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The Downbeat: Mosh pit etiquette

By Purbita Saha
On March 7, 2012

Word to the wise: If you're going to a concert, don't act like a jerk.

People pay up to hundreds of dollars to see their favorite artists perform. They don't give up their hard-earned wages to see you flipping your hair back and forth or sucking the face of your significant other. I don't want to detract from the fun, but there are some guidelines for politeness that every concertgoer should consider before jitterbugging it and rocking out as if there's no tomorrow.

First of all, when singing along to a live performance make sure you know what's coming out of your mouth. Don't feel free to substitute your own words and make up lyrics along the way, especially if you're belting into the ear of the person in front of you. If you don't know the good stuff, then it's best that you either clam up or mouth the word "watermelon" so that it seems like you're a true fan. And please don't try and turn instrumental harmonies into vocal parts. There is a reason why trumpets, trombones and saxophones were invented. If the human voice were capable of making such a wide range of sounds, orchestras wouldn't have to worry about going bankrupt, mainly because they wouldn't even exist.

Secondly, adjust your level of brazenness to match the mood of the concert. If you're on the floor at a belligerent rap show or a delirious techno festival, then feel free to push and shove your way to the best spot in the house. But if you're attending a laid-back, indie-pop or folk performance, such aggressiveness is considered barbaric. For these instances there's the general understanding that floor space is first come, first serve. So don't step on everyone's leather oxfords and quilted loafers just so you and your friends can pose for some sweaty profile pictures in the front of the stage.

On the topic of pictures, please refrain from holding your iPhone up above the crowd and recording your entire concert. It's okay if you snap a few shots as the band is coming out on stage and the lead singer is forcing some banter with the crowd. But blocking the view of the people behind you is pretty lame, especially when they're already annoyed about the unnecessary volume of hair on your head.

Lastly, and most importantly, if you're imbibing liquids of any sort, make sure you keep them to yourself. The guy next to me at Lupo's last Thursday did the complete opposite by offering me multiple sips of his shoddy beer throughout the night. He then proceeded to dump half a can on my blazer, just as fun. started to play its hit single "We Are Young." His apologies did nothing for me. I spent the rest of the night trying to make his life miserable by pushing him into a gaggle of annoying tween girls.

The moral of the story? When you spill on someone, run like hell.

There are no written rules on how to behave at a concert. Most venues are very lax, even when it comes to checking purses and bulging pockets. So take the designated freedom and capitalize on it, but don't abuse it.


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