I love live music. Over the years I have gone from naïve, hyperactive teenager demanding to be down the front, to the wizened, relaxed 20-something who is somewhere near the bar. I feel I have enough experience to give you a few tips about gigs, to make them a much more enjoyable experience for yourself!
My first ‘gig’ was Busted, and I have no shame in that. Since then I have seen everyone from The Rolling Stones to One Direction. I have been to festivals, in-store shows, and on one occasion saw the same band twice in one day.
This is the second part in the ‘How to Tackle’ series – this time covering the topic of gigs. Some of you may not have been to a gig before, and some of you have probably been to tonnes more than me, but hopefully this will help someone out!
I love live music. Honestly, if I didn’t, I would be a hell of a lot richer. But alas… this is just a very small amount some of the tickets that I have collected over the years.
Last week I saw Gerard Way (of My Chemical Romance fame), and so far some of the artists I have lined up to see in 2015 are Enter Shikari, Placebo, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Taylor Swift. You can’t say that I don’t have a varied taste in music…
But I digress! On with the post:
CLOTHING: Deciding what to wear can be a struggle – but you don’t need to wear anything fancy. Layers are key! When you’re queuing it can be freezing outside, but once you are inside you melt under the heat of the lights and everyone around you. Layers that you can tie around your waist or stuff into a bag are a blessing. Shoe wise you cannot go wrong with a pair of boots, or comfortable trainers. It’s likely that you will be standing up for hours and will be jumping around – why would you want to wear heels in that situation? C’mon guys.
ACCESSORIES (kinda): If you’re taking a bag, definitely take a shoulder bag. As well as providing quick, convenient access to your belongings, it also allows you to keep an eye out for pickpockets. But don’t be that person who decides to wear a backpack that hits everyone in the face. I’ve been that person and I annoyed myself more than anyone else. At least use the cloakroom if you have loads of stuff on you.
Also, if you wear glasses I definitely advise investing in some contact lenses or just leaving them at home if you can. I dropped and damaged mine so many times that eventually it was just worth buying disposable contacts for gig use only.
And finally, if you have long hair, please tie it up – I don’t want mouthfuls of hair every time I open my mouth. Gross.
BE PREPARED: You do not want to go to a gig without being fed and hydrated. Whilst you don’t want to sit down to a three course meal beforehand, going without is not sensible either. The first time I saw Blink 182 I ate nothing all day apart from a cookie, a had can of pimms and a couple of G&Ts. I almost passed out 4 songs into their set and had to sit at the back with a bottle of water. No fun.
THE FRONT: Is both a blessing and curse. It great if you’re short like me and want to see the stage, and you are also in reach for the water that security hands. However my days of queuing for hours just to get to the barrier are long over. Get there early if you want a really good view especially if you are seeing a popular band. Personally, it’s not worth the wait to be crushed by hundreds of people behind you. But maybe that’s just me…
Going alone is OK: You can usually make friends with the people are you, after all you both like the same sort of music, but even if you don’t it can be fun going to gigs yourself. You can chose when to get there and where to stand. However try and watch out for crowd surfers coming from behind and being pulled into mosh pits – go for it if you want (there is a whole other set of rules for the pit) but don’t feel like you have to.
Put your phone away: Gigs are not the time for replying to that text you got earlier. And please don’t watch the gig through your camera or phone. Please please please. The occasional picture/Snapchat is fine but I can guarantee the people behind hate you.
You will get hit: OK now this IS subjective to what show you’ re going to (I wouldn’t expect a James Blunt show to be as rowdy as Enter Shikari for example) but you will be uncomfortably close to people at times and have all manner of bodily fluids and alcoholic beverages thrown on you. You’re going to get bashed about, but most times this will be by accident. If you can’t handle this – stay to the back, or where I prefer to stand, at the sides. You get a good view, less pushing, and it also provides a quick escape route when you want to leave early. Result!
- Mobile (and a portable charger if you have one – I promise it is the best investment you will ever make)
- Comfy shoes
- Layers of clothing
- A spare lid for a water bottle (most venues take drinks off you before you enter, and when you buy a bottle of water they give it to you without the lid so it is good to keep one spare just in case!)
- Money for merchandise (I have way too much merch, you should see the amount I own)
- Gig ticket
- Lots of stamina (it will be a good few hours of standing up, so be prepared!)
Of course, each show will be different, and if you are seated then you don’t need to worry about 90% of this. Live music is fantastic, and I am never happier than when I am surrounded by hundreds of strangers who I get to share the experience with. Is that weird?
Do any of you have any more tips for people who haven’t been to many gigs before? What was the last gig you went to?
Bonus fun fact: I am on the front row of the title image for this blog post. Thanks for the reminded Flickr.