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Paying attention: Not just for the classroom

16 Oct

Today I got on Twitter, as I do every day from my phone, to check up on news, daily quips and to update the world on my own livelihood. But unlike every other day, I saw a tweet from TheBestManager that spoke to some issues I’ve personally been focusing on in the past year or two.

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The tweet, shared by Sargent House – a record label for bands such as Fang Island and Tera Melos – touches on quite a few sore subjects in the music industry.

Where do I start? There’s the obvious one – talking and taking pictures during a concert, ensuring that everyone around you is distracted from the performance. Then there are the less obvious ones – never listening to albums in full, skipping through well-written articles to get to links and videos of performances, and my favorite, the decline of magazine sales.

The truth is that the addiction to electronics and quick results has created such a big disconnect that there’s no rug large enough to sweep it under. In an age where you can do almost anything from your phone, people have forgotten how to be interesting without one.

Are we really having trouble retaining all of the information thrown at us, or have we just stopped paying attention? Do we really need to take pictures to remember a concert or prove that we were there, or have we stopped placing importance on how great the band was in exchange for likes on Instagram?

The truth is that I’m not immune to wanting to share my experiences with the world, but I’ve learned to set limits for myself. I’m writing this blog in hopes that a few of you will realize it, too. And really, it’s not hard to make the change.

Instead of snapping pictures throughout the concert, take a few during the first song. After that, stop trying too hard to get the perfect picture and focus on what you paid money for. Instead of talking to your friends in the back of the venue, actually listen to the opening acts. You’ll probably like them, and it’s a great way to find new music. When you get on the internet, don’t just start link-jumping. Read it, comment and share it with people if you like it.

To me, it’s all about making an effort to respect those around you. The music industry is a community, and you have a hell of a lot more power as a fan than you think.

Most importantly, try to minimize your dependence on technology – even if it’s only for a few hours during a concert. Or a movie. Or dinner with friends and family.

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Is Rolling Stone right about The Rolling Stones?

13 Aug

Thanks to this brilliant infographic from Paste Magazine, we can now see a breakdown of what makes a Rolling Stones song worthy of being named one of their 50 best.

But did the world’s most famous music and culture magazine get the list of their top 50 songs right? Does “Wild Horses,” one of the band’s most intimate moments in their 50-year career, deserve to be in slot #17? And is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” really their best song. Really?

If I had it my way, I’d definitely move some around, and I might make “Gimme Shelter” the #1, and take a few other top ten tracks and toss them down a few notches (if not out of the running entirely.) Oh, and “Under My Thumb” would absolutely be in the first column.

Do you think Rolling Stone got it right? And if not, what changes would you make?

 

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Is HBO’s newest comedy, Girls, racist?

12 Apr

If you have premium cable and frequent HBO, you’ve more than likely caught a commercial or two touting their newest comedy, Girls.

In short, Girls is the brain-child of writer/director/actress Lena Dunham, and follows the lives of four early twenty-somethings throughout the transitional period between college and being an adult. Yet while it’s filmed in New York City and covers topics like sex, having an identity crisis and a slew of shit jobs, it doesn’t seem to be this decade’s Sex and the City, even if that’s how HBO is looking at it.

With executive producer Judd Apatow behind the wheel of the train, Girls looks full of promise. So, why then, does it seem like the show is getting a bad wrap before it even airs?

Most critics aren’t bothered by the content, the acting or even the dialogue. What’s got everyone talking is the fact that Girls‘ main characters are all – wait for it – white girls.

As someone of mixed ethnicity (I myself am half White, half Hispanic), I’ll be honest when I say that even I didn’t notice it. And why is that, you might ask?

In the year 2012, I have grown up watching television shows that feature casts of mixed ethnicity, as I have also seen casts that revolve around an all-White family, an all-African America family and an all-Hispanic family. I’ve seen this in movies and even commercial advertising.  Hell, HBO’s recently-cancelled series Bored to Death featured a mainly white cast, and it was shot in New York City, but I never heard rumblings about “not enough minorities.” Sure, Jason Schwartzman is Jewish and comes from the Coppola blood-line, but does that make him any less white? And what about his co-stars, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danza? Are they not considered white?

So, why then, is Girls getting such backlash?

I honestly can’t answer this question. Many people are saying that it’s because they feel “under-represented,” or because, like Sarah Seltzer of The Jewish Daily Forward said in her article, “if Girls ends up being as good as the hype, then we shouldn’t be afraid to offer strong, but loving suggestions about its racial makeup.”

But do we really need to coddle the audience for them to “get” it? I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but people don’t like music, television, or art because the creator is the same shade of tan. People attach themselves to ideas, and they laugh at jokes or cry when the curtain is drawn because it moves them and they relate to it.

Maybe Girls does need a dash of color thrown in to the mix, or maybe we need to stop criticizing everything put in front of us. I’ll admit that I’m always worried to discuss the topic of race, but that’s not because I’m afraid people will gasp at my racism. In fact, I don’t know anyone that’s a bigger advocate for equality across the board, but even the most accepting position on race can be the most complex to explain.

The way I see it, claiming that there is a certain formula that must be followed in order to “properly represent” minorities is still a form of racism. Characters shouldn’t be written as an after-thought, nor should the only reason they were created was to make sure nobody was left out.

It sounds to me that Americans are still putting too much emphasis on a person’s ethnic make-up in the name of being politically correct, and if that’s the case, I’d rather not be. It’d be one thing if Dunham had stated she intentionally left minorities out and then proceeded to give a reason based on racism, but she didn’t. The truth is, minority representation isn’t (and shouldn’t be) a math equation. Additionally, Dunham isn’t racist for having four White leads, just as Tyler Perry isn’t racist for having all African-American leads on For Better or For Worse.

Nona Willis Aronowitz, Associate Editor at GOOD said it well, that “if we acknowledge that the semi-autobiographical details are what make Dunham’s work great, we shouldn’t be demanding the show to appeal to and reflect every girl.”

The truth is that, nobody really knows whether or not Hispanic or African American women (or men of any ethnicity!) will appreciate this television show, because it doesn’t even air until Sunday, April 15. So here’s my suggestion: let’s wait and see how the audience really reacts to the show before we start pointing fingers in the name of “racism.”

Until then… Congratulations, Lena Dunham. I can’t wait to see what Girls is all about.

Beyond Our Control: Why we’ll never avoid being cut by the double-edged sword of success in the music industry

26 Mar

The dust might finally be settling in Austin following its week-long occupation by SXSW-goers, but there’s still a buzz around what was seen there. And while Austin’s locals are still shaking their fists and telling us not to move there, I’m sure someone is currently roaming the “Help Wanted” ads hoping to high-tail it into the so-called Music Capitol of the World.

Nevertheless, Houston is only a stone’s throw from Austin, and our local music scene and city pride is just as strong – just without the “Keep Austin Weird” campaign featuring that eye-sore of a font.

So I wasn’t very surprised when Chris Gray, Editor of Houston Press’ music section, wrote an article reflecting on how the heart of SXSW Music has somehow become covered in Doritos cheese-flavored dust.

Now, more than ever, SXSW has become one big walking (or driving) advertisement. Nearly every surface in Downtown Austin is wrapped in saran wrap (to cut down on the time and cost of removing stickers and posters), while pretty much every official showcase is “hosted” by someone. And whether it’s Sony handing out free breath-mints and koozies, or Taco Bell hooking up with MTV, you’ll be hard-pressed to close your eyes and remember an object that wasn’t covered in ads.

And while Gray hit the nail on the head with that one, he got me thinking about how the music industry, not just SXSW, has changed in general.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to make it out to the entire festival this year, but I did get to go to the showcase that fun. played at Stubb’s on Friday night with Delta Spirit and The Drums. I saw crowds come and go for each band, but I distinctly remember getting irritated with the hundreds of people that cleared out as soon as their latest single, “We Are Young,” finished.

To some, the fickle crowd might have been caused by something many would call “selling out,” but in my eyes, it only furthered my growing resentment for those people who chew bands up and spit them out.

When “We Are Young” debuted in September 2011, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 53, but quickly became just another great song by fun. that I would appreciate alone in my car. However, the cast of Glee covered it on an episode in December, and people took notice of it – including Chevrolet, who used the track on their Superbowl commercial.

In 2008, fun. was formed by lead singer Nate Ruess due to the demise of his former band, The Format. He asked partners Jack Antonoff of Steel Train and Andrew Dost of Anathallo, two bands he’d toured with, to embark on the journey.

The group’s debut (and only other release), Aim and Ignite, featured “Walking the Dog” – which was later used in an Expedia commercial. For Ruess and Antonoff, it was the first time that a band they were part of had seen any kind of commercial success.

So while Gray might not have intentionally suggested this in his article, it got me thinking about how often the term “sellout” is thrown around by fans, critics and musicians alike. Perhaps it’s my inner-optimist, or the fact that I love to see people find success doing what they love, but I tend to avoid the word at all costs. More importantly, I would never say that a band like fun. wasn’t deserving of their single making it to #1 on the Billboard charts, no matter how it got there. Then again, I’m only one person.

So now I’m left wondering what exactly makes a band deserving or undeserving of their success. Is it simply because their music is played on the radio, or used by outside companies? Is it any group that signs a recording contract that will allow for their music to be licensed out, or is it something else entirely?

In recent years, I’ve noticed more and more indie bands being used for things like movie previews and promoting sales at Old Navy. Maybe it’s just a trend, but can we really get mad at a band if their record company requires bands to license their music in exchange for money to record their album? Or what about the fact that we’re in a recession, and indie artists might be cheaper than Top 40 artists? And have you ever stopped to consider that indie film-makers are more interested in bands from Barsuk or Saddle Creek than Warner Music Group?

The truth is that indie bands can license their catchiest tunes for years and go completely unnoticed. If you don’t believe me, you must not be a big Mates of State fan. They’ve been featured in commercials, movies and TV shows over the last ten years, yet they’re still only playing in small-to-medium sized venues.

Then there are bands like Matt & Kim. Six years ago I was telling everybody they would blow up (and getting laughed at in the process), but I won’t lie when I say that their success surprised even me when they won an MTV Woodie award for their “Lessons Learned” video in 2010. I’m just happy to admit that they’ve never changed, and I doubt they ever will.

Truth be told, they were the only reason I went to SXSW in the first place, and now I couldn’t get into their shows if I tried.

Sure, I could hang my head and mope about how I’ll never get to chance to see Matt & Kim play to 50 people the way I did in 2008, but I’d much rather see hundreds of people smiling and dancing then walking away shouting that they deserve more credit.

Music isn’t a selfish thing. And as both a journalist, fan, and rational person, I can’t find a better word to describe people that complain about “selling out” than “hypocrite.” If you like a band enough to support them, you obviously like them enough to tell people to listen to them. If you’re telling people to listen to them, you can’t really be surprised when word gets out and they’re climbing the charts and suddenly playing sold-out shows in Europe.

I stand with Gray when he openly expresses hope that bands aren’t writing songs with the intent of being featured on commercials, but in this day in age, bands are lucky to be heard at all. Sure, local music scenes will always support their own, but the truth is that attention spans have diminished to the point where listening to an album in its entirety is virtually unheard of. Instead, it’s cheaper and easier to consume one song via iTunes for .99 cents than it is to splurge for the entire album, that is, if you’re lucky enough to get people to pay for your music at all.

I’m glad that I’ve got men and women like Gray on my side who refuse to let the music industry fold to corporations looking to hawk off their latest inventions, but I will say that we need to re-evaluate how we view and value success.

The concept of being a rock-star isn’t new, but if bands are constantly waiting for daggers to be thrown at their backs every time they do something that gets even whisper of attention, what’s the point of making or listening to music? And conversely, if they’re expecting fans and critics to start name-calling at all, what’s stopping them from embracing that stigma and slapping their music to any and every ad they’re offered?

Sure, we can argue that art is made to allow the artist to express oneself, but like paintings and sculptures in museums, the best bands will find their way into the public’s eye whether they’re trying to or not. And if someone could tell me how a 30-second clip of a song is “less legitimate” than the entire track being played on a radio station, I’d love to hear it.

So here’s my advice: if you like the music someone’s making, then enjoy it, recommend it, sing and dance along to it. If you’re making music, take advice from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.

The duo, which also includes Patrick Carney, once turned down $130,000 that would have allowed for their song to be featured in a British mayonnaise commercial, and they say they’ll never turn down money again.

“That would have paid my rent for two years,” Auerbach told Spin. “It’s almost insulting to my mom, who works every day teaching kids and doesn’t get paid shit. As long as your art is pure, who cares where it is?”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

From karaoke bars to record companies: Why indie musicians won’t ever get above ground.

12 Feb

On Friday night I was casually speaking to a friend via text, when the subject shifted to the karaoke bar he was at.

After a little while, he mentioned that someone was singing “Don’t Stop Believin’,” to which I responded that it was a choice boring people make when they karaoke. Sure, it’s a classic for a reason, but when he said “Who are we to judge?” The only answer that I felt adequately expressed my annoyance of karaoke joints was that most people don’t notice how many songs are those binders. In all of those hundreds of pages, and thousands of song choices, how do people overlook classics from Ramones or Velvet Underground?

Unless of course, they’re not there.

It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps the reason why indie and punk fans stray from karaoke bars is the inability to choose songs that they like. We can choose to live in alternative cities where recycling is a choice, bikes get their own lanes and Wal-Marts don’t exist, but we can’t find a decent karaoke bar that allows the Regular (Alt) Joes to become rock stars for a song?

But what’s even worse is that women are usually getting the shit end of the stick. While I love Fiona Apple, she is one of the only women in the book that provide an alternative to Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. Did people not get the memo that (shocker!) women who don’t listen to Britney Spears can sing too?

Instead, “alternative chicks” are forced to listen to people who don’t know a thing about us chime in on who they think our new “Queen” should be. (Yes, I am talking about Lana Del Rey.) While I understand that not every artist is going to fit into a specific genre or category, I find it humorous that us opinionated women suddenly shock the nation when we don’t like an artist that has been shoved down our throats.

To anyone that’s reading this, here’s my take on this: some people might get their rocks off to Del Rey’s “style” and how she’s so “artistic,” but the truth is that it shouldtake a lot more than homemade videos capturing your own self-indulgence to land you a recording contract. Instead, the pretty girl wins again, pouting her way to the title of “Indie Queen” – a title that was never earned. In fact, the only thing Del Rey has taught us is that record companies still think they can force us into liking this singers that are less talented than the ones we choose to listen to ourselves.

Del Rey might have a great bod, but more than anything, she’s a one-trick pony whose video for “Born To Die” made much more sense when paired with the song “Video Games.” I can’t be the only person who noticed, and I’ll be damned if she makes it into karaoke books before Jenny Lewis. Then again, the Lana Del Rey’s are a dime a dozen while Lewis is a diamond in the rough.

Maybe if these executives and high-paid critics spent less time trying to find the next big thing and actually gave struggling musicians a chance, piracy and DIY-methods wouldn’t be the most talked-about subjects on music blogs. And I know you might cringe from the thought, but if more musicians were “making it”, maybe blogs could stray away from the go-to format of lists. Besides, do we really need another journalism major stuck in a cubicle writing lists that do nothing more than help us win trivia night at the bar? I didn’t think so.

RIP: Rilo Kiley (1998-2011)

14 Jul

The indie world, as a collective entity, would be undeniably foolish if we said that we didn’t see this coming. Still, Paste Magazine reported earlier today that Rilo Kiley’s looming break-up is finally official, and that’s what hurts.

After being signed to a major label and releasing their fourth album, Under The Blacklight, fans of the infamously dysfunctional band were left with a brilliant rock record that just missed it’s mark.

What it stood for to the band showed. Mirroring lead singer Jenny Lewis and guitarist Blake Sennett’s real life relationship, it was much like the trial separation of a marriage. What resulted was the brilliantly messy Blacklight – an album that has you gritting your teeth, dancing, and cutting tension with a knife all at once. Sadly, each song had it’s own shining moment of glory, but the album as a whole felt sloppy, as though it were being held together with string and duct tape. At times, it’s hard to understand cohesively, and others you’re scratching your head wondering how some of the songs made the cut. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the hell out of the album, but at times it felt as though someone gave me a puzzle where the pieces are all of different images and I can’t get the full picture on the front of the box.

Long story short, Blacklight proved that they still had the chemistry, but underneath it all, the heart of the band was gone and it left everyone wondering – were they in it for fear of change, or had they seen it as their chance to redeem and solve the band’s issues? I’m willing to bet it was both, and I’d like to think they were also ‘in it for the kids’.

An exclusive interview with Spinner, also released earlier today, Sennett was quoted giving the best explanation possible for the band’s final curtain call.

“I just felt like there was a lot of deception, disloyalty, greed and things I don’t really want to submit myself to,” said Sennett. “I had related that frustration to music but I just thought, ’I’m not going to put myself in that position again,’ so I said, ‘Fuck that, I can’t do this anymore.’”

For now, it’s hard to stomach the loss. What better way to mourn the death of one of indie’s unarguably most prominent and influential bands than making a list of their ten best songs? I can’t think of one. Don’t worry, I didn’t put ‘Does He Love You?’ on it, but if I had, it’d be at the top of the list.

10. Teenage Love Song (Initial Friend, 2nd Pressing)
9. It’s A Hit (More Adventurous)
8. Rest of My Life (Take-Offs and Landings)
7. I Never (More Adventurous)
6. My Slumbering Heart (The Execution of All Things)
5. Always (Take-Offs and Landings)
4. The Angels Hung Around (Under The Blacklight)
3. Portions for Foxes (More Adventurous)
2. Pictures of Success (Take-Offs and Landings)
1. More Adventurous (More Adventurous)

Even with this list, it’s hard to deny that their entire discography is worth acquiring and listening to. I recommend their highly successful (and probably most popular) third album, More Adventurous, as a starting point.

For now, I’m saving up for the plane ticket and entry fee it’ll cost for the reunion show. It’s unlikely, but damn if it isn’t something worth waiting for.

Give Peace A Chance: 42 years of inspiration through music

31 May

42 years ago, today, John Lennon sat in a hotel room in his pajamas and long hair alongside Yoko Ono and recorded his historic single ‘Give Peace A Chance’.

Now, the song still means just as much to those of us that simply refuse to accept that violence has to be a part of the world we live in. With the Iraq and Afghanistan wars still going on, and current uprisings in Libya, it’s hard to imagine that anybody is still thinking about the peace that John sang about all those years ago. Still, it’s the kind of song that still means just as much now as it did during Vietnam.

While not everyone is as firm a believer in peace as John and Yoko were, today I challenge you to live a little more peacefully. Hug your loved ones, smile at a stranger and help someone you don’t know just because they need it. We might not be able to end suffering today, but love and peace start with the small things. After all, WAR IS OVER! If you want it.

For Those About To Rock, I’ll Blog About You: How one magazine subscription brought me to a college degree.

20 Apr

Somewhere between 9/11 and the start of high school, I began noticing I wasn’t a traditional pre-teen girl. While my sister was idolizing Britney Spears, I was dreaming of someday being as bad-ass as Brody Dalle.

By my eighth grade year, I’d found my niche and formed at least one lasting friendship with a person who ‘got’ me. Our parents were busy arranging who would pick us up and drop us off at the concerts we went to every weekend while we were listening to our music too loud upstairs.

That was the year I saw The Jealous Sound play at Fat Cat’s. It was the year I first heard Taking Back Sunday and painted their band name on a good chunk of my ceiling. It was the year when I staked out shows next door to a doll house factory in Spring, TX and dyed my hair black for the sake of expressing my individuality.

More importantly, it was the same year that I bought The Promise Ring’s Wood/Water for $5.99 at Hot Topic, and ultimately had my official introduction with Alternative Press. I recognized Brand New on the cover and knew I had to have it. (After all, Deja Entendu was and still is genius in its own right.)

The AP I remember was a beautiful publication. Not only did it have great photographs and articles, but it gave me something I felt I could believe in. Within those pages, I didn’t feel quite so alienated. The magazine offered me a chance to speak my mind with its reader polls, it showed me new bands I’d never heard of while still giving me access to those I loved. But really, it gave me hope that there was a place, a species of people even, that felt the same floating I did when I really loved something.

Although my excitement for each issue would have me flipping through the entire thing in one sitting, I would take my time and slowly read the magazine over the span of the month. I read each issue at least three times, ensuring I didn’t miss an article or section. I saved the cover stories for last.

Flash forward four years. I was a freshman in college with a book shelf that neatly displayed my subscribed history. In fact, it might have been the only organized, neat thing in my room aside from my record collection. I had begun to outgrow the music in AP, but I still received a subscription every year. It was the longest relationship I’ve ever had with one thing, so you can imagine that letting my subscription run out was like breaking up with my high school sweetheart. However, I was on to bigger an better things.

I went from a Photography major with dreams of CCA to a Print Journalism student. I realized that I wanted the impact my life to have on others to be as strong as the impact my music has had on mine. Without many of those articles, albums, artists and journalists, I don’t know who I’d aspire to be. I don’t really remember who told me that music was the universal language, but I’ve got an army of friends, and a million song lyrics, to prove it.

But it wouldn’t be college without the mention fear for our failing economy. Throughout the past four years, I’ve watched in horror as my favorite magazines have gone from print to online publications. Dreams of interning (for money, mind you!) in Decatur, GA with the Paste Magazine team died while I was still praying to make it to New York to write for Death+Taxes before they went out of print.

Although I won’t be receiving my diploma until December of this year, I’ll keep my chin up and have one for my homies who didn’t quite make it out alive. I’m still hoping my career won’t be one big failure because I’ve got big plans.

Even so, if I can go to concerts every night for the rest of my life, write and be published and use the excuse that ‘It’s for my job,’ I’ll be pretty damn content. It’s kind of like the clipping some anonymous source hung up in the campus’ radio booth I’ve lived in for the past four years: “I never worked a day in my life. It’s not work when you love what you’re doing.”

I guess when it comes down to it, I’m fine being a sinner, social freak who listens to hippie music and writes for the ‘liberal media’. I’m fine with it, and I’d never change it, because all of those things have made me, well, me. So if I know a thing or two about music and adolescence, I know that someday I am going to be interviewing a young girl’s favorite band and it will mean the world to her – and that means the world to me.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Live Show Attendance

18 Apr

As an avid concert-goer, I’ve seen been in my fair share of live show audiences. However, as a life-long Houstonian I’ve seen more than my fair share of horrendously bad concerts, mainly brought on by the fans themselves.

I won’t say that Houston as a whole is a bad place, but I will say that we have more than our fair share of bad eggs. And anyone who knows anything about a bad egg knows that once you get a taste of something sour, you’re not likely to return to the source for another bite.

That being said, I’d like to share my own thoughts and advice on being in the crowd at a live show. Some of this may seem like common-sense, but sadly, I’ve grown to learn that not everyone was handed down even the most basic concept of what is socially acceptable.

1. Don’t talk during a song.
The people around you didn’t pay to listen to you talk about your job or relationship, they paid to listen to the band on the stage. Additionally, the band didn’t leave behind their bed, family and sense of normalcy to stand on a stage and play in a crowd of people that were talking through their entire set.
In 2009, Jenny Lewis was performing her beautifully bare song ‘Trying My Best To Love You” at Warehouse Live in Houston. Mid-song, Lewis stopped singing and refused to finish after her own vocals were drowned out by the crowd’s chatter. Band-mate and long time boyfriend, Johnathan Rice, came on-stage and interjected with his own thoughts on the situation before the band continued the set.

If you’re going to a concert with a friend you haven’t seen in a while or you have something important to tell them, grab dinner before you head to the venue or stand toward the back of the room and bars where you’re less likely to bother those around you. It’s okay to talk between songs or have a few words, but if you’re doing this more than you are listening, you’re most likely becoming a bother to others – and the band.

2. Do practice good hygiene.
Smelling spit is gross, but smelling someone’s obvious body odor is absolutely foul. It’s understandable to get sweaty throughout the duration of the concert, but if you’re going to simultaneously invade someone’s personal space and dance with your arms up, apply some deodorant. If you’re going to head-bang, wash your hair (and don’t slap people in the face with it). Get my drift? Let’s hope so.

3. Do dance and sing along.
It seems a no-brainer, but it isn’t always. I can’t count how many times I’ve been to a concert where people absolutely refuse to respond to the music – even after the band prompts them to. You won’t become uncool if you clap and sing, nor will you be black-listed from the club for dancing. This is especially important for opening bands, who are mainly in the early stages of their career and generally unknown. Just remember that a song is a musician’s art, and just like you want positive reinforcement, so do bands. It’s okay to not like everything you hear, but even if you’re not feeling the music, applaud at the end of each song. And please, at all times, refrain from screaming out rude comments.

Sadly, this White Stripes recording from their show at a club in Houston in 2001 only reinforces what I said earlier. (Skip to about :38)

4. Do skip out on a drink or two and spend your money at the merch booth.
Unless you’ve been under a rock since rock and roll was invented, you know that there is no such thing as a band without merchandise. If you’ve been following my blog long (yes, this includes my old blog), you know that I support musicians as much and as often as possible.
For those of you who don’t know, buying albums, shirts and other merch from the bands at the concert gives them the most profit possible. Not only is it their main income while on the road, but every single cent made from selling merch goes directly into the band’s pockets when they most need it. So if you liked the opening band and were planning to go home and download their album, skip out on a few drinks and spend the $5-10 it costs to support the musicians you’re there to see. Even if you planned on picking it up at Best Buy the next day, I can almost guarantee it’ll be cheaper at the concert and the band will appreciate the money a lot more. And chances are, the band will have deals (like two CD’s for $15) and rare or out-of-print merch that will be gone once they sell out.
(My merch of choice are silkscreen posters. They’re usually limited edition and the one-size-fits-all souvenir pays for itself when you don’t have to worry about buying paint or wall decorations.)

5. Don’t be inconsiderate of those around you.
There’s nothing worse than standing next to someone who has had far too much to drink, behind someone who towers over you, or in the vicinity of a couple that is indulging in over-the-top PDA. It’s hard enough standing for hours in a dark, hot room where people are smoking (even though they shouldn’t). Why make it worse? I’ve seen cops and security alike come into crowds to fish out those especially drunken idiots who were already asked to leave, and I can assure you that nobody around you thinks it’s fun when you’re falling over drunk. Additionally, I can’t count how many inconsiderate guys have pushed their way through a crowd and stood in front of people whose view they’re blocking.

And then, there’s this….

Like people who talk way too much, it’s pretty annoying to stand behind or beside a couple who are more worried about showing affection for one another than appreciation for the band. I’ve got too many horror stories to share, but I’ll just say that the worst one was when I could smell the couple’s spit that was covering each others necks. I’m not against a kiss or holding hands, but full-on making out isn’t okay. If you wouldn’t do it in front of your parents, you shouldn’t do it at a concert.

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