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Monday, March 12, 2007

The Culture Of Concerts

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a bit of an old fart in the field of night life. I'd much rather throw a zombie-themed movie night with my D&D buddies (which I have done) than go to a drug-fueled underground rave (which I haven't). Recently, however, I decided to break from my usual fare to see a Flogging Molly concert. I had heard it could get a bit wild, but I so wanted to hear their music live that I risked it.

The music was amazing. The audience... Not so much. Moshing is just plain stupid (and gross- keep your nasty sweat to yourself, Mr. Three-Hundred-Pound-Beardy-Man) and despite the sign at the door that said crowd surfing was not permitted, plenty of idiots did it. They reminded me of my cats when I toss them off of my furniture or my lap. It was uncanny-that same look of confusion and then scurrying back to doing exactly what they were doing before. It was quite comical seeing the same motards get chucked forward time and again by people who honestly just wanted to get some distance between themselves and the repulsive, drunk individuals they were forced to bear or risk getting squashed by. It was kinda funny seeing the poor security guy near me struggle with a particularly large 15 year old girl who landed with anything but grace as she tried pathetically to pull her tiny t-shirt down over her generous belly and pierced navel.
To my right, two people down, was a red-headed man who was clearly there to just enjoy the music. We both struggled to get away from the yahoos (rather hard to do, given that we were right up front), and if we happened to look at each other while singing the same songs, I'd smile and he'd hold up his Guinness that he got from Nathen Maxwell, the bass player, and a look of respect crossed his flushed, sweating face. It was a pleasant sense of camaraderie that I felt, though he probably barely noticed me in the throes of his sheer enjoyment of the music.

What really confused me was how the audience showed appreciation... I saw many a raised fist or a finger pointed at the musician they were enjoying, which I understood, but then I saw one guy waving his middle finger. Now, call me old-fashioned if you will, but what kind of sign of respect is that??! I looked at the guy's face to see if he meant it maliciously, and he clearly didn't.
To my left was a tiny little lady who I feared would get crushed and we often exchanged friendly smiles and shared a rolling of eyes at some of the morons around us. Next to her was a lady who I thought was her girlfriend because she kept touching the little lady, but it turns out she was just a bit of a pervert who took every opportunity to grope or kiss any woman within reach. I was grateful I was far away enough from her that she just stroked my cheek and didn't get any of my good stuff. She was far from enticing. In all my experience watching movies and TV shows, I figured maybe she'd taken some Ecstasy.
I'd never do it again, because the concert culture just isn't for me, but what a delight to see a band who's every bit as good live as they are in their studio recordings and I learned a thing or two as well. I'll stick to seated performances only from now on, thank you very much.

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