I went to see Buried in Verona last night, fully intending to write a review. However, I wound up leaving before they even came on stage. My friends informed me that their frontman buggered his ankle and collapsed on stage, leaving the other band members and members of the audience to cover vocals. As for what I did see, Fit For a King were a boring cookie-cutter band, Feed Her to the Sharks were fun but let down by an awful mix, Ocean Grove were the surprise packet of the night and I don’t even remember the opening band’s name and I can’t be arsed to Google it.
The point is that I’m only 23 and I’m already feeling too old for small pub shows. The worst bit was that last night was an 18+ show and I still felt out of place. I’m not talking about big-scale shows, like Parkway Drive, Bruce Springsteen or Jason Mraz. I’m talking the dingy little shows at small local venues with a bunch of nobodies playing and pulling a crowd of 200 people, max. So, in lieu of the gig review, I’m going to suggest some signs that you’re getting too old for these kinds of shows.
The Changes in Band Prominence Annoy You
When I first started going to (metal/hardcore) concerts, there was only Parkway Drive merch. Half the audience on a given night would be wearing Parkway merch of some description, and most of the bands would be, too. Now, the merch is all Northlane. All of it. There was only one Parkway shirt last night. The fact that I notice things like this, and that it annoys me, shows that this is not somewhere I should be frequenting with any regularity.
“So help me, keep it up and I’ll give you a sound thrashing with my umbrella.”
When You’ve Seen the Band Multiple Times and Everyone Else is at Their First Show
Buried in Verona are from Sydney and they’ve been around for a good while now. I was talking to some people and they said they’d never been to a see BIV before. I’ve seen them four times now, purely because they hopped on so many tours when they started that it was sort of impossible not to encounter them at some stage. I had a similar experience at Parkway a couple of years ago, where I heard some kid say “I’ve never seen Parkway before!” and I’m here thinking “gyraaaaghh this is my eighth time seeing them.” When there are people who haven’t seen the band at all and you’re nearing double digits, it may be time to back down a bit, son.
Lest Lady Law get the wrong impression.
When You Refuse to Participate
I didn’t encounter any of this last night, but I sure as hell did at For Today a couple of weeks ago: all the little scene kids were deliberately moshing near to the people (like me) who were standing on the side in the ‘I don’t have time for this crap’ section. There was a time when, if someone did that, I would have walked in and either moshed as hard as I could near them as a warning or just waited til they got too close and given them a ‘physical prompt’ (normally in the shape of a reasonably violent shove back into the pit). Now, I just stand there and stare fiercely at them, like I would a queue jumper.
Apparently I’m becoming British in my mid twenties.
I did, however, experience this last night: when Feed Her to the Sharks called for people to ‘come up the front’ or ‘open this place up’, I actually responded by yelling ‘No!’ at them. Forget British, I’m becoming my damn father. What is this crap? That’s the band, the entertainer, the reason I paid to go, suggesting that I get my money’s worth, and I stand there and refuse. If my 17-year-old self could see me now…
He’d be too busy ‘studying’ to notice.
When the Very Idea of Mosh Pits Turns You Off and Set Times Bring You to Your Knees
Perhaps the most important part of my realisation that, like so many grizzled old sergeants who get partnered with a reckless young rookie who doesn’t play by anybody’s rules but his own, I’m getting too old for this shit is the late night thing. I used to go to shows before doors opened, get right in the middle of the floor during the opening band and stay there for the whole thing. It didn’t matter how many bands or how long the sets were. I moshed my little heart out. I’d go to a show at 7pm, leave at midnight and wake up at 5:30am and go fight a bear in a cage.
I may have overestimated my odds a touch.
Now, I look at mosh pits as an inconvenience full of sweaty, inebriated and illiterate borderline-rapists who will take it upon themselves to violate me, and the late nights are a Herculean trial rather than a position of the hands of a clock. When I saw that BIV weren’t finishing til midnight, I felt a little bit of despair well up inside me. I bailed because damn it, I need sleep and I ain’t gonna get it here. So I left before the headlining act and never regretted it for an instant (although I’m fairly certain that a contributing factor may be the fact that every tie I’ve seen BIV, they’ve been about as captivating as a soiled mattress in a dumpster, and even more difficult to endure close proximity).
This must have taken at least an hour to come up with.
And so we come to the final point:
You Make a Conscious Decision to Never Go to One Again
Yeah. I’m never going to one of these stupid club shows again. Unless one of my Big Three bands (August Burns Red, Oh, Sleeper or Make Them Suffer) play one of those venues, I’m giving it a miss. I’ve hit that age where I need to get up for work and I ain’t got time for this crap. So what I’m saying is, when other people’s clothes annoy you, when scene kids annoy you, when mosh pits themselves make you scowl and when set times make you want to walk away, then it’s time to walk away.