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Seven Types of Concert-Goers

If you’'re like me, or if you happen to be me, like I am, then you’'ve been to more than a few concerts in your time on this planet. I like to think that everyone who attends a concert is there primarily because of their immutable love for music. However, some people sure have a strange way of expressing that love. When observing the behavior of fellow concert-goers, certain patterns begin to emerge. I have condensed these behavioral patterns into seven basic types, and I hereby present them to you now.

1. The Aggressive Stander is the guy who finds it necessary to come and stand 2-3 inches in front of your face. It makes no difference where you'’re standing in relation to the stage - apparently you are standing exactly where this guy wants to stand, and he will do his best to occupy the same physical space as you. To make matters worse, The Aggressive Stander is typically a very tall and wide individual whose massive form will effectively obscure your view of everything except the back of his shirt. Many scientists theorize that this is the same type of person who comes and sits directly in front of you in an empty movie theater. Fortunately, The Aggressive Stander can be dealt with by headbanging vigorously. Due to his close proximity, this will create a battering-ram-like series of impacts in the small of his back.

2. The Circle Jerk is, quite simply, some jerk who won'’t stop marching around in a circle even after a moshpit has long since dissolved. Perhaps in his own mind, The Circle Jerk believes he has “won” the moshpit, and is now doing a victory dance of some sort. Or perhaps he is simply trying to taunt those around him into starting a new moshpit - we may never know. What is interesting to note is the strangely puppet-like stride and slanted stance of The Circle Jerk - his arms lurch to and fro, and his legs appear to be trying cartoonishly to run away under their own power. The Circle Jerk can be dealt with by spilling some water or beer in his circular path - this will “slip him up”, so to speak, and cause him to “fall on his ass”, so to speak.

3. The Conductor always stands front and center, right next to the stage, and elaborately waves his arms in time with the music, as if he is “conducting” the band. Although overly dramatic, this guy can actually be pretty entertaining, and to his credit, his behavior requires at least a rudimentary familiarity with the music that'’s being performed. Often aided by beer or a synthetic chemical drink known as Bud Light, he appears to be inundated with tangible waves of sound which inspire his every movement. Give The Conductor his space, and he can add to the concert experience rather than detracting from it.

4. The Cynic has seen it all before. The show that is currently going on is nothing compared to the shows he’'s seen. For him, this show is never THE show - there is always a better show from back in the day to unfavorably compare this show to. He stands motionless with his arms crossed, sizing up the band onstage with a smug detachment. When the song is over, he will not clap or cheer, although he may take a quick drink of his beer as if to acknowledge in some small way that something has taken place.

5. The Psychic Vampire is the evil version of The Conductor. He, too, appears to be aware of the soundwaves all around him, but his purpose is far more sinister. Instead of enthusiastically directing these vibrations back to the band, he seeks to steal this energy for his own gain by outstretching his hand in a claw-like formation and drawing it back towards himself. Over and over, he reaches into the air and steals more and more of the unsuspecting band’'s musical energy and stores it somewhere inside his head or chest for future personal use. Now you know why touring can be such a draining experience for musicians.

6. The Spazz or “spastic human” is the most dangerous and annoying of all the concert-goers, especially when he starts out as The Aggressive Stander and then morphs into The Spazz without warning. Picture this - The Aggressive Stander is busy standing 2-3 inches in front of your face, when suddenly the song reaches a lively crescendo. Suddenly the once-motionless figure erupts into a flurry of fists, knees, and elbows, as if succumbing to some form of bastardized interpretive dance. This may seem like an innocent display of impulsive behavior, but don’'t be fooled - The Spazz is a sadistic individual. Before the show, he probably says to himself, “"I think I’'ll wear my wifebeater and spiked wristbands tonight, so I can impale people and then excrete my salty sweat into their open wounds."” One way to tell if an Aggressive Stander might become a Spazz is to take note of whether he is a shorter, more compact individual, rather than a larger, wider fellow.

7. The Technical Headbanger likes to show off how well he can headbang to rhythmically complicated parts of a song. Blastbeasts, for example, often leave other headbangers confused, but The Technical Headbanger realizes that all he has to do is headbang in half-time to keep up with the tempo. While those around him are attempting to follow the double bass and subsequently causing ruinous damage to their neck muscles, The Technical Headbanger is keenly following the snare or hi-hat, thus conserving these valuable muscles.

So there you have it. Next time you’'re at a show, keep an eye out for these characters, and I'’m sure you’'ll be able to pick out at least a couple of them. Or you may find that you are one yourself. I know I sometimes fall into the category of The Technical Headbanger or The Cynic. In fact, being The Cynic is what allowed me to dispassionately observe the shenanigans of the crowd and eventually write this article. I’'m not condemning any of these types of people - I am merely cataloguing their behavior for my own amusement. Although, I must say, if you happen to be The Psychic Vampire, please stop trying to steal energy that isn’'t yours. Sheesh, just drink some Red Bull or something. You'’re supposed to be a fan of the band, or at least that’'s what I’'m assuming since you bought a ticket to the show, and here you are trying to suck the life out of these poor musicians. Seriously, you’'re giving non-psychic vampires a bad name. Grow up.

April 22, 2005
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