Dear Indie Children of the Corn,
All things considered, I am glad you attended The Decemberists’ show Monday night. You were there, after all. You were not watching The Pussycat Dolls (who I believe to be mute Victoria’s Secret mannequins outfitted with clever, clever engineering) undulate their mechanical way into the hearts of the unsuspecting American consumer. You were not paying to see Fergie “The Man” Pea historicize her “London Bridge” in desperate entendre that romance novel writers would reject on grounds of “complete lack of subtlety.”
No, you were at the same show as I was—a darn good show in which multi-talented musicians performed well-written, original music. Stylishly. Fully clothed. With only a tiny bit of tasteful undulation.
Now maybe we had different reasons for attending the show, and maybe this introductory section will be the only part of this piece in which I attempt to be charitable, but hey, golf claps and faint praise all around, okay? Bask for a moment.
Okay, on to the business at hand. While I appreciate the fact that you, a small pack of walking prepubescent hormones, actually attended a decent show, I would have rather have remained unenlightened as to your presence in my immediate vicinity.
You see, kids, there is a sort of unwritten etiquette for concertgoers. Kind of a natural law apprehended by just about anyone with a modicum of self-awareness and consideration for their surroundings.
Obviously, I’m not describing you. Thus, I’m attempting codification:
1. Thou shalt not attempt to push past those nearest to the stage in order to acquire a better vantage point during the first few minutes of the headliners’ show.
Those situated in the immediate area around the stage have earned their place by arriving early and tolerating a marginally talented and / or wretched opening band.
You, conversely, did not appear until after the opening band. That you might better understand why this is so important, let me tell you a little bit about Monday’s opener, Lavender Diamond.
Picture a young, drunk Loretta Lynn on Valium, pontificating in dulcet sing-song tones about her junior high experiences, The Cure, and her inability to smell the audience, all while wearing your grandmother’s prom dress and her great grandmother’s jewelry … swaying and pirouetting in time to some imaginary drunken ballet directed by Elizabeth Taylor.
Yeah. For the first five minutes, my only thoughts circled around the hope that she’d shaved her underarms.
It’s not that she didn’t have a pretty voice – she really did. But when she sang, she contorted her face to the point where she could have passed for an extra in The Great Mouse Detective. And when she stopped singing, it got worse. Think desperate Garden State aficionado intent on emulating Natalie Portman’s character’s quirks with none of her charmâ€¦
Oh, and add a side of blow.
“See how charming and unpretentious I am?” soon became “SEE HOW CHARMING AND UNPRETENTIOUS I AM?!! LA LA LA LA LUU LLAAAA! *cartwheel*”
The thing is, I stood through her act â€“ I clapped when she finished, and I waited (in heels) for the Decemberists to come on. For a long time.
You did not.
No, you showed up as The Decemberists took the stage, and then, with the innocence of youth, attempted to push past both my friends and my newfound show-friends. We experienced a moment of group bonding, traded looks of utter disgust full of our parents’ age-old “kids these days” sentiment and formed a wall of cynicism and distrust—making sure Generation Why Won’t You Stop Talking didn’t trespass our borders.
Because, um, our view of the rockstar would have been seriously obstructed.
Ahem. And, judging by the fact that I repeatedly heard the world “grillz” with an emphasis on the ‘z’ used unironically from the sector behind the Society of Old Angry People (or S.O.A.P, as in what we’d like to use to wash out your mouth), our minds would have taken quite the hit as well. I’d rather lose brain cells in far more entertaining ways, thank you. And don’t think all that loud quoting of Pitchfork made me feel better about you, your brain and your eyeliner, because, yeah, I was actually born when Justin Timberlake was originally popular, and thus your dissertation on his current state of indie cred rings a tad bit empty. But I digress.
I realize that my points have been a little subtle here, so I’ll recap: 1) No attempt to arrive early = no cush front row spot. 2) If you attempt to garner that cush ront row spot, everyone around you will hate you, and grow to love each other. This is bad news for you. One well-sloshed beer and it’s all over for that lacey-webby-it’s-not-fashion-it’s-art thing you’re sporting as a bodice. 3) Man, I sound old.
2. Thou shalt not pretend that you are elbowing your way past me on your own, coaxing me into a false state of security and grace, then “save” a spot with your elbows, bad breath and sheer mass for your boyfriend and 14 of your annoying, unsanitary or unconscionably tall friends to join you as there is “PLENTY OF ROOM. SERIOUSLY!!! THEY DON’T CARE. I CANNOT MAKE OUT WITH YOU IN AN INVASIVE PUBLIC MANNER IF YOU ARE THAT FAR AWAYYYY. “
Oh, how we do care. And we care more when you begin to make out in an invasive public manner, â€˜cause seriously, no one wants to see that. I’m glad you’re his adolescent Red Right Ankle and he’s your teenage Engine Driver, butâ€¦ take it outside. Like, to Cambodia. If I wanted a tongue-bath, I’d have asked, and to be frank, he doesn’t look like he’s enjoying it either. You’re ruining both romance and a good song for me at the same time (Much like Lavender Diamond! Connection! ), and that, well… that I can’t forgive.
Also, that Cambodia outing? Take your friends with you. I stepped politely aside for you, not your colony, and I swear by the fact that I am 3 feet taller than you that I will, I WILL become That Person who helpfully yells out song suggestions for the band, just in case they’ve not managed to come up with a set list sometime in the duration of the tour, or, you know, have managed to entirely forget their repertoire. “PLAY MARINER’S REVENGE SONG!!!!” in your ear. All night. Those who take advantage may often experience side effects of inner ear bleeding, intense frustration, and, eventually, despair. Weigh the opportunity cost very carefully.
That’s it for now.
Jennifer, for all of the S.O.A.P.
Jennifer Carden is a contributing writer for Patrol.
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