Posts Tagged ‘Music Fans’

Summer is the time for music festivals. The great outdoors, the sunshine, the fresh air – all perfect conditions in which to enjoy some live music. I’ve already been through the types of people you see in the crowd at a concert, so here’s a look at the unique characters you may come in contact with at festivals.

Dehydrates – young teens who love the idea of getting hammered on $18 beers in the dead heat, while watching their favourite band tear it up on the outdoor stage. Here’s a tip for you guys – drink some damn water. Otherwise, you will either faint, puke, get the spins or all of the above. It’s not rocket science and you don’t need to be a mature 30-year-old to understand this concept. Water is the new beer, kids, water is the new beer.

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Loyalists  – these guys are hard core. They’ve likely come to the festival specifically to see the headliner. So they come super early, park themselves at the front of the crowd and stay there the whole day, watching band after band after band they don’t care about perform. They stand a lot. It’s hard for them to get food/water because then they’ll lose their place. They’re on a mission and are pretty successful – caution to anyone who tries to squeeze in front of them.

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Recorders – having an SLR camera with an tripod doesn’t make you cool. Having/using a selfie stick will only cause injury when used in a crowd of thousands. Recording an entire set with your smartphone ruins the experience for anyone standing behind you because all they see is your phone screen – so put it away. Here’s a thought: try actually absorbing the experience instead of documenting it. If you take a minute away from hashtagging, I’m sure your 2 Twitter followers will understand.

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Water Hose Guy – I’m not sure if this guy is hired by the festival, or is just some random fan. His role is to take it upon himself to determine when the crowd needs to be soaked by a current of cold water spewing out of a ginormous garden hose. Girls squeal excitedly, boys cheer because what’s better than being in wet clothes for the rest of the day? (note the sarcasm). Why is this guy allowed to decide when people need to be drenched?

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Anti-Hygienics – okay, so I get that being in the summer heat all day can be taxing on the body. I get that sweat happens; that it’s inconvenient to bring a toothbrush with you; that you have no other choice but to use outhouses. But that doesn’t mean you abandon all sense of hygiene. Take a shower before coming; brush your teeth in the morning and bring gum/mint to freshen you up during the day. For the love of God, use hand sanitizer. There’s already enough body odour floating around, why must you add yourself to the mix?

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Hippies – generally female, I use the term “hippies” loosely because no one who attends festivals are actual hippies: they were all born in the wrong decade. They prance around with their braided hair, ultra high-waisted denim mom shorts, flower crowns, crop tops and complete lack of common sense.

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Hipsters – generally male, they sport thick beards, skinny pants, vintage kicks, and of course, large-frame glasses. They’re there to be cool, but they don’t care about being cool, so they’re just there ironically. They’re not actually enjoying themselves, but just came along to make fun of the whole experience, whilst documenting the entire thing on Instagram.

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Crowd Surfing

Posted: June 21, 2013 in Live Music, Music Culture, Pop, Rap, Rock
Tags: ,

Concerts provide a fantastic way to get closer to a band, directly access their musicianship and witness their rapport with the crowd. Not to mention how they hold up without the effects of a recording studio. Every once in a while during a lull in the show, one can’t help but look around at other fans of the band. Sometimes these people are more entertaining than the musicians themselves. Here are a few of my favourite concert attendees:

The Touchy-Feelies – generally involves constant back stroking, gazing into each others’ eyes and make out sessions. Things can and often do enter the “getting frisky” territory. The band is either “their” band or they couldn’t care less because all they want to do is touch each other. At all times. They both likely still live with their parents and therefore seek dimly lit places where where they can give in to their hormonal urges. They take plenty of photos, of themselves with the band in the background. Most importantly, they want everyone to know they’re so in love and so awesome.

The Dragged Boyfriend – this guy’s easy to spot. He spends the entire night standing right next to his girlfriend sulking. You don’t even need to see his face to determine this because it’s written all over his body language: hunched over, head down, arms crossed, intermittent shoulder shrugging and audible sighing. Like he’s being punished. He checks his watch often counting down the seconds until he can leave. His girlfriend on the other hand is having the time of her life and sporadically looks around making sure he’s still physically there and hasn’t ditched her. She needs a ride home after the show.

The Substance Abusers – the clearly drunk and/or high members of the crowd. They think they’re being inconspicuous by ducking behind people while taking a puff or drinking out of the flask they managed to sneak in. Most of them are too old to be in a “rebellious” stage still but still seem to find a rush in engaging in practices that “aren’t allowed.” They insist on having an alcoholic beverage of some sort in their hand at all times, even if it means waiting in line at the bar and missing the show. Before the encore, they’re so gone they either can’t stand straight, start falling all over people or need to be escorted/rushed out. Total buzz kills.

The Backpackers – probably the most difficult to understand. Did they all just come from school? What could they possibly have in there that they must carry around – 10 SLR cameras? Believe it or not, injury from backpacks is both painful and a frequent occurrence. More than you’d think. Not to mention, it’s incredibly annoying to anyone who ends up a victim of their bulky and awkward shape. Backpack assault isn’t a laughing matter, and can easily potentially result in full out brawls mid-concert. Put it on the ground, hold it in front of you, be respectful of the lack of space.  Or here’s an idea: just leave it at home.

The Fidgety Fingers – aka social media experts. They spend the ENTIRE show looking at their phones engaging in a combination of Tweets, Facebook posts, and text messages. The only time they look up at the band is when they’re taking a photo that they will immediately Tweet/post/message to the world, just to make it known that they were there. For the more advanced users, they will record every song and post them on Facebook right away or on YouTube that night. These guys don’t actually even watch the show, but they want to make sure everyone knows they attended. Oh and they never forget to check themselves in, in case all the photos/videos, comments, etc didn’t make it clear enough.

The Overzealous Dancers – usually in the younger age bracket (19-23), Caucasian females in groups of two. They’re under the influence of something and their dance moves are both volatile and wayward. Jumping up and down, hands in the air and obnoxiously emphatic facial expressions are commonly seen. Members of the male population can’t seem to take their eyes off these girls, because they secretly wish their own girlfriends were as free-spirited. These dancers usually get away with this erratic behaviour because it’s more entertaining than bothersome. Until it isn’t anymore.

The Overdressed – these fans choose to get all decked out for the concert in hopes of getting noticed by the artist. Some cake on make up, show up scantily clad, and try and pull off unreasonably high heels. The boy band member isn’t going to even see the girl dressed like a stripper – it’s pretty dark in music venues, remember? – fall madly in love and spend the rest of the show serenading her. Others take the eccentric/over-the-top approach. This usually involves putting together costumes as opposed to outfits, and applying carnival-level make up. The pop diva isn’t going to notice you in your cone-shaped bra, and won’t appreciate the extra hour you took gluing on fake lashes. No matter how they dress, they’re not going to be in the spotlight. No one came to see them.

The Hawks – not to be confused with the boyfriend who was dragged. This one’s a little more intense. Whether he knows the band or not is hard to say because he spends the whole show glued to his girlfriend, like he’s marking his territory so no random crowd member approaches her. He continually makes it clear to everyone that the girl is HIS by always having his paws on her. Not affectionately but possessively. She on the other hand was hoping he’d stay home so she could get one evening away from his clutch. These guys usually give me the heebee jeebies.

The Vocalists – possibly one of the most annoying kind of concert-goer. Usually in groups of two, these fans spend the majority of the show talking to each other. Not even about the show. About something Sally said to Brad at Kyle’s party last night. The reason you notice them is because the volume at which they speak is ridiculously high. Like they’re trying to be louder than the band because they’re disrupting their conversation. Other versions include fans who sing along so loudly that they actually drain out the lead singers themselves, thereby completely desecrating the tune for everyone around them. Thanks a lot.

The Crowd Clowns – similar to the more popular class clown, these guys feel the need to yell out random comments or “Woo!” when it’s totally silent. Either between tracks, or when the artist has just finished saying something. They time it that way so everyone hears them and because they need the validation of a roar of laughter from the crowd and/or band. Frequent comments include “I love you man!” said by a male fan to a male musician; others opt to shout out song requests; then those who try to engage in witty banter with the band, during the show. They love the sound of their own voices, too bad nobody else does.

The Soloists – ie those who attend concerts alone. There’s no problem with it as long as you’re there to enjoy the show. However, it’s not acceptable if you fall into any of the above-mentioned categories. Think about it: behaving like any of the previously described concert attendees on your own, is just automatically creepier.  A single dude trying to get touchy-feely with a random girl is 100 times worse than a touchy-feely couple. And so on and so forth.

Bands and Their Fans

Posted: October 26, 2012 in Music Industry
Tags: ,
Every band has a story. A beginning, a middle and an end. From day one, a band’s purpose is to have their music heard. By anyone. And then eventually, by everyone. As fans, when we find that right band, that perfect song, those poetic lyrics, we’re hooked – it’s the perfect match. This connection creates the foundation of our relationship with the band and remains a special bond. However, as time goes on, more and more people start to form a similar appreciation for the band and we find ourselves struggling to compete with our band’s new found fame. If they appeal to the masses, does that make them sell outs? Or are we as fans just overreacting?
                                                                                                                                                                       When bands start out, they all have to play the dive bars, the no-name venues, and anywhere else they can land a gig. Watching them play live in smaller venues is always a more rewarding experience because it’s a lot more intimate. You feel so much closer, so much more involved, so much more present. Your relationship with the band starts to flourish, hits a new level and your connection is on fire. Typically at this stage, the band will maybe have one of their tracks playing on the radio – not a mainstream or Top 40 station – maybe an underground, indie or alternative type station. All they want is to get their music more out there, get more people to hear it, make a name for themselves.
                                                                                                                                                                        We’re now dedicated fans. We’ve heard their music, experienced them live as close up as we possibly can, and it’s like we’re in the inner core. We’re they’re friends, people who can say we were there from the beginning and knew the band when. Due to our new roles, we almost feel like we played a part in discovering the band. It then becomes our mission to spread the word and be their unofficial spokespersons. I love introducing people to new music, love seeing the expression on their faces when they hear that song for the first time, knowing that I had something to do with it.
                                                                                                                                                                       Then all of a sudden, more people start to hear about them, more people recognize their music and they get more bandwagon fans. Slowly over time, they start playing larger venues, bigger crowds and charging way more money for their tickets. They’re the same band, but they seem so much further away. There’s no intimacy left between us, no exclusivity – now everyone’s heard about them. They’re not struggling musicians trying to make it anymore. Us real fans get conflicted and feel threatened: we want people to know about them, but at the same time we don’t. We want to spread their music, but only to ears that will appreciate it. We want what’s best for them, as long as we’re still involved. Sure it’s selfish, but it’s for their own good, right?
                                                                                                                                                                       When bands cross that imaginary line between critically acclaimed and super stardom, something gets lost with their music. Part of why I listen to non-mainstream music is because it’s obscure and different. The minute it becomes popular that all goes away. But can you really blame the bands for that? Shouldn’t us fans just be happy for them? Bands and their fans have a symbiotic relationship: one cannot survive without the other. Only that band can make their fans feel that way.