January 23, 2013

Overheard From Last Night: The Four Crowds of NYC Concert Culture

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Having been trampled on by many a sloshed New Yorker, I’ve come to know the New York City concert scene all too intimately. Whether it’s the Knitting Factory, Le Poisson Rouge or even Terminal 5 (shudder appropriately), no venue can evade the necessary evils of concert culture. Of course, that entails $15 Bud Lights (I’m looking at you, Gramercy Theater), endless delays of “technical difficulties” and a species specific to the island, the Manhattanite try-hard. When each aforementioned ingredient enters into a potent slurry (myself caught in the middle), what results is a wonderfully deplorable dialogue that sounds, strangely, not unlike unaired portions of an HBO’s Girls script. It’s 50 percent Texts From Last Night, 50 percent Betches Love This, and 100 percent shameless amusement. If there was a @GSElevator for the pretentious hipster fucks that “don’t believe in labels” at, like, a Sleigh Bells concert, this would be the shit that came out of their mouths. Here are some of the real-life overheard lines that so perfectly represent four crowds you’ll meet at any music venue in the City.


“I’m press.”

— The press, in response to every question ever asked.

You know that joke about vegans? “How do you know if someone is vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.”

Yeah, that pretty much sums up the press. They like to huddle in little groups next to the entrance lines for the mere pedestrian concert-goers and often proclaim to possess the hearing powers of, like, Ray Charles. They wear their press badges and DSLRs proudly on their chests like some type of emblem on their superhero costumes (read: uniform of chucks and plaid) and vehemently refuse to dance during sets. They get to pee in the special air-conditioned toilets and score free merch from all the PR peeps trying to smooze them. Every fourth word out of their mouth is “press,” even if they’re just some loser with a tiny radio show at a state college — ouch! But, I tell you, even when I am press at a concert, I still feel like somebody’s lame cousin they had to invite to the school dance, or something. And then when I’m not press, I can’t help but be attacked by the pervasive VIP ethos that forces me to watch these badge-bearing bitches jaunt off to their majestic porcelain commodes as I wait in line for the sodden Porta Potties. Talk about the Haves and the Have-Nots.

The Drunk Therapist

“We understand each other on SUCH a deep level because we both grew up with the same abandonment issues — and by that I mean the economy and our moms.”

— Girl who “so totally almost went to art school”

I met this girl standing in line for Ghostface Killah, and I’d already been listening to her conversation for half an hour before she started playing therapist to her friend. Standing there, psychoanalyzing her as she tried to psychoanalyze her friend doesn’t make me any better of a person, but these pseudo-psychologists are such easy targets. Any venue south of 14th street will be crawling with these slurring girls who can’t get over themselves but still say things like, “He’s just someone who can’t get over himself.”

Anybody from Brooklyn

“Ross just asked me to model for his project. It’s like a cult-themed photoshoot, so they’ll cover me in blood standing naked in the forest, and my boyfriend’s doing the lights. You should so totally come model too ‘cause you’re like skinny in a way that looks like you just have a fast metabolism even though I know you just never really eat.”

— Typical passive aggressive Williamsburg girl

I overheard this gem at the hipster mecca known as the Glasslands Gallery, waiting for the set to start. The crowd was packed with the art-house type, half the girls wearing vampy all-black outfits with red lipstick and half the guys rocking beanies in 75-degree weather. When I overheard this line, it sounded so stereotypically Brooklyn that it almost seemed scripted from a “Shit Brooklyn Girls Say” skit. Alas, these people truly exist, and as I waded my way through a crowd of graphic design interns holding a craft beer in one hand and an iPhone paid by their daddy in the other, I suddenly felt the irony of it all: How can so many people trying to be so different end up all the same?

The Pseudo-Intellectuals

Referring to Hamilton Leithauser, vocals for The Walkmen:

“He looks like Norman Mailer!”

— Girl who has no idea what Norman Mailer looks like

“Now all he needs is a ukulele!”

— Same girl who pretends to read Norman Mailer also has no idea what a ukulele sounds like

These guys are the worst because not only do they like to insert the word “literally” in places it doesn’t belong, but they also like to get into very loud belligerent arguments about, like, the importance of social media in catalyzing the uprisings of the Arab Spring. There’s nothing worse than the words “Hosni Mubarak” to kill the buzz of a sweet set. Oddly, this crowd of pseudos exists largely downtown. Midtown and above, instead of twats trying to outsmart each other, you get punks trying to out-yuppie each other and a lot of old dudes taking out hot younger women. Also notable: The higher the level of pseudo-intelligence, the worse the dance skills.

Original Author: Alice Wang