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“Imagine I’m Yelling this at You” by Herbert West: Show Behavior

March 16, 2012

Assuming you’re an adult, you should know how to behave in public. It doesn’t seem like a foreign concept to me, but five to six nights a week I watch perfectly sane people acting like complete jackasses. What’s to blame? Alcohol? The excitement of being out of their houses/apartments? That they aren’t really sane, but escaped mental patients out for a romp before the hospital finds them?

I really have no idea.

Regardless of why people find it necessary to lose their minds as soon as they walk into a live music venue, I think it’s high time you’re all
subjected to a refresher course on how to behave at a show.

When you first arrive at a venue, there are two people you are going to meet: the security guard and the ticket taker/door person. Fucking with a security guard as soon as you arrive is a great way to put a target on your forehead for the rest of the night. The easiest thing you can do is hand over your ID when they ask for it, without any smartassery.

“You don’t think I’m over 21? Look at me.”

Are you trying to say you look old? Most people would take that as an insult.

If you forget your ID, don’t argue with security about gaining entrance. It’s your fucking fault that you don’t know how to properly store your identification on your person before going to a 21+ establishment. You can’t blame the staff for your stupidity. Security isn’t going to let you in, no matter how much you beg. That would be breaking the law. You see, boys and girls, there’s this thing called the Liquor Control Board. They’ve been known to show up at venues and do surprise inspections. In some instances, they’ll card random people (or everyone) at the bar. On the ultra rare occasion that something like this could happen, if one person doesn’t have their ID, the bar you’re standing in will be shutdown. If the bar is shutdown, all the employees lose their jobs. If you think we should take the risk, then you’re a selfish prick and your parents should disown you for growing up to be such a horrible human being.

There are many things you should know about the ticket taker/door person. First, they are not your friend. They don’t want to talk to you. They don’t want to hear about how you went to high school with the bassist of (insert shitty band name here). They don’t want to answer your stupid questions about where the bathrooms are or if the drink specials are tasty or what planet you’ve dropped in from because you are unsure about how venues on Earth operate. They especially don’t want to make conversation when there’s a line of 200 other concertgoers behind you. They just want you away from them as quickly as possible.

If you have a will call ticket, have your ID ready so they can find your name on the list, stamp whatever wrist is standard at the venue you’re attending and send you on your way. Don’t approach them and say, “I have a will call ticket.” The door person has no idea what your name is because they aren’t a mind reader. Also, don’t become irritated if the door person asks to see your stamp at any point. No, they aren’t going to remember you out of the hundreds of other faces they’ve seen that night. You aren’t special.

Lastly, when dealing with a ticket taker, if you see that the show is sold out, that means it’s sold out. No, they’re not going to wait and see if
someone on will call doesn’t show up, because they’re not going to sell off someone else’s ticket. The person on will call had the forethought to buy a ticket. If you really wanted to attend the show, you should have done the same. It isn’t the door person’s fault you’re too fucking stupid to know how pre-sale operates.

Now you’re in the venue, what’s next? Being an adult, you should know your limit on how much alcohol your can consume so you won’t be so drunk that you throw up on yourself, fall down stairs or end up licking walls (I’ve seen it happen). If a bartender cuts you off, it’s for good reason. Don’t have one of your friends buy you more alcohol. If you do, you’re probably going to meet your old pal the security guard again. This time security isn’t going to want your ID. They’re going to want you to get the fuck out.
If a security guard approaches you and asks you to leave, oblige them. It’s a hell of a lot easier than having them grip you up and toss you from the building.

Something I’ve noticed a lot about shows in Seattle, is members of the audience telling others to be quiet during a band’s set. This is completely asinine. You’re at a show not in a fucking library. If someone is talking near you and you don’t appreciate it, move. Now I understand that there are certain shows where the crybaby on stage is lightly strumming his/her acoustic guitar while the crowd stands silently, arms crossed, making sure they look just as cool as every other boring stooge in the room. In these instances, that person being a loud dickhead is in the wrong. If you see everyone else shutting the fuck up, then you should probably shut the fuck up too. However, if you’re the only person shooshing a venue of hundreds of people, then you’re the asshole.

So you’ve made it through the entire show. You’ve downed just enough alcohol to have a nice buzz. You’ve seen the headliner play their expected encore where everyone in the opening bands joins in, banging on pots and pans, running around the stage like a bunch of decapitated chickens. You’ve purchased the band’s latest offering on vinyl (with download code because it’s impossible to listen to records in your car thus proving the worthlessness of this outdated medium). Now it’s time to clear out of the venue. Do everyone a favor and make your way to the exit. Chances are the staff you see working all night were at the venue for hours before you showed up and they really want to go home. If anyone on the staff asks you to exit, don’t ignore them. If you do and they are more stern about asking
you to leave, don’t get pissed off. They asked you once. They shouldn’t have to ask you again. No one at the venue cares about which guy/gal you’re fucking in whatever band, they just want you to leave so they can do the same. Do you like being at your job any longer than you have to?

What people really need to understand about going to shows is that the ticket you bought doesn’t mean the venue is your home. The venue is the home of the people who work there and keep it running on a day-to-day basis. You are a guest. Show some fucking respect.

And don’t piss on the floor in the bathroom, you idiots. That’s why there’s a fucking toilet.

If you’re a drunk asshole and want to argue with me about how you should be able to do whatever you want at a show or if you’re still mad about my column on promotion, feel free to email me and tell me all about it at: ihateherbertwest@gmail.com

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