One species, humanity; a mass collective we seem to identify with that knows no nation, no boarders and yet we still prove how separated we are. Be whatever your choice of media is, you can watch, read, or listen to the news almost anywhere and see insurmountable evidence of how abhorrent we are to each other. You can look every which way and see some of the same old bigotry with a different splash of paint. These days it seems daunting just to list them all and yet we find various things that we have in common. We have our interests, our preferred forms of entertainment. We find ourselves reunited under ideals with our own little tribes. Fans of various things band together to share feelings of joy. Some of us have nothing that connects us save for a single thing we love. Music seems to be a large source of unity for many. Genres, bands, we all flock together en mass for a night of entertainment before a chosen musician. It’s not a matter of what you enjoy as long as you enjoy it.
In the past year, it has become blindingly apparent that concert etiquette is not only relatively unknown but widely ignored. From the pits to lines for merchandise, we build our personal walls high and stand at the ready to blame others for any mistakes and transgressions we enact upon others. Accidentally hit someone? Well they should have gotten out of your way. Force your way in front of someone to snap yourself a picture? They should stop interfering with your shot. Bump into a wheelchair? What is a wheelchair doing at a concert? Maybe they should be segregated in the back. It is a wonderful thing to enjoy yourself at a show. Yet, if you have ever thought any of these questions, you are infringing on the happiness and enjoyment of your fellow audience. They have as much of a right to be there as you do.
Then I hear someone crying out, “But this is a concert! What did you expect? If you can’t handle it, don’t bother coming!” Before I go any further, let me address that by saying, “Fuck you and see yourself out!!!” I’m no stranger to shows and I could have sworn I’d seen it all. Then last night happened at the Andy Black show. As much as I’d like to tell you how good/bad/indifferent it was, I can’t bring myself to do it. Some of the audience made sure it was mighty hard to focus on the music. I watched as the crowd stumbled past my mother, who has a bad foot and was in a wheelchair, trip over that aforementioned bad food without pause or effort of apology. We tried warning as many as we could. We asked nicely, we threatened harm, and by the end the filter was gone and there was no more energy to stop from berating you to your face because you were a careless idiot. I got yelled at, treated like my existence was the problem, shown that wheelchairs don’t belong at concerts. I will readily challenge anyone who thinks I don’t belong at a show. Now, some people said some stupid things, suggested there should be a “place” for “us” (and if that doesn’t sound like segregation, I obviously don’t know what the word means), and then had a special snowflake (and grown adult) challenge us in the most passive aggressive manner I’ve seen to date.
To preface a bit, a family of three tried getting close for Andy Black. We warned their daughter, nicely, twice to be careful all while she stared at me like a deer in headlights. Her parent’s not far behind, watching, letting the girl press on and kick my mother’s foot. You know, the bad one? She screamed in pain and we yelled at the girl. Why? Well, because we asked her twice not too but she was too busy staring at my ugly mug and her parents could only be bothered to come down on us for yelling at their offspring. So through the set, Daddy dearest decided to be the buffer between his wife, child and us as he slowly moved closer and closer back against us. Eventually he started moving back and kicked my mother’s foot. The Missus put a hand on his back to try and stop him from hurting her and all we got was a “Don’t touch me!”
What really pisses me off about the whole situation was what started as us trying to make sure we all could have a good, pain free time turned into a passive aggressive mope-fest from a grown man. Personally, I hope his kid had a good time. Yet, for him… well I can only hope he knows such lack of respect when he’s older. It still eludes me as to why someone would go out of their way to inflict pain on a complete stranger. Even worse, try to do so at a show where we should all be having fun. Every attempt we made to ask him to be careful was blown off and treated with aggression by what I’m categorizing as a true example of the elusive man-baby in the wild. In the meantime, I will not stop going to shows and I’d like to see my mother enjoy them too. I will not stop existing because someone thinks I’m an inconvenience. In retrospect, I find some humor in the fact that I’ve seen more love and respect at a punk show which is stereotypically wild and violent than at an Andy Black show where I saw a sea of teens fangasming at the charismatic and cocky talent on stage.