Whether you're catching a local band at a low-key bar or escaping to a three-day festival with your closest friends, everyone can benefit from a little skillful planning before a show. Join us as we break down a few simple ways to elevate your next live concert.
From what to bring to where to stand to what to please not ever do, here are five pearls of intel to stow away for a not-rainy day. The kind you plan on spending outdoors with an entirely-too-loud band you're into...
1. Do your research beforehand.
Unless you're catching Phish for the twelfth time, or are finally getting to see your college-age musical obsession whose oeuvre you've exhausted in every sense, you could always benefit from brushing up on the opener and main acts' new work before the show. Live shows can be more enjoyable when with you're familiar with the bands' most recent album and lyrics. Or if you're catching something electronic, it'll help to be familiar with the sort of vibe you're in for. If only to know what date to bring.
2. Dress light. Accessorize light.
Leave everything but the essentials—credit card, keys, phone—at home. And layering is key here. Light jacket for when you first show up. Henley for that first few awkward bobs of the head. T-shirt for when you're all-in.
3. Don't be obsessed with inching too close.
Being inches away from an artist you're into sounds good in theory, but in reality, the sound is much better when you're further back in the crowd. And you'll have some space to move around to boot. Plus you're also closer to the bar, for when your friend needs that third beer. You're so thoughtful.
4. Wear earplugs.
No matter what venue you're in, the speakers are pumped up with the intention of blasting ears even in the far reaches of the room. Which means if you're not in the far reaches of the room, it's a whole lot of decibels for your ears to negotiate. Invest in a modern pair of earplugs. You won't feel like you're underwater, and you'll be preserving your ability to hear. Total bonus.
5. Put your phone down.
Everybody. Please. Filming eight songs of the set may sound like an ingenious plan to become the next D.A. Pennebaker, but you're probably not going to end up watching a minute of it in the end. Draw the line after a couple photos, and try to live in the moment.
Our world (and the encore) will be better for it.