The Oil Slick: The Worst Parts of Going to a Concert (It's Not the Band)

by John Grimley
Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 7:25am

Everyone loves a good concert.

You know, those rare times the artists on stage are having as much fun as people out in the crowd, and it changes from an event to an experience. It's something Facebook photos don't get close to describing.

Concerts are the ultimate music-appreciation service, but as music is evolving so that even your grandma can effortlessly get her Bieber fix from iTunes, sometimes concerts seem a little less inviting.

While in line to go to a concert, the first thing you notice is that there's a lot of waiting going on. It's hours of standing around, holding a stale beer and hoping to catch a glimpse of the curtain opening or maybe a guitarist coming on stage.

At most concerts, the time between sets is way too long. I get that music is a complex thing and some bands have complicated setups, but milling around an over-priced bar for an hour between artists sucks.

When the music finally arrives, sometimes the opening act seems just wrong, somehow. Some openers are amazing, CSS going in front of Sleigh Bells was one of the best one-two punches I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. However, sometimes the opener is so blatantly a newly signed group for the record label that the pairing doesn't seem to make a lick of sense. Watching a slow and melodic band open for the tempest that is a Wolfmother show feels wrong on all levels.

Even when all the bands on the list are amazing and your face is being appreciably rocked, fellow concert-goers can be perplexing. Fans are normally great, supportive people who have payed a lot of pretty pennies to see some guitar solos. Then there are the amateur cinematographers, who feel it's their god-sworn duty to capture the whole spectacle on phone, and proudly hold that damn thing in the air the entire show.

If you haven't seen one of those, you probably get to see the moshers. Moshing is well and good at a Killswitch Engage concert, but watching people try to form a mosh pit to Broken Bells makes it seem like they're only there to throw a sweaty body into other sweaty bodies. If that's the case, Craigslist has way cheaper options.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Kings of Leon just announced some new shows, and those suckers always sell out.

John Grimley writes The Oil Slick blog for GuitarWorld.com.