Slurry Beta

Infrequent ruminations on nothing.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Anatomy of an Indie Rock Concert

Over the past several years I have attended indie rock shows from Minneapolis to D.C. (well, Minneapolis AND D.C. but I have also seen a few shows in Virginia). So, being an expert on the scene I can tell you that no matter where you see a show, there will always be a certain cast of characters. While there might be different variations on these folks, they will always retain certain core traits.

Star Struck Awkward Alternative Girl. She gets there when the doors open and camps out right in front of the lead singer’s microphone. She knows all the words and has probably been to all the shows that have taken place within a 200 mile radius in the past week. She is ultra possessive and needs her space. The music speaks to her and if it wasn’t for the money, the band would be playing in her living room because she is the only true fan. If male version is present, expect him to be in the back brooding.

The Buffoon. This is your indie rock concert alpha male. Only nobody at the show adheres to the alpha male ethos so he’s essentially reduced to an annoying, overbearing moron. He is easily identified as being incredibly exuberant, like he just chugged two red bull and vodkas and blew a large line off the cover of the new album. He tries to sing along but only knows a few of the words to the single off of the latest release (chances are that the band has released five previous albums and are all in their late 30s-and this one’s the worst). He consistently attempts to get the crowd as pumped up as he is by attempting to start the Unison Crowd Clap (UCC). It should be noted that the Unison Crowd Clap is always entirely spontaneous and only happens at the best shows. To be sure, someone always has to start it but it requires some sort of cosmic force that tells everyone else at the show, “Clap now, my child, in unison with your fellow concert goers for the touch of a hundred virgins awaits you in the afterlife.”

Inappropriate song request guy. This is the faceless person who shouts out song requests in the middle of the first set. 99.9% of the people in the audience know that the band has a set list and they only play requests during the encore. Inappropriate Song Request Guy simply cannot wait to see if his song is played during the first set so he shouts it out between every song and during any dialogue. Look for him to go completely insane if the song is played.

Inexplicably Old Fan. Perhaps an indie-rock oxymoron but there is always someone, a couple perhaps, that is just inexplicably old and strangely out of place because they are so...old.

Hipster Music Snob. There could be anywhere from 50 to 200 of these people at the show. They adhere to very specific rules:

1) Do NOT wear a concert t-shirt of the band on stage.

2) Do NOT talk to any band member, ever. That’s for Poison groupies.

3) Do NOT dance. Dancing is a skill obtained by popular kids in high school, like cheerleaders and jocks.

4) Always have a cigarette or beer in your hand. You have to give the impression that you came to the bar to drink and smoke and this so-called rock band just happened to be playing there.

5) Three words: irony, irony, irony.

Tall Semi-Hairless Dutch Ex-Rock Critic. Probably admitted free of charge, this specimen will stand in the back of the crowd to avoid obstructing the view Rva_5of his fellow concert attendees. He will only dance when drunk and will almost certainly shout out a request for a song that was only released as a limited edition, tour-only B-side in 1994. His dance moves will blow your mind (fig. 1). CAUTION: DO NOT view Fig. 1 if you are prone to seizures.

**From the desk of indi-rock expert Rob Van Alstyne a.k.a Bobby Digital:

The Touchy Feely Couple. This pair probably hooked up for the first time listening to the band on stage and subsequently feels the need to heavy pet/dry hump in front of others during 50% of the set, the other 50% of the time they will be rocking back and forth gently while [vertically] spooning. Expect lots of mouthed "I love yous" during the choruses and the chance that some stray spit will hit you in the eye if you happen to be in the vicinity.


Unfortunately, you have us all pinned. What is even more unfortunate is I am currently just a buffoon jealous of the hipster-music snobs cause they always have some really cute bitchy girl with whom I'd like to become a touchy-feely couple with.
Thank you, B, for reminding me where I stand in the crowd.

Brilliant. Though the out-of-place-frat-boy tends to show up at the bigger shows or is that the buffoon?

At a recent "clap your hands..." show I saw a unique breed of concert goer. He was seemingly unawares of his own role; a confused lad who was constantly moved to dance and be seen, but who had no dance moves or even rhythm. He was dressed like any other Indie rock show goer, the shaved head, the well-worn jeans and the one-size-too-small-thrift-
store-tee. He was like the bufoon and hipster morhped into one. On top of that I think he was confused about his own sexuality (well I for one was), but I digress. He was too wimpy for alpha status, although he was a "clapper." The girls behind him (girlfriend and friend or just two hags?) were appropriately embarassed, both of him and for him.

Beta, I know you saw this guy, what of him? My best guess is he was the starstruck awkward girl, trapped in a dorky man's body and too far from the stage to really show the band how great he thought they were with his "killer" dance moves.