So recently, Buzzfeed made an “article” about why concerts suck. If you want to view it, for whatever reason, click here. If you don’t know what Buzzfeed is, it is basically Cracked with clickbait instead of content. Typically, this is a website I ignore - I would trust a website that uses that tired old “You won’t believe what happened next!” shit and emojis in their article titles as much as much as I would trust Breitbart. However, this was a list that actually hit home for me, being a person who regularly attends live concerts. I woke up to many people sharing and mocking this “article,” but I wanted to be a bit more professional about it. I wanted to break down each point and truly find out where the author of this list, Kat Angus, was coming from. I knew it was going to be quite the trip when the first reason listed wasn’t even a reason, but rather an introduction to the list.
Truth be told, there are points on which Ms. Angus and I agree on. Her first few reasons talk about the process of buying concert tickets online. She starts off with how convenience fees online are incredibly ridiculous. An easy solution to this would be to just go to the venue, but I do have to keep a few things in mind: for one, I live in New York City, where going to a venue to buy tickets is as easy as taking a train ride and walking to the venue. Our author here lives in Canada, and while it is not specified which part, I will give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she lives in an area where going to a venue to buy tickets is not all that easy. Also, you have to put this in the point of view of someone who isn’t a fan of extreme music. A concert ticket to see Kanye West, for example, is going to be a lot more than a concert ticket for Cult Leader, so this person is probably spending over $50 per ticket. A convenience fee may go to something like $20, and it may cost extra to have your ticket mailed out. Sure, there are workarounds such as printing them online, but the point is that websites like Ticketmaster and Live Nation have horrendously overpriced convenience fees for something you are already spending a lot of money on. Fair enough.
She also brings up the idea of scalpers (“ticket resellers”), which is something I think all of us can agree fucking sucks, and there really is no way around it. I actually encountered this problem a few times myself. When I tried getting tickets to see At the Drive-In at Terminal 5 in New York City, those tickets practically sold out before they even went on sale. Ticketmaster’s website crashed and the tickets sold out immediately. I went on StubHub to see them being sold for $200+. Imagine how much worse it is for people going to shows at arenas now. No matter what you think of the rest of the “article,” these are points that I think anyone can be sympathize with. Also fair.
But let’s get into the real shit now.
The “article” goes on to talk about how waiting for a show sucks, especially when it’s a bigger, sold-out show and you have to get there early for a good spot. While I can understand this point, I also think there are ways to show up later and still get a good spot. Especially at bigger arena-type shows, the floors there are MASSIVE. Most arenas let people inside relatively early, as they are big enough to just line people up all around the space, and have enough security on hand to keep people from coming in early. In the picture she posted, it’s people waiting for Paramore “in the cold,” but I can’t honestly believe it was that cold if literally everyone is either wearing a sweatshirt or a light jacket. I digress. She then brings up how much it sucks bumping into people, which is the first glimpse at the frankly rampant entitlement that suffuses the piece. You’re going to bump into people on a daily basis no matter where you are, whether it’s at a concert or otherwise. If you are seriously that bothered by it, then I question how you actually operate outside your house.
The “article” then talks about getting “smushed” when you are up front. I’ve been up front to almost every hardcore/metal show I have been to lately, and have dealt with this. If you don’t like people “smushing” you from behind, push back. I personally hang onto the stage/barricade and push backwards. This at least gives you enough room to breathe, if that is your main issue. You can jump around. You can kick. You’re going to be in a tight space no matter where you are on the floor, so you might as well try finding a way to fight back anyway. It’s not going to take away from your enjoyment of the show, trust me. I’ve been there before in both metal shows and hip-hop shows.
Ms. Angus then addresses moshpits. If you guys don’t know what my opinion of moshing is, my very first article of Metal Lifestyle was about respect in the heavy music scene, with the ending portion being entirely about crowd activity. If you want to read what I think, click here and scroll to the bottom. Basically, I think there needs to be an established barrier of respect between the people who are just watching the show and the people who want to get active. When you go to an extreme music concert, nothing you do is going to stop the crowd from getting excited and moshing. There are going to be bad apples, sure - crowd-killing is a serious issue in the metal and hardcore scenes, and should be dealt with as strictly as possible - but the majority of the time, people understand the respect barrier. Don’t let those bad apples ruin the bunch. If you know what you’re doing, you aren’t going to be dragged into the moshpit, and you are still going to have a good time. If you get annoyed by the sight or the idea of moshing, then that’s nobody’s fault but your own.
Angus’ next point is about being short and standing in the back. Well, there’s a little lifehack to that: your size makes it easy to sneak around people. My best friend has done this plenty of times. You can definitely get away with it. Also, you are assuming the only part safe from the moshpit is the back of the venue, when both the left and right wings will have plenty of nonviolent space available. Secondly, the barricade area is most likely not going to experience moshpit activity. There are exceptions, and in those instances, refer to my previous point.
As for the ordeal of standing on hard concrete: really? Who is seriously so entitled that they complain about what they are standing on? But then the complaint moves on to the concept of standing. To that I say, tough shit. Literally everyone else around you is doing the same thing. What makes you so much better than everyone else that you feel the right to complain about standing?
The public bathroom argument is applicable to just about anything. There is a restaurant near my house that, for the longest time, did not have a door on the men’s stall, but that fact is that no matter where you go, you’re going to encounter shitty public bathrooms. I’m lucky enough to say that many venues I’ve been to have had very nice bathrooms. Playstation Theater in New York City is, by far, one of my favorite public restroom spots, alongside other venues such as Webster Hall and Terminal 5. It honestly depends on the sanitation team at the venue, but take into consideration that a bathroom at a venue is being used less than a bathroom at a McDonald’s, as a venue’s bathroom is only really being used when an event happens. Sure, I have been to really gross venue bathrooms, but I made my point that anywhere can have a bad bathroom. Entitlement is a hell of a thing.
The “article” then moves on to music festivals. Once again, the first point is an introduction. Ms. Angus comments on the weather and how it affects an event, but it’s common knowledge that events can, have, and will cancel for serious weather conditions (heavy rain, storms, hurricanes, etc.). The Sunday of Governors Ball was cancelled due to extreme weather conditions, but a little rain is just that: a little rain. I think we know what word applies here, by now, to the kind of people that have never felt a single raindrop on their skin.
The next two reasons are repeats of other reasons, so I am not going to address them, and then she talks about waiting for the band to come on and watching “endless opening acts you don’t care about.” This is incredibly infuriating. It completely disrespects the other artists on the tour. These bands are working even harder than the main acts to give it their all each night and win over some fans. For you to just be like “Ugh, I don’t care about these acts, I spent $X for the main act!” is a complete slap in the face of every artist on this planet, INCLUDING the one you want to see. You’re not going to like every artist you see, sure. I’ve had my fair share of openers I didn’t care for at all myself. That doesn’t give you the right to complain about them trying to win over people so they themselves can be successful and do their own headliner.
Angus then complains about artists not performing their “good” songs until the end of the night. If you only care about an artist's most popular songs (which is very obviously your argument), then why did you spend money to travel and go see them? Scalpers suck, but you know what’s worse? Shitty people like you buying tickets away from fans who actually care about a band’s material outside of their top three songs. As for the strobe lights: sorry an artist wants to put on a massive production to keep themselves and the crowd energized. You also massively underestimate modern cell phones if you think all they can capture are strobe lights. Her next reason is about the songs you came to hear finally coming on, but your feet hurt. If you can’t handle a few hours away from the throne of gold you’ve presumably occupied your entire life, why, again, are you taking tickets away from someone who can? Her next reason is bullshit, because she’s the only one that is showing any sort of “un-enjoyment” from a show, and then the article has the gall to complain about getting out of shows, which is very easy to do if you know where you are going and you are even slightly patient.
This is how things conclude:
“And when you finally get home and listen to the album in the private comfort of your home, you realize that THIS is how you should have spent your night in the first place.”
You can’t make this up. If you think that listening to music at home is the same experience as witnessing the artist perform it - or worse, that it SHOULD be that way - then you are completely and utterly delusional. To keep things short, I will just link a bunch of examples: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Daft Punk, Death Grips, letlive, Kendrick Lamar, and Bjork. These are six of the best live acts I can think of. I guarantee you will not get the same experience from listening to these artists on a computer or your phone as you would from witnessing them pour their hearts out into a performance. This “article” festers with the privilege and entitlement that the thousands upon thousands of people who liked, shared, and agreed with Ms. Angus apparently suffer from - and in the process, it manages to disrespect every artist out there trying to make a living just as you are, writing shitty “listicles” on a website best known for clickbait and worthless recipes no one’s going to use.
All in all, some valid points do not make up for the rampant entitlement that fuels this “article.” It’s written by and for people who consider themselves to be better than everyone else and cannot fathom why anyone would stoop to supporting artists and standing on concrete. Fuck it. Let them be that way. The point of this was to call Kat Angus out on her privileged shit while also reminding people that with some of these points, you need to understand the difference with spending money on an underground show and spending money on a more popular show. At the end of the day, I don’t think I am going to change anyone’s mind on the process, but I figured I’d give it my two cents as someone who admires music. I’m going to continue going to shows with my friends, and she is going to keep coming up with new pointless lists in her studio apartment that’s been completely paid off by her rich parents while never really experiencing the world. I think we’re both fine with that.