The Misanthrope’s Guide To Music Gigs

Sometimes the common misanthrope is faced with a tough decision. Is it worth spending a few hours in a large room crammed with a lot of people in order to see their favourite band?

Often, the answer will be no. After all, that’s what CDs and iPods were created for; so we could listen to our favourite music at its best in the car, on headphones, or through some sick (good) speakers.

But, every now and then, an opportunity presents itself which you just cannot pass on, and you decide to see you should bite the bullet and go to music gigs.

Buying The Tickets

After you’ve decided the number of tickets you should purchase (usually this will be a low number as misanthropes tend to travel in small packs), they take to ticket purchasing sites on the internet.

If you’re lucky, you may have access to some pre-order tickets, but otherwise, you’ll find yourself sat at a screen at 8:59 am on a Friday when you should be working. You’re getting yourself ready to press ‘Refresh’ bang on 9 am in the hope of being first in the virtual queue to buy the tickets with ease.

What actually happens is that the website crashes at 9 am.

After you’ve navigated the first hurdle by shouting and refreshing the page every 3 seconds, you will hopefully get the tickets. Then you have a set amount of time to complete the process. Time is against you, and now is not the time to get your 16-digit credit card number wrong.

Hopefully, you have the tickets.

Attending Music Gigs

You’ve marked the date on the calendar, and now you’re counting down the months until the gig. Then the weeks. Then the days. And then the hours. And finally, you’re walking towards the venue.

You can already see a mass of people huddled near the entrance. You find yourself scrambling through a fog of cigarette smoke, and pushing aside people trying to sell you a spare ticket.

Incidentally, why do people try to sell spare tickets at the venue? Like I bring spare people with me?

Anyway, now you’ve handed your ticket over, had a bag and body search for plastic bottle lids, and you’re inside.

Should you be attending a civilised event with seats, then you’re in luck. Take your comfy seat and wait to be entertained. The only mild annoyance you’re likely to suffer is the person in front standing to cheer and sharing an armrest with the people next to you.

If you’re standing, and then you’re in a horrid time. You’re about to get closer to complete strangers than you have past lovers. If they’re not standing next to you rubbing against your arm, they’re in front or behind you and genitals are being rubbed against other people, against their will.

But, this isn’t the time to start shouting NO MEANS NO! The lights fade, people cheer, and music starts.

When The Gig Starts

It’s the warmup act. They receive a high-energy welcome, but halfway through their first song which no-one has heard before, people get bored and proceed to spend the next half hour Snapchatting and Facebooking.

Then the warm up act finally leaves to a kind round of applause and then the pushing starts again as people search for alcoholic refreshments and toilets before the main act. And then the pushing proceeds as they make their back to their clans.

Again, the lights fade and the music starts. It’s them, the people you actually paid to see.

Except, you can’t see them because a herd of giraffes has gathered just in front of you. So instead, what you’re actually doing, is being deafened by your favourite songs whilst being blinding by cool lighting, and enjoying the occasional glimpse of the band members.

It’s long been known that people record events on their phones so they can never watch them again, and then delete them 6 months later as they’ve run out of memory. Whether that’s wrong or right isn’t going to be debated today.

However, there is a new fad which I was completely unaware of: People recording themselves at the gig.

With phones now being able to look backwards as well as forward, people can’t resist the urge to look at themselves while they dance and sing along. Perhaps people want to relive the joy on their faces? Perhaps it’s to share on social media to prove to people they had fun?

It’s safe to say there are selfies in existence on a girl’s phone of herself with my big head and raised eyebrows in the background.

With the singing, jumping and general happiness, you get swept up in the moment yourself. You may take a few pictures yourself, and perhaps record the band singing your favourite song. Just ensure you actually watch the stage, and not your phone, otherwise, you may as well just buy it on DVD.

Busted were amazing tonight. Great show, great music, great lighting, great company. #Busted #Folkestone

A photo posted by Stuart Collyer (@stuartcollyer) on

When there are lots of people around, with elbows flailing around and alcohol being consumed, there are bound to be moments which disgruntle you. But stick with it and try your best to enjoy it (after all, it’s your own money you’d be wasting).

Of course, the big finish comes too soon, but no-one leaves because they know there’s an encore coming. They may start chanting if it goes on too long, but they will come back, perform a few extra songs, and then, it’ll be over.

Your ears are ringing and you can’t hear what those around you are saying. But it’s time to make the slow march to the exit as a thousand people try to fit through two exits at the same time.

And when you reflect on the evening, don’t dwell on the fact you have to share the experience with a bunch of strangers who clearly didn’t deserve to enjoy the same experience as you.

Instead, remember the songs, remember how they made you feel, and don’t get too down on the fact all the pictures you took were blurred and the audio so distorted on the video you couldn’t even watch it if you wanted.

Being a misanthrope is hard work, and although you didn’t exactly get a night off (in fact, it confirmed your hate for people even more), you should enjoy the odd ray of a spotlight through the bleary mist.

You deserve it. After all, you can always write about it afterward in order to vent…

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