I guess I’d probably class myself as an introverted extrovert, or a grower as I like to affectionately refer to myself as. Lately though, I’ve realised the older I get, the more introverted I’ve become. Not that I would ever classify this as a bad thing, it’s just changed the way I conduct my business, especially when it comes to heading to a gig on the weekend. Nowadays I usually stick to the more intimate venue like 48 Watt Street, the Commons or the occasional appearance at the Lass. But… I’m also a massive punk and hardcore fan, and actually I’m a massive music fan in general, and touring bands usually aim to pack out the Cambo or the Small Ballroom whipping the kids into a frenzy whilst everyone has the best time ever. For all of my introverted mates out there, and from someone whose job it is (and arguably the best part of my job) to attend these gigs, shake my imperfect body around, and have a flipping good time doing so, here are some tips from me to you.
Find your extroverted counterpart:
I can’t actually advocate for this particular point enough. Sometimes the best plan is to have someone by your side. This person will be the conversation starter, the hand holder, the spot minder, the person to dance like no one is watching (hot tip no one ever is) and most of all they’ve got your back. After all, our extroverted counterparts thrive off the gig going environment and will be your best mate in this scenario. (Side note, I’m taking gig going parter applications as we speak – enquire within. Extroverts welcome).
Have your routine down pat.
Every time I go to a gig, I have a specific system that I run with. I’m all about undercover routine and I’m a massive advocate for playing to your strengths. I walk in, and go straight to the bar. I’m not advocating for alcoholism here either (although a little Dutch courage never really hurt anyone), it just gives you a task and a subconscious sense of purpose as you enter the venue, especially if it’s somewhere you’ve never been before. When you’re waiting in line you get the chance to have a good look around, take your time and say hi to mates you’ve spotted on the way in. This little method particularly helps if you’re going to the gig by yourself, which I often do.
Remember it’s ok to not want to dive head first into the middle of the mosh.
Just because the music is deliciously heavy, doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to push to the very front of the crowd and get amongst whatever happens to be going down at the time. Prefer to hang out towards the back of the crowd? No stress. Rather hug the wall instead of jumping up on someones shoulders? No worries. One thing I get a lot is “are you sure you’re having a good time, you don’t look like you’re enjoying yourself much, you should get amongst it and…”. Trust me on this, I am having a good time! You also don’t have to justify your individual gig going experience to anyone at all. You do you after all.
You’re not in this introverted world alone.
If you go to any gig, on any given night, stand at the back of the crowd and look to your left or to your right. There will be people beside you nodding their head, hands in pockets, undoubtedly having a flipping good time. You know it and they know it, because you’re having a flipping good time too. In fact, this is how I met some of my gig going mates, by standing awkwardly next to someone else who is standing awkwardly. It’s kind of comforting to remember that, no?
Confidence isn’t a tangible object.
Confident people don’t carry with them a magical cube of confidence everywhere they go because… confidence isn’t a tangible object. You could be the shyest person on earth, but who’s to know when you walk into a room full of strangers? Everyone, at one time or another, has absolutely faked it till they made it. Artists in particular do this ridiculously well. The majority of artists I’ve had the pleasure of chatting, interviewing, or spending time with are probably more introverted than you. (This is a massive generalisation I know, but from my experience it rings pretty true).
So there you have it kids. Some hot tips from me to you, about the way that I try to navigate my live music experience. Sometimes I’ll see you in the pit, sometimes I’ll stand awkwardly next to you at the back of the room. Little from column A, little from column B.