too Upset When You Get Jostled
I hate moshing, like, a lot. I think it’s obnoxious and dumb because invariably it’s always knucklehead dudes who do it, taking up more space than they should. Also, it tends to spill my drink and that is never OK. That said, I try not to get too irritated when people jostle into me at a concert. My preference is to not be touched by sweaty strangers (at any given time, in fact) but I accept it’s part of going to live shows. That said, if you’re the only person dancing and knocking into people. Cut it out. It’s obnoxious.
Pro Tip: This is a bonus pro tip that I discovered in my 30s when I no longer thought it was fun to have my ears ringing days after I went to a show: you can buy disposable earplugs at the bar of basically any concert venue.
Ok, well, there you have it. I imagine you all are going to have some thoughts on this one …
Header Image Source: Getty
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