I went to see My Brightest Diamond perform this weekend at the Orpheum Stage Door Theatre here in town. I was there both because I really enjoy their music and because I was reviewing it for 77 Square. And while I generally had a good time and thought the musicians did an excellent job, there was one exception.
You know the one. That ridiculously drunk and/or high individual in the crowd who decides that the show should be about them, and not the band on stage.
Oh yes, there's one at every show. Somehow, too, I have the unfortunate ability to always end up right next to them. It was a girl this time, about three people to my left, and she was rip-roaring drunk from the beginning of their set to the end, when someone finally, mercifully, pulled her out.
Experiencing That Person at a show is an interesting study in sociology, both for how that individual acts and why, and also for how the people around them respond. Most of the time, especially at quieter shows like this one, the prevailing attitude seems to be one of passive aggressive annoyance. If she'd been at a metal show, she'd have been drowned out by the music. A person causing trouble at a punk show would have been rewarded with an elbow to the stomach or a boot to the junk.
In our case, though, passive aggressive annoyance reigned. During any break between songs, or just a particularly quiet section of music, she'd blurt out things like "Thank you for coming to the Orpheum Stage Door Theatre! Wisconsin loves you!" and "You are the best singer of 2008!" as though she had been hired to provide running (if painfully dull) commentary. And through all of this, there were two people who I was pretty sure were friendly with her, and they too failed to do anything to get her to stop.
It wasn't until the final song of the night--a particularly mellow and heartfelt piece--that the crowd began to actively shush her. And her reply? "They want me to shut the fuck up!" shouted really loudly.
I guess I just don't understand the mindset that leads to this kind of attention whoring. Even at my drunkest (which, admittedly, doesn't happen very often) I don't feel compelled to yell out inanities in the middle of shows. There are plenty of drunken fools who can keep quiet and/or be relatively inoffensive in public. So what leads that select few to show up and attempt to fuck things up for everyone else? And why must there be at least one at every g'damn concert I go to?
I'm tempted to start treating all of these situations as though they're punk rock shows.
But I end with this: Please, please, for the love of all that is good in this world, don't be That Guy/Girl. No one is there to see or hear you. At best, you tick off a whole crowd of people who will secretly hate you forever. At worst, you get kicked in the junk. Why risk it?