Okay everyone, I am putting out the call for submissions IN A BIG WAY. We’re running on empty after this week, and I know there are some truly miserable concert experiences out there waiting to be told. Send yours in! Do it! The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. It can be your story, or somebody else’s, and if you want, it can be anonymous. Long or short—you decide. There’s my plea, and I pray you answer the call to save our franchise.
This week, we’ve got a four-pack of stories for your amusement. We’ll begin in Canada, just to see if we can shatter an entire country’s reputation for politeness:
Went to see Feist in Montreal 2 years ago…great music, great vibe…what killed it was the overweight French Canadian in our line of sight who smelled like he hadn’t washed in weeks. It was awful. Two hours of this guy inches away with no room to breathe (sold out show). Talk about being visually and aurally stimulated. To have this raunchy ass smell (literally) for two hours. Ruined the experience. If you’re going to a tight indoor venue…shower and change your clothes.
Look, Tim, a man has to sweat out his poutine somewhere, and a crowded Feist show seems like a logical choice. Ahhhh poutine. So good. Also, read ahead, because the giant concert-disturber turns out not to be an isolated incident.
I saw Mumford & Sons in August with some friends in Burgettstown, Pa. We had scored a front section of lawn seating so we were pretty excited, but we later found out that only meant swarms of drunkies would keep piling up behind us. Some hippie chick kept swirling her arms around in slow motion by my girlfriend (and repeatedly stumbling into her in the process), people kept cutting in front of the chain fence to block our view and start smoking (when of course we were downwind), and to top it all off my roommate’s tiny fiancee was almost knocked to the ground by a 300 lb drunk man behind her, not once but twice. Besides all that, it was an amazing set!
In September of 2010, I was seeing a show in St. Louis, folk singer Laura Veirs at Off Broadway, which is a small music club. The capacity is probably 200 or so.
The opening act, I believe, was the Watson Twins. We’re talking another folk group here, all acoustic and pretty restrained. It’s an intimate show and there are probably less than 100 people there.
During the openers, I’m up in the small balcony area relaxing when I begin to notice a disturbance of sorts on the floor in front of the stage. I look down and see there is a huge guy down there with a lot of space around him.
He was a very large, egg-shaped guy with dark hair. I remember clearly that he was wearing a royal purple dress shirt and bright red tie, which immediately jumped out at me as a very odd color combination. And he was dancing.
Now, when I say “dancing,” what I mean is “slowly rotating in circles with his arms out, like a very slow-moving top.” It was one of the strangest dances I’ve ever seen, particularly because of how slow it was. He was taking roughly 5-10 seconds for every revolution, like some kind of small planetoid. As he did this, he would drift first in one direction and then the other, which had created a huge space around him on the floor. Other people were looking on with “What the hell is going on?” looks on their faces.
As I watched, I saw how the dancer began to bump into people. He never even acknowledged that he was coming into contact with anyone, he would just rebound and continue on his way. A group of girls was on one edge of the floor, and instinctively they joined hands in a row, forming a sort of four-person chain. Seemingly sensing some sort of passive resistance, the dancer PLOWED THROUGH THEM like he was playing “red rover,” breaking the chain and continuing on like nothing just happened.
Now, this is all happening while a two-woman folk group is crooning soft songs about railroads. The dancing guy wasn’t the “strangest dancer,” he was the only one dancing, because it really wasn’t, you know, dance music. By this point, even the women on stage could be seen looking at this guy, but they’re in the middle of doing a set. They can’t be expected to police the dance floor.
And so, I started asking myself “Am I going to have to be the one to confront this guy?” I was there at the show by myself and this guy weighed twice as much as me, so I didn’t particularly want to inherit that responsibility. But when it became apparent that nobody else was going to, I figured it was my duty.
And so, I walked straight up to this guy on the dance floor and tapped him on the back, even as he continued to twirl. He turned to face me, and I said something to the effect of:
“Look, man. You’ve got to cut it with the dancing. We each get roughly this much motions around me personal space at these things, and that’s it. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to dance you can’t get in the way.”
The guy didn’t say a single word in response. He just stared at me with a hurt and confused look on his face. Then he sulked his way off the floor and actually sat down on the side of the stage, which is just as bad, but I figured the band could dispose of him from there if they wanted.
He strikes again, this time in St. Louis! And he seems to prefer shows with female singer-songwriters or a folk bent. The Concert Sasquatch has delicate tastes.
My worst concert experience: You guys at Paste probably will not like this brief one because you probably like the band. I went to a show at the Aragon here in Chicago by a band I liked a lot, the Psychedelic Furs, it was 1983-84-ish. The backup band was the big disappointment. The band came out, three skinny English men came & played only synthesizers, and then the light footed dancing singer floated onstage & proceeded to “turn on” the rhythm section, a reel-to-reel tape machine. This isn’t rock ‘n’ roll, where’s the bass & drums?!? The girls loved the pretty boy dancing singer as he started to sing some real depressing music. When the singer introduced the band name I thought he said “depressed crud”. My friend told me the correct name, Depeche Mode. & the rest of the story is rock history. (change that, rock is history) These guys became huge, their genre became huge, and great rock music has died at the hands of these English wimps who call themselves goth.
The Phantom Grabber
The Handhold Switcheroo
The Accidental Threesome