One of the funnest experiences a music lover can have is going to a show with a group of friends. It becomes a permanent memory, a shared experience that even as life experiences diverge, you can always point back to. Specific shows I keep returning to include seeing Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in London with some besties (still have the shirt. Yeah, THAT shirt), a Pixies reunion show with my little sister at Bumbershoot, Ladytron in Bristol (many of my favorite memories involve not the Northwest) and Camarojuana in my basement, which is the reason I am goddamn deaf. These are memories I will always share with my friends.
Let me posit an even funner thing: going to a show alone.
I know! I know! There’s a stigma about doing things without social back up, without someone to comiserate, to laugh with, and most importantly, to be seen with. Like, if you show up somewhere alone, it is embarrassing.
I disagree. It’s awesome. Here’s why:
1.) You Are Only Embarrassed For Yourself
If concerts function as a social opportunity for you, there is a chance you’ll be running into folks you are both excited to see and kinda dreading seeing. Unless your concert pals are thoroughly versed in your various social labyrinths, (which, don’t verse them, it’s boring) you will either spend a lot of time making unnecessary introductions, or leaving your friends to talk to your other friends. If you are alone, you can choose whether to go say hi or studiously avoid, based entirely on your own mood.
2) You Can Drink, Or Not, On Your Own Schedule
Most show venues are both overpriced and understaffed. There are a billion people wanting drinks, and two grumpy bartenders to serve them to you. This means that if you are with friends, every time you go to the bar you will buy for the whole party, and figure things out at the end of the night. It also means that if you’re at a crowded show, you or your friends will spill drinks on strangers as you or they awkwardly elbow their way back to the prime spot you picked for the headlining band.
If you don’t drink, you will end up driving.
3) You Can Leave If It Sucks
It’s that simple. You don’t like it, you can go without ruining anyone’s night.
4) You Can Enjoy Yourself If It’s Good
One of the perks of going to shows with friends is making jokes and talking shit.
Look at that guys hair. These openers, huh? I liked them better when they were called_____. I bet they got that shirt at Urban Outfitters. This person dancing in front of us should really have her own YouTube channel. Take that shit viral! God, doesn’t anyone wear anything besides black? I take it back! That guy is in cargo shorts! Fuck that guy.
Weirdly enough, as I go to fewer shows, I actually want to enjoy them. Increasingly, I’m able to forgive a bass players awkward stance, cliched stage banter, or the out-of-place folks who are getting a little too into it. I’m not here to prove to myself that everything sucks, I’m here to have a good time. Too many of my friends have gotten increasingly jaded and impossible to please, making show attendance with them fucking insufferable.
5) You Can Feel However You Want About Any Of The Things
If music is an emotional experience for you, or you have a connection to a performer, you might get feels at a show. When you go with someone who is also getting said feels, or who is gracious enough to support you in your feels, that’s great. When your concert buddies were just bored and don’t really like the band, communicating why said band playing “THAT SONG” is a big deal quickly becomes torturous for all involved. Some favorite bands of mine are coming to town in the next few months and I’m opting to go alone for this reason. They’re my band and I’ll cry/laugh/freak out if I want to.
I could go on, but I’m expecting to meet some friends for a concert at the Showbox.
If they can’t make it, that’s fine too.
Also published on Medium.