It was the annual Bazooka Rocks Festival over the weekend, and I’m proud to say I’ve been to all three of them! They switched it up this year and turned it into a two-day event, with older “high school era” bands playing on the first day, and younger bands playing on the second.
The audience was so different from day one to day two that it was kind of funny. Taking Back Sunday and The Used headlined day one, so the venue was packed with twenty-somethings reliving their “emo” days. Bands like The Summer Set and We Are The In Crowd played day two, so there were a lot of teenagers in the audience. I’m somewhere in the middle of those two, so I really enjoyed both days of the festival.
I’ve been to a pretty decent amount of shows to come up with my own list of rules that I follow when I go see bands, and I’m sure that everyone who’s into live music has their own variation of it. I’ve read a lot of different ones all over the internet—some I agree with, some, not so much. I figured I’d give my own take on it.
‘I have no one to go with’ is not an excuse to miss out on a show you want to see. Making friends at shows is one of the easiest things to do because you and all the people around you already have at least one thing in common. I can’t even tell you how many people I’ve had long and interesting conversations with while waiting for a band to go on stage. I still remember a girl telling me about meeting Nick Jonas in New York (and me being super jealous) at a This Century show two years ago, and just yesterday I exchanged stories with a girl who also went to Warped over the summer. I’m pretty bad with names, but I do remember good conversations.
Be nice to the opening act. They’re probably not the reason you bought the ticket, but remember that favorite bands were once opening acts too. Even if you’re not familiar with their music, be respectful and cheer for them anyway.
Don’t complain if people push you or step on you. It’s just what happens at these things. But also, don’t be a douche and push your way to the front if there’s clearly no room for you there. The people in front of you got there first, so don’t be rude.
Don’t worry about looking cool. I stole this one from Hank Green’s 13 Things to Know About Concerts video, but it’s so very true. And I quote, “It’s not about looking cool. It’s about being excited about something together with other people who are also excited about it.”
It’s still fun watching from the back. There comes a point where you just get tired of trying to get as close to the stage as possible. This has been happening to me a lot lately, and I’ve learned that it actually sounds much better at the back. Standing near the sound booth is the sweet spot, because you get to hear what the sound techs hear.
If it’s your favorite song, put the camera away. This is the one rule I swear by. Live music is meant to be an experience, and it gets hindered by our need to document every moment. Hearing Death Cab For Cutie play I Will Follow You Into The Dark live a few years ago was such a magical moment for me. I remember finding a video of that exact performance a few days later, but watching it was nothing compared to actually being there. Taking photos and videos is fine, but know that it’s completely okay to not capture everything. (But please don’t use iPads. I don’t want to watch the show through your screen.)
It’s been a long while since I’ve been to a gig, and I’m really happy I made my way to this one. So great hanging out with a bunch of old friends over some really good music. Really stoked for the future of these artists. :)
One thing I was really crossing my fingers for was an Andrew McMahon show in the SoCal area. For the past few months, I’d been obsessively checking his website for some kind of announcement because I was so let down that he was only playing a certain tour’s east coast dates. He announced some headliner shows after that, but none of them were in California.
The stars all aligned on my last Monday morning in Burbank. (I’m trying to not make this sound so dramatic.) I was usually never up so early, but since I came from New York the night before, my body clock was still in a different time zone. Andrew tweeted that he was going to have a show that Wednesday in West Hollywood. That was in two days. Just thirty minutes away from me. In a two hundred capacity venue. Yeah, I freaking the eff out.
I was jumping up and down and running all over the apartment being way too excited and purchased my ticket right away without really thinking. This was Andrew McMahon. There was no way I was missing out!
The show was at the held at the legendary Viper Room, where River Phoenix died of a drug overdose back in 1993. I heard the venue was tiny, but it was still a lot smaller than I expected—which meant that no matter where you stood, you had a good view of the stage. It was the perfect place to see one of my all-time favorite musicians for the first time.
I was set on going to places I missed out on last time around. Though I didn’t get to stroll through Central Park or get my fill of Serendipity 3’s Frozen Hot Chocolate this year, I found even more places in the city to fall in love with.
My absolute favorite place we visited was Governors Island. Though technically still part of Manhattan, it takes a ten minute ferry ride to get there. The island used to be closed to the public as a military base for almost two centuries, but a huge chunk of it was sold to the people of New York since then and has been transformed into a beautiful park and public space.
I went with my friends Joyce and Jim again, along with their cousin Paul. The first thing we did was rent bikes, and I managed to get my hands on an adorable light blue Cruiser, complete with a basket in front. The view of the skyline from the island was amazing, and it only got better the more we went around. We kept pointing out specific spaces to each other and said, “You can get married here! …Or here!”—pretty much every ten minutes. We decided that whoever gets married next gets married in Governors Island.