What I Dislike About Concerts

Okay, I know the title is super negative, so let me preface this piece by saying that I have a lot of fun going to concerts! I love getting to hear some of my favorite songs live, but there are certain aspects of live shows that still frustrate me, no matter how incredible the artists are. This past week, I went to see Alvvays live with openers Hatchie and Snail Mail and, unfortunately, this particular concert reminded me of all of the things I would rather cancel from my concert experience.

Being short

This paragraph is dedicated to all the Short Kings out there who spend half the concert moving around looking for a spot to see only to have the next person lined up for the NBA draft step right in front of you. As Hatchie was delicately strumming to her dreamy tunes, I was craning my neck so much that I’m pretty sure I grew another vertebra just to see the top of her head. The only hope I had of actually “seeing” the full stage was holding my phone up and taking videos for later. Anyone under, let’s say, six feet tall understands the struggle (my girlfriend and #1 concert buddy, who happens to be six feet, was *laughing at me in tall* that night. Is this also a humble brag? Maybe).

Concerts on weeknights

We all know that feeling of excitedly, and naively, purchasing tickets for that Tuesday show of that one artist you HAVE to see, only to find out that a few weeks later that the Wednesday morning after the concert you have a midterm at 8:40 a.m. Concerts on a weeknight can be a great thing to look forward to, but they can also be so exhausting, especially when you spend an hour commuting in the rain to the venue. A venue, by the way, which happens to be located inside of an active Polish community center in the middle of Greenpoint (Warsaw is a trip, in both ways).

It’s an expensive habit

There’s something about all of the artists I like that somehow leads them to all decide to go on tour at the exact same time, leading my wallet to RIP. A seemingly inexpensive ticket is always jacked up by sneaky fees, and don’t even get me started on the dog-eat-dog world of the resale market (not going to lie, I have taken advantage of it myself with my dabbles in amateur ticket scalping… I’m the worst, I know). It also sucks always having to trade off between amazing seats and not overdrafting your bank account, or paying for GA tickets to have your view blocked for most of it (see point A).


To snap, or not to snap?

Every concert I go to is different: sometimes, people have their phones out the whole time, and at others literally NO ONE will take their phone out for just ONE photo. The latter is what makes me really uncomfortable because, personally, I like documenting my concerts by filming a few choice songs out of the performance. But when no one else is doing it, I feel almost judged every time I take out my phone, snap a quick and probably blurry pic, and shove it back into my pockets surreptitiously. Did that stop me from straight up filming the whole chorus of Alvvays’s “Undertow?” Nope, just check my Snap Memories.  

Sometimes, it’s the artists themselves…

This one I feel bad writing down, but the truth is that sometimes the performer you see has a bad day, or they play the song in a way that makes it hard to sing along, or is completely different from the album and just does not work for you. Snail Mail rocked it, but there were times when her delivery just felt off—she pushed her vocals out a lot more than she does on her songs, and it felt like she was just a little out of it. Another point to add to this is when you’re just not into one of the bands or artists performing. I love catching the opening acts and have discovered some of my favorite musicians that way, but other times it could just feel like filler. Personally, I am more of a fan of Hatchie and Snail Mail than Alvvays, so I felt like I could have already been done with the concert by the time Alvvays came on stage, even though they were the main act on the bill.

Music fans are so judge-y

As a somewhat judge-y music fan myself, this is my message to all of us that WE HAVE TO CHILL! Because it was a weeknight, my girlfriend and I decided to head home early as we were both really tired and already watched the two bands we really wanted to see. We happened to leave, completely unplanned, right after Alvvays played “Archie, Marry Me,” which is the band’s biggest hit. People were pointing at us, laughing, scoffing and making us feel terrible because we wanted to go home just because we were, in their eyes, “fake fans.” Dude, I had a recitation the next morning at 10 a.m.; I would sleep just fine that night not having seen the full show. This kind of smug, pretentious attitude needs to be checked because it does nothing to promote an inclusive community of people who love music, nor does it accept that people enjoy music in different capacities. The audience is not a space for ego, for assessing how much of a “real fan” you are or for shoving your way to the front just because—it’s a space for everyone to come together in their own ways to appreciate, listen, dance to and experience music.

Next time I head to a concert, I will definitely be aware of my own concert etiquette. Thankfully, the next show I have coming up is on a Friday night.