- Lighters have been replaced by cell phones to show appreciation for the band
- If you want to document your concert-going experience, download a video-sharing app
- Instead of using the phone portion of your mobile, stick to texting
Going to see live music has always been wrought with frustrations -- and now, along with the ogre who appears in front of you as soon as the band takes the stage, mosh pits and the dreaded "all ages" show -- you've got smartphones. Yup, it's society's technological crack pipe, without which we'd all be fiending freaks, tapping vaguely at the air in agonizing fits of withdrawal.
Mobile phones can add flavor to a show when a band has gotten hip to technology -- for instance, jam band Umphrey's McGee regularly holds a "UMBowl" live show during which fans can do things such as text requests for songs. And bands such as Data Romance have started giving away free tunes via Bluetooth. But for the most part, a phone is about as welcome during a live show as this poor woman's failed Beyonce singalong.
Here are three instances in which you should put your smartphone on hold.
The unofficial photographer
Remember when folks used to raise their lighters aloft to show appreciation for the band busting their hearts to shreds up there on the hallowed stage? Well, now said lighters have been replaced by cell phones (and, in some horrifying cases, iPads.)
We understand the urge to take a quick snap of a show to prove that you were there -- all those "likes" and comments on Instagram are like the crack in the aforementioned crack pipe -- but must you hold your iPhone above your head the entire show, blindly shooting into the ether?
Unless you're super close to the lip of the stage (in which case you're blinding the poor theremin player with your insistent flash), those shots you keep pumping out can't be that good. And, more importantly, you're likely blocking someone's view. Even worse is if you're taking video rather than photos, steadily shooting for the entire 30-minute set. (And, really, when are you ever going to watch that tinny, bottom-of-a-well video?)
If you're so down to document your concert-going experience, might we suggest downloading video-sharing app Viddy rather than using your phone's native camera? Viddy only allows you to shoot for 15 seconds, which is just about the cut-off point where posterity-making becoming perturbing.
Bonus: A lot of bands use the platform and some, such as Panic! At The Disco, have held contests where they crowdsourced concert footage for music videos. Participate in one of those, and you can knock that "un" off of "official."
We reaaaally shouldn't have to say this at this point, but when you're at a show, talking on the phone is not OK. Yeah, most concerts are so eardrum-bursting that you'll likely wreck your voice from all that singing along (or guttural screaming upon seeing your favorite musician gyrate his hips), but somehow that dude next to you yelling, "What?! Where are you? I'm to the left of the guy in the Easter hat who smells strongly of pot. To the LEFT!" cuts through all the clutter.
Instead of using the phone portion of your mobile (who does that, anyway?), just do what the teens do and stick to texting. There's tons of group-texting apps that allow you to chat with all of your concert-going friends at the same time -- Fast Society for Android and iOS was created for this very purpose. Go ahead and download FS so that no wo/man will be left behind -- or stuck behind the dude in the Easter hat. Sidenote: Take off hats at shows, especially if you are the aforementioned ogre.
Look at you there, checking your e-mail, reading your tweets, playing that next sick move on Words With Friends. Bam! You just answered a message on OkCupid. Zip! You just checked in on Foursquare! Boom! Yelped you some dinner plans. Um, did you fail to notice the band pouring their guts onto that there stage? Do they not amuse you?
Yeah, it's fine to whip out your smartphone on the elevator to avoid the oh-so-awkward glances of your fellow office drones, but you paid money to see a show and shouldn't you be watching ... well ... the show?
Seriously, cell phone junkies should be ejected from concert venues with the same savagery as that guy who reached out and tried to molest the drummer's head during soundcheck.
If you're looking for a more passive social music listening experience, why not save the $30 bucks you shelled out to see your favorite K-Pop band and stay home with Myxer Social Radio, a new Web platform/iOS app that merges Turntable.fm with Pandora. It's basically a musical chatroom that allows you to passively listen to a stream of music dictated by your tastes.
Oh, and while you're at, can we have that extra concert ticket?