Hello Faithful Readers, and welcome to a brand new column at Gothic Charm School. This column proved to the Lady of the Manners that divine intervention actually happens. Why, you ask? Because the Lady of the Manners had a very specific topic she wanted to rant . . . er, hold forth about, and Hey Presto! A faithful reader sent in a question about that very topic!
dear gothic charm school,
I was just curious what you believe is the proper concert going etiquette. I never know what to do, should I stand, sit, mosh… and so on, depending on the type of music. Should I dance, move around, nod? I just wanted some advice.
Which to put first, the answers to Akward Listener’s questions, or the Lady of the Manners’ rant? Oh, let’s answer Akward Listener’s question first; by the time that’s done, maybe the Lady of the Manners’ ire will have died down a bit.
Standing, dancing, and moshing at concerts are all dependant on the types of venues and attendees. If the concert takes place at a proper theatre with reserved seats, you should stick to your place. Standing up only blocks the view of the people behind you and causes them to be distracted from the concert, get mad, and think longingly of lopping your head off. “But wait!” the Lady of the Manners can here some reader’s cry, “what happens if the person in front of me stands up? Aren’t I allowed to stand up then?”
No. You aren’t. You are only allowed to stand up during a concert if EVERYONE jumps to his or her feet simultaneously, like a herd of lemmings. If that didn’t happen, and it is just a case of someone in front of you standing up, politely get their attention (tapping them on the back = good; kicking them = bad) and ask them to sit down. If they refuse, tell them you WILL go get an usher and then do so. The Lady of the Manners is all for being swept away by the musical experience, but doesn’t think that’s an excuse for disrupting others’ enjoyment.
If the concert is taking place at a club or arena-type venue, that’s a different story. Seating at those sorts of venues tend to be free-for-alls; it’s perfectly acceptable to stand up, but still try to make sure you’re not standing in front of someone who is seated. Those sorts of venues also are perfect for dancing at during the show. In fact, many musicians have stated they like seeing people dance when they’re performing, so go right ahead.
As for moshing — well first of all, is it the sort of music that a person WOULD mosh to? If so, you can start thrashing about. But! Some things to keep in mind: don’t try and forcibly include people in the moshing, and even in the midst of it, try to not hit people with your flailing arms and legs. Inadvertently punching other concertgoers is rude. (So is deliberately punching other concert attendees, but the Lady of the Manners is assuming you knew that.)
Now, on with the rant!
Concerts are special events. They are rare chances to see favorite musicians perform live, and hear familiar songs in new arrangements. People attending should be respectful and appreciative. Respectful and appreciative DOES NOT mean shouting things out at the performers. No questions, no “I love you!” (until at the end of the performance, when it’s a bit more acceptable to shout praise), and NO requests! Because while there may be a song that you’re longing to hear performed, the band has these things called set lists. Set lists are the lists (imagine that) of the songs the band is going to perform, and in what order. Many bands only rehearse a certain group of songs for their live act; the ones they think best showcase their talents in a live setting, the songs they know are audience favorites, and sometimes ones they themselves are fond of. Perhaps your favorite song doesn’t fall into any of those categories. That doesn’t mean you get to shout a request at the band. It is the HEIGHT of rudeness to do so; it’s rude to the band, and it’s rude to the rest of the audience. Oh, and it’s even MORE rude to shout requests for song that aren’t by that band. Shouting “Freebird!” in the middle of a concert is tacky and dumb, not funny.
(Yes boys and girls, this really happened at a concert the Lady of the Manners attended recently. She was appalled, and desperately wanted to go start stabbing the offenders with her hatpins.)
Another of the Lady of the Manners’ pet peeves of concert attendance is the seemingly ever-present Talking People. Do not talk through a performance. Even if YOU aren’t interested in what is currently being performed, others around you are. If it is vitally important that you say something to someone, have them leave the auditorium with you. Oh, and turn off your dratted cell phones while at the concert, too.
Now that the Lady of the Manners has gotten that out of her system, she feels much more at peace with the universe. That means she can go off and pay attention to other things, such as reading any mail faithful readers may send her to firstname.lastname@example.org.