Since joining the fold as a rock club employee I have witnessed many a thing I didn't realize occurred before. Much of what I'm trying to convey in this series is- in fact- the absurdity of the "collection of behaviors" which I run across. The disrespect. The ignorance. The bombast. The entitlement. And, most importantly and egregiously- the stupidity.
However on this particular night I was not an employee- but a spectator. It was one of the first times since I began work there that I had the opportunity to live within my new parameters and idealist behaviors. In short, I got the opportunity to utilize and even personify my rubric of "acceptable behavior" at a rock club.
Here are a few key items from the rubric:
- In a situation where the bar is in the room where the band is playing, do not, I repeat DO NOT linger at the bar once receiving your drink. If the room is jammed and the crowd is drinking, it's gonna be tough to get to the bar as it is and in the bartender wants fresh faces and new tips. Get your drink and stand elsewhere.
- If you have a tab open at the bar do not assume the bartender remembers your name every time. Make sure to include your name when you remind him or her that you have a tab. Example: "Yeah, I have a tab under the name McDonald." Be aware though- these are filed by LAST NAME- so do not approach and say "I have a tab" "ok, what's the name?" "Mike." BZZZZZZZ!!! Wrong. You're out, dude. The bartender doesn't need your first name. Do you really think you're the only "Mike" at the bar? Get it together, dude. Last names only.
- Don't speak to the band while they're onstage. You're not funny or witty. No one paid to hear you "joke around" with them.
- Put those damn phones away. What is the point in reliving a concert through a video if you didn't actually live it the first time because you were too busy fidgeting with the camera on your iPhone.
- After the show- if the room is clearing out and the bar is closing up, it's time for you to leave. Close your tab and move along. Good way to tell if the bar is closed? If all the bottles of booze are no longer on display.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy a band without being a dick-- especially at a show as good as that of Mates of State. Get lost in the show. A band that has cut their teeth as well as Mates of State has is very hard to argue with or ignore. They put on a hell of a show and they represent their entire catalog. Minimal stage banter, a pulsating rhythm-- not just to the songs, but more importantly to the progression of the show. A LOT of songs are played and there is very little time between them. And, when they do stop to take a minute to address the audience, it is meaningful and funny. I have to respect a band that is working like that. Plus, at this particular show, they played my two favorite songs: "Think Long" from the 2006 album Bring It Back and "Goods" from the fantastic EP All Day from 2004. The band is so tight on this tour that they manage to make every band in their same arena who is doing it with drum machines look like total clowns. This is live music played by warm blooded, intelligent people who know how to turn a hook AND a steady beat. Overall, they put on a fantastic show. It's so nice to see a band that still manages to prove themselves years after they already had. And, even I'll admit... a pretty well behaved crowd.
Going forward, remember the rubric. Get it saved as note on your phone. Get a sweet arm tattoo a la Memento. Hire a small person to follow you around and keep you in check. Whatever- just do it right. As a staffer and a spectator, I don't expect or desire to have to work hard to avoid the ill behaviors-- and a show such as Mates', where the crowd behaves, is a rare one. Just keep it in mind and the next time you whip out your phone or open a bar tab. Think twice and make sure youre within reason. And, feel free to reach out to me if you need me to smack you back into place. You're welcome.