Which Fan Are You?
Whenever you make your way out to a local show, you know there are going to be certain types of people there. So you can’t help but wonder—which one are you?
“The Bar-side Bro”
This is pretty self-explanatory. Every show has the one or two guys that claim their seat at the bar and defend it like an alpha wolf. They support local music, but only if it means keeping their first-class seat for booze. There’s a rare occasion you’ll find them not in their seat (or in the bathroom) and that’s only if they can’t see the one band they came for from their self-proclaimed throne. But nonetheless, thanks for coming, bro. Don’t forget to tip your bartender.
“The Out-of-Place Girlfriend”
You know her. She’s the one wearing her torn, stonewashed jeans, a spring flannel, and some high-class boat shoes desperately searching for The 1975 at a GWAR-esque show. She’s complaining about the sludge on the walls that the frequents have grown to love and shooting the “it’s time to go” missals from her eyes that collide right into her boyfriend’s good time. From her perspective, she’s a trooper, but if she’s not ready to stay the entire night and contribute some patience, she’s just flat out annoying. Out-of-Place Girlfriend, please let him have his fun. If you don’t want to be there, plan a girl’s night or whatever it is you do. Let him live a little.
“The Smoke Machine”
We get it, you vape, but you’re polluting the place and I can’t see the band I waited all night for. I appreciate your seasonal pumpkin-spice aroma, and I’ll take it any day over the nicotine, but you’re killing the mood. Please go join hula-hoop girl and poi-boy in the corner or outside by the 99 other dudes acting like cloud-factories in the middle of the smoking section.
“Hi Mom and Dad!”
There’s nothing quite like the view of stage lights reflecting off of a 50-something-year-old guy’s bald spot. It can be pretty hard to be rock and roll when you come from a loving and supportive background, but in reality, family encouragement is important. They are probably the most reliable fans and can always be counted on for ticket sales—sometimes even when they already know they can’t go.
You’re probably a band member’s girlfriend or the weird cousin, but you make these hometown heroes feel like rock gods. You save them from embarrassment when the lead singer decides it’s your turn to sing instead of his and wallpaper the bathroom stalls with their stickers. You know just when to jump and you never fall victim when they try to fake you out with that one song that seems to be over before it actually is. You’re a (insert band name here) professional and damn proud. You’re their biggest fan, but in return, they’re your biggest fans as well.
“The Cool Guy”
This is about 90% of the crowd. These are the people that find their spot, cross their arms, lock their knees, and stand their ground for the next 30 minutes. The most movement you’ll find from these guys is a slight head-bob that could be missed if you blink too quickly. They’ll probably clap every now and then, but good luck trying to persuade them to take a step closer.
“The Flightless Man”
This is the guy that has been dropped on his head four times within the first two songs, but mama didn’t raise no quitter. As long as there is at least one other person in the crowd, he is going to try and catch that gnarly wave. I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself, but please stay grounded, my hair is too essential to my look to be wearing a helmet to every show.
“Slow Your Roll, Meshuggah”
These are the people that straight up need a straight jacket. Limbs flailing, heads tucked, and bystanders annoyed. These caged animals have been anxiously awaiting a good metal show and will pull out all the stops on the khaki-loving pop punk kids if they have to. When the tempo starts to slow after the second chorus, retreat to the walls or prepare for battle.
True musicians support other musicians, so of course there will always be a couple of these in the room. They love to network, talk gear, and swap tips, but as soon as you mount the stage, the judgment is on. They want you to do well, but not better than them—don’t be upset, it’s human nature. These people will watch every move and will pick up on that one wrong note you played that you were hoping nobody had noticed. They’ll go back to their own band-mates and trade opinions. Sometimes they’ll surprise you and have something nice to say, and when they do, listen because they mean it. However, this doesn’t necessarily include the basic “great set, man!” that could be them just being nice. At the end of the day, you’re both fighting for the same cause, so friendships are easily made. If you’re a musician yourself, value these people and genuinely try to help one another out. As the great musical theatre artist Troy Bolton once said, “We’re all in this together.”
Whether you’re the Bar-side Bro, Mom and Dad, or Meshuggah-man, you’re all significant pieces to the local-music-scene puzzle. Your attendance is always appreciated and hopefully you hear a thing or two that you enjoy. Keep showing up. Socialize with the people around you. Buy someone a beer and encourage them to pay it forward. You’re all there for some sort of a common reason, so keep the scene friendly and help nurture its growth.
Except Out-of-Place Girlfriend. Seriously, have a girl’s night.