The time has come my friends. The last of summer’s sweaty days…back to school. The air is cooling down, the musty fragrance of decaying leaves is on the breeze: it’s autumn tour time. The most wonderful time of the year. Lalala.
It happens every early August. I ramble to a friend “wow, it’s been so long since I’ve been to a gig” or something similar and, like clockwork, a few days later I see my first autumnal tour poster. It’s quite comforting. There are few things I can bank on these days, though late August through late October I can be sure that there will be some live music in my life.
Right. So I made my first jaunt to the ticket vendor a few weeks ago and snatched up a handful of tasty ins, the first of which happened this week, Of Montreal. I must say that they were phenomenally amazing live; it was my first time seeing them. I had always assumed that while their records are fantastic, a live show might be on the theatrical and silly side. I suppose because, lyrically, Barnes is all over the damn place. Not the case. Spangles and eye makeup aside, it was the antithesis of dramatic, super tight and perfect. I also purchased the best piece of band swag ever created in the history of space and time, or in my 25 years of show going at least. But I digress.
Live performances. I’ve been to, well, a lot of them, some good, some not so good, mostly dependent upon my company, both strangers and acquaintances alike. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times. RULES. Rules, people. Check yourself and respect the personal space of your fellow (wo)man for crying out loud. The way I see it, if everyone, or even, like, 85% of patrons followed my simple Gig Primer (based on years of scientific research I might add), shows would be a much lovelier experience for all involved. Hearts and bluebirds. Rainbows and unicorns. At any rate, it bears repeating. And remember, band and human names have been omitted to protect the not so innocent:
1. Do not bring your own beverage into a venue, especially in a baby food jar. It’s looks gross and is terribly unsanitary. Bartenders have to eat. Do your job. Buy good whiskey (or Coca Cola) at the bar and don’t forget to tip.
2. If you decide to take your significant other with you despite his or her disinterest in, well, everything, at least school them on apropos behavior. Music doesn’t automatically mean “DANCE!” Sometimes it is just for listening.
3. When dancing, watch the elbows. Nothing ruins someone’s good time like a flailing arm to the earhole.
4. At festivals, select a designated meeting point for gathering afterward. Don’t forget where it is. Write that shit down. Respect your driver and be prompt. She might tire of waiting for your sweaty, gin-soaked self and leave you behind.
5. If you’re in a band, play your most recent, smashing hit first. This satisfies your new and old listeners. Not everyone wants to hear your back catalogue, plus it thins the crowd for your hardcore fans.
6. Eat beforehand and don’t consume too much wine at the venue. You might forget parts of the best show of your life. Remember, you have to navigate home and public transport has dangerous things like escalators and people who like to get stabby on late night travelers, particularly drunk ones with tinnitus.
7. If you are a musician, keep the onstage drink within a reasonable limit. Nobody in your audience wants to watch you fall or forget your lyrics. It’s embarrassing. Save the mind-erasing, heavy drink for immediately after the gig so fans are able to convince you that you know who they are and you invite them backstage to hang out with your more talented bandmates.
8. Don’t buy a tshirt at the merch table before the band performs, go to the toilet and put it on immediately. Everyone knows you like the band; you’re at the venue to see them. Moreover, don’t put it on over your denim jacket. That just looks stupid.
9. Talk to other ticket holders in line and inside the venue. You have a lot in common even if you don’t know one another. You just might meet your new most favorite person in the whole wide world.
[Abby's Road is a Knox Road feature published every other Friday.]