Since I was twelve years old, all I ever wanted to do was go see live music.

I’d legitimately lay in bed at night and worry that without a license, money and friends that liked the same music as me, I’d never be able to see any of the bands I loved, and would lead a miserable and unfulfilled life.

Of course that didn’t happen, and in the last 15 years I’ve gone to more concerts than I can remember–although I wish I had thought to write it down just for curiosity’s sake. And with hundreds of shows under my 27-year-old belt, I’ve seen a lot of good concert-going behavior, and I’ve seen a lot of bad. Like, a lot of bad.

Here’s how you can avoid falling into the latter category…

1. Put your hair in a ponytail

I’m mostly talking to you, ladies, but my long-locked men are not exempt. Keep in mind that this rule does not refer to a large venue, like an amphitheater or arena. But if I had a quarter for every sweaty-ass (literally, my ass was sweating) basement or club show I’ve been to where some chick’s disgusting hair was sticking to my face while I was trying to get my skank on, I would be rich. And then I’d use that money to buy a hair-tie for whichever 16-year-old girl was standing in front of me, more concerned with style than function. Little does she know I’m chewing on her split ends. I was at a Big D and the Kids Table show once–the epitome of said sweaty-ass skankfest–and actually went so far as to politely ask the girl in front of me if she’d mind putting her hair up “because it keeps getting in my mouth,” annnddd she said no. Didn’t matter much because I eventually wiggled my way past her and onto the stage, but STILL. Rude.

2. Don’t get mad that I’m standing in front of you

I get it: You’ve been waiting here for hours and this is your favorite band and you haven’t seen them since 1996 when they played their final show at Radio City Music Hall and you’ve been holding in your pee for six hours. And I respect that. But this is a concert, and I like the band too, so don’t get so your panties in a twist when I move past you. I was at a Primus show once, making my way closer to the front, when I heard an annoyed girl say to her friend, “why is everybody cutting us?” I’m sorry- I didn’t realize general admission actually meant assigned seating! Of course, you can’t always get to the front, and yes it’s dick to try and wiggle somebody away from the guard rail, but you better believe I’m always going to try.

3. Keep the PDA to a minimum

“You were making out during Schindler’s List?!” OK, not quite the same thing as making out during a concert, but there’s nothing more irritating than the couple that just won’t keep their paws off of each other. I get freaked out by PDA normally, and I cannot STAND when a couple is taking up 2X their allotted personal space because the dude is standing behind the girl with his arms around her, cooing the most poignant part of the song into her ear. On the flip-side, I love watching the same scenario play out but with a girl who isn’t into the music and is getting pushed around way more than she’s comfortable with. You kind of see the fear and annoyance growing in her eyes, and you know it’s only a matter of time before the couple peaces out and you can swoop into their spot.

4. Don’t wear the t-shirt of the band you’re going to see

Duh. (And you should’ve waited until after the show to hit up the merch table.)

5. Don’t be a dick.

Even the most amazing concert will be ruined by a sh*tty audience. This is best exemplified at indie shows often crawling with alleged hipsters. Such people, writhing with the desire to fit in and look cool, will sometimes go so far as to project their feelings of insecurity onto you by being cold and unfriendly. And that’s no fun. I’ve been to concerts where absolutely nobody was dancing because every person was waiting for somebody else to do it first- although I wonder how you can even dance in all that weird trendy shit. Worse than hipsters, though, are people who are just plain rude. You’re at a concert: Lighten up, get drunk and have a good time.

(Originally posted on