Seeing a great live band play at a smaller venue where the crowd isn’t bigger than a few hundred and at times smaller then ten is a special and intimate experience. A smaller venue calls for a smaller sound and an even smaller audience. I can’t say if a small show or a large concert is a better experience—they’re just different—but there is definitely something noteworthy about intimacy. One thing an intimate setting is great for is connecting with both the music being played for you and the people around you; some of the most amazing people now in my life were strangers I once stood next to or danced with. Of course, like with anywhere else, there are always plenty of not-so-great people amongst the crowd and live music has the capacity to bring out bad behaviors in even the most polite of us. Because we have etiquette rules and guidelines for watching a play and eating dinner, I thought some pertaining to live music was necessary. So here it is, the Do’s and Don’ts of going to shows as perceived by a very little audience member and a very big live music lover.
1. If you are tall, DON’T stand at the very front. There is probably some one small behind you who would rather look at the band than your sweaty back. DO think about letting the shorter people stand in front of you, you’ll be doing them a huge favor and maybe gain a few points of good Karma. Wins all around.
2. DON’T assume that you can stand in front of whomever you please just because you are short. Height (or a slight lack there of) is not a reason entitling you to any special treatment.
3. DO applaud, cheer and sing along but DON’T scream. The band has adjusted their volume to fit the venue and so should you.
4. DO reconsider the choice to record the whole show on your smart phone. As nice as it is to have something in which to remember it by, your real memory will be more vivid if you watch it through your eyes and not your screen. (It’s also harder to dance with a phone in your hand.)
5. One of the worst things you can do at a play or a lecture is text and fiddle with your phone. Not only is it rude and distracting for those around you but it is incredibly insulting to the person(s) on stage. DO remember that rock stars have feelings, too.
6. DON’T spill your drink on people. It can be hard not to sometimes—believe me, I know—but this is one of those situations where we all win if your beer only leaves its home in the cup to visit your mouth.
7. DO wear deodorant and DON’T substitute it with perfume or cologne. Tight crowds and spastic dance moves will only result in sweat. Neither Chanel N 5 nor Axe have ever mixed well with body odor.
8. If you like what you hear then DO buy an album after the show. Apple takes a cut of the profit off iTunes sales so it’s better to buy from the artists directly. It’s hard to make a living as a musician if you aren’t Miley or Bey (praise her majesty) and chances are the faces behind the smaller names are counting on your support to feed their dogs and themselves.
9. DO buy your tickets ahead of time and DON’T assume you can buy them at the door on a last minute whim.
10. DON’T push and shove your way to the front.
11. Actually, DON’T push and shove at all.
12. If you need to go out for a smoke break DO go in between sets and DON’T go during. This is more for your own good then anyone else’s.
13. DO have fun and let loose a little. Some dancing won’t kill you. Positivity and negativity are equally contagious.
14. DON’T let your rough morning, tomorrow’s to-do list, or the miserable looking tall guy who shoved his way in front only to pout and play Angry Birds ruin the experience for you. You are the master of your own mood, so they say.
15. DO be friendly with the people around you for no other reason than that you already know they have great taste in music. People with similar musical interests make for better friends.