3hree Things: Concert-Goers That I Could Happily Do Without

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.

​I love live music. I always have.

In the 90's I'd go to every show I could afford to. Most were of the punk rock, metal, and/or hardcore variety, and my goal at those shows was just as centered around blowing off steam as it was actually listening to the music. 

(Note: 35-year-old me thinks that 20-year-old me was a colossal dipshit. I'm sure many of you feel similarly about the youthfully ignorant you. It's part of growing up. I'm sure 50-year-old me will think 35-year-old me was a blowhard pile of beer weight. Furthermore, the 70-year-old me probably will be too tired and decrepit to give a damn about any of my prior ages.) 

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Thankfully, my mosh-at-all-costs/rock-shows-as-exercise days are well behind me and my live show experience has become a far more calm, collected, and observant exercise; focused on listening, learning, and appreciating what's actually happening in front of me. 

The downside of that is that my renewed awareness has also made me a little more cognizant of what's going on around me at these shows. And in many cases, what I see, hear, and smell is a little off-putting.

I went up to LA last week to see a couple of shows: S. Carey and The Tallest Man On Earth at The Music Box At The Fonda, and Menomena at the El Rey. Both shows were fantastic. 

I've been hooked on S. Carey's debut record, All We Grow, since it came out last month, and was pleasantly surprised that he pulled off the lush arrangements on the record in a live setting. Menomena's Mines might be my favorite record of 2010 thus far, and their inspiring hour-plus set at the El Rey was absolutely flawless. I'm still buzzing about it. But this 3hree Things is no show review. It's a look at a few types people that I could have done without at these shows.

1) Strangers That Feel The Need To Spark Up Conversation Whilst Urinating

3hree Things: Concert-Goers That I Could Happily Do Without

This is an epidemic that is not exclusive to rock shows. It's happening in public restrooms across the nation, and I can't stand it.


INT. EL REY MEN'S BATHROOM - NIGHT

A cacophany from one of the opening bands can be heard echoing through the tile-walled bathroom. Riley is urinating in one of four available urinals as Male Concert-goer #547 walks up and begins using the urinal next to him.

MALE CONCERT-GOER #547
(breathing heavily)

Whelp...You can't say they're not creative

RILEY
(pushing, so he can finish peeing quickly, avoid this conversation, and get in line for another $9 beer)

...

MALE CONCERT-GOER #547
(outstretching his right arm and placing his open palm on the wall high above the urinal for support)

You know what I mean?

RILEY
(checking MCG #547's ear to make sure he's not wearing a Bluetooth headset. He isn't)

...

FADE OUT.

THE END

If I'm in the bathroom, it's to take care of business, not talk about the creativity (or lack thereof) of the opening band. The only "shooting-of-the-shit" I want to do in a bathroom is in a purely literal sense, and in that case, at least I'd have the protection of a stall wall to keep me from being verbally assaulted by a stranger. 

Bottom line: The only people I want to talk to when I have my penis in my hand are my girlfriend, and perhaps a physician of some sort. (Note: Not at the same time.) Let's save the small talk for when we have our flies zipped and our pants buttoned, folks.


2) Gaseous Folks That Resort To Crop Dusting Crowded Rooms

3hree Things: Concert-Goers That I Could Happily Do Without

For those unfamiliar with the term, crop dusting (also known as the "click-and-drag" technique) is essentially farting while walking, in the hopes of disseminating the stench of said fart, and shirking the blame for it. 

This is a pandemic, has occured in some shape or form in roughly 67 percent of the shows that I've been to in the last five years. (Disclaimer: This percentage is an estimation based on data I've collected via mental notes, and should not be considered as fact.) 

At the Menomena show on Thursday night, someone was laying it on THICK in the area just to the left of the soundboard. It happened four or five times throughout the night, which would indicate the possibility that we had multiple offenders, but based on my untrained nose's scent-recognition capabilities, I think we may have been dealing with a lone gunman. 

The dustings were consistent, warm, musty, grassy, with a hint of egg, and had tremendous staying-power; the type of farts that straighten your spine and push your eyebrows up your forehead an inch or so. 

They were so potent that I'd go so far as to say it was the second most epic display of stealth farting I've ever had the misfortune of experiencing. (First place goes to a slightly overweight man that stood in front of me as I sat on a New York subway and farted IN MY MOUTH just before he exited the train.)

I'm all for a good fart here and there, but I am whole-heartedly opposed to unleashing them on the nostrils of innocent bystanders, especially when two far less cruel options for fartery (the bathroom, and an outdoor smoking area) are available less than a hundred feet away.

Sadly, there's probably no way to regulate this, especially since there is a fair number of people that view crop dusting as sport and enjoy the act immensely. Fart away, ye evil snipers.


3) Space Invaders

3hree Things: Concert-Goers That I Could Happily Do Without

I think we're all familiar with Space Invaders. They're usually found behind you in line; at the grocery store, when boarding a plane, at the airport security check, at the DMV, when ordering at a fast food joint, etc. They're everywhere. 


While I'd like to think that a personal space radius of roughly two feet is a reasonable expectation, the Space Invader shows total disregard for any personal space barrier whatsoever. He or she will stand as close as humaly possible to you, so close that you can feel their breath on the back of your neck, and the tips of their shoes touching your heels. The only way they could possibly stand any closer would be if they were to stand inside you. 

A not-so-distant cousin of the Space Invader is The Side Liner, who has been known to disregard the customary rules of single-file lines, and tries to weasel his or her way into said line by attacking from the flanks. From this position, they crowd the shit out of you until you succumb to their assholeishness and reluctantly allow them to slide in front of you. In many cases, it's an effective tactic, but wow is it a quick way to get someone (read: me) to want to skin you alive. 

In Tuesday night's case, an LA strain of the Space Invader was behind me in line at the bar. His breath was moistening the back of my neck. I could smell his dinner; a Mexican fare, hints of cilantro, perhaps something featuring carnitas as a protein. Every step I took forward in line was followed by the toe of his shoe hitting the back of mine. 

It's the closest I've ever felt to having a Siamese twin. Now, someone far more assertive than I would probably have politely asked him to back off a bit, or amiably told him to take a knee, but I'm not all that assertive (or polite) when dealing with Space Invaders, so I just let myself seethe on the inside, patiently waited in line, calmly ordered my drink, and decided to whine on the Internet a week after the fact.

Yet another reason why 50-year-old me will look back on 35-year-old me as a turd.


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