OK friends and fans, it’s time for a little etiquette lesson. I’ll call it “Going to a Show: 101.” Beware, this blog entry is served with a large side order of sarcasm…
After touring with FE for over 4 years now, I (Russ) have noticed some quirky little patterns in the types of people we see on the road. And although the people who display said patterns have nothing but the best intentions, it’s time we call you out on the carpet and beg you to stop. I admit that we all do things from time to time that we think are cool or funny that are not. Believe me, I’m a pro. It’s at these moments that we need a friend who is willing to step in as the voice of reason and spare us the humiliation of embarrassing ourselves. I am that friend to you right now. I’m telling you these things for your own good and for the good of all the other bands you will ever go see: “Don’t be ‘that guy’.” What guy? One of these guys…
THE DRIVE-BY DANCER
Almost everytime we play a venue that is situated so that one has to walk by or near the stage in order to get to the bathroom, bar or exit, the drive-by dancer is the guy who feels the need to shimmy across the dance floor as if to say, “I heard your music, and I wasn’t dancing over there, but I’m gonna dance for 10 seconds or so on my to the restroom to let you know that you rock.” We don’t know if he is being funny or cool, but this we do know: The Drive-by Dancer is usually a very poor dancer.
THE BIRTHDAY BOY
There’s always somebody that wants us to wish some total stranger a happy birthday from the stage. It’s usually a 21st birthday. I’m gonna let you in on a little music industry secret: 0% of bands like to do that. Even more annoying than that is when the actual Birthday Boy (not his friends) asks you to wish him a happy birthday from stage. Look, it’s not that we don’t care about you. We do. We just don’t care that it’s your birthday.
THE COMPLIMENTARY MUSIC SNOB
I could never count the amount of times I’ve heard things like, “Man, you guys are really good, and that means a lot coming from me because I never compliment anybody,” or, “I’m a pretty big music snob and I never by cd’s unless a band really impresses me, but I bought your CD tonight, so you should take that as a huge compliment.” We know what you are trying to say and that you’re being sincere, and for that, we truly are grateful. We are honored, humbled and complimented any time someone likes our music and/or show. But we don’t know you, and so all the extra “I’m a really hard-core music critic” stuff doesn’t impress us as much as you think it does. You’re not freakin’ Barry Gordy, so just tell us that you liked it, we’ll say “thank you” and hang out and chat some more. Sorry if we don’t react like a 16 year old girl who just heard Simon Cowell say that he really liked her audition.
THE LIP-SYNC CON-ARTIST
There’s always that one drunk girl who’s never heard our music before but insists on trying to sing along. Look, we appreciate you’re enthusiasm… but you don’t know the words! Just relax and listen to the music and you might actually pick up on what we’re singing. We promise we’ll come back to the chorus and you can sing along.
THE GEAR GAZER
Next is the dude who comes up and stands right in front of the stage while we’re playing and surveys all of our musical equipment. He wants to know what we play, where we got it, and how much we paid for it and he wants to know right now. Dude, we love talking about music and all that. Come up to us after the show and we’re happy to chat all night about guitar pedals, keyboard samples, amps, bass strings and drum sticks. But please don’t pace in front of the stage leaning over the monitors and staring at our junk all night. It’s creepy.
OTHER HELPFUL TIPS
Don’t get wasted: drunk people are annoying at shows. And don’t leave your beer bottles on the merch table. Ladies, it’s never cute or sexy when you do that squatting-down-to-the-floor dance move. Besides, you always get stuck down there or lose your balance and end up looking clumsy. Lastly, it’s never funny to shout “Free Bird” at a show. Ever.
OK. Glad we had this little chat. We love that you are music fans and love to go to shows, so I hope this will help make your show-going experience all the more rewarding. Seriously, this was all in fun, but I do hope it brings you into our world a little more… we often have people ask us what kinds of “interesting” people we meet on the road. So yeah… there you have it.