Here’s the thing: I love music, but have difficulty writing about it on a regular basis. I’m not big on album reviews, have neither the know-how or server space to post mp3s, and don’t attend enough concerts to offer any insights. Which has pretty much left the miTunes series as the only regularly scheduled music content.
That just won’t do. I won’t let it. So, starting today I’m kicking off a series of music-related essays, which will involve lists of favorite memories, experiences, whatnot. (I have no title for this feature yet. I am open to suggestions.)
This first submission is entitled “My Three Favorite Concert Screams” and is self-explanatory: a list of the three best/funniest things I’ve ever heard shouted at a concert. Such outbursts are pretty rare – especially living in overly polite Minneapolis – and when they happen, they’re typically just hackneyed screams of elation or “play such-and-such song” or what have you.
Every once in a while, however, someone will shout something memorable. I’ve captured my three favorites below. It’s worth noting that the only way you’ll get any entertainment value out of these anecdotes is if you take the time to visualize being there. So, please do that.
If you have a submission to add, hit up the tumbleweed corral/cricket factory known as the comments section.
#3: “I WISH YOU GUYS WERE PLAYING AT FIRST AVENUE!!!”
This was shouted to Kings of Leon, by an old high school pal, while they were playing at the 600-person-capacity Fine Line Café in early 2005. (Side note: this is my current go-to “I saw these guys way back when” story, just ahead of the Coldplay show at First Ave).
We were standing in the back, and he began shouting this just as the crowd quieted after a song, so it pierced through the entire club. I loved the statement because the aggressive nature (he screamed it at the very top of his lungs) worked in opposition to the heartfelt, almost sappy meaning of the words. Bonus points for being super specific.
As I recall, the lead singer responded with something like, “yeah, man, so do we” and the crowd responded with cheers. A strange and funny moment.
#2: “PLAY ‘MONSTER MASH’!!!”
I don’t recall when I first heard this one, but it certainly came from my buddy and podcast partner Mike. I know that because it’s one of his go-to lines. He has yelled it more than once.
And with good reason. I’ve been trying to think of an equally random, pointless, harmless thing to yell at a concert that matches Monster Mash’s hilarity, yet I can’t. The bonus here is that the more alternative/indie/strange the band, the funnier it becomes. (In hindsight, I wish I would’ve pulled this one out at the nap-inducing Grizzly Bear show.)
Feel free to shout it next time you go to a show. It’s juvenile, sure, but chuckles are guaranteed.
#1: “I REALLY ENJOYED THAT LAST SONG!!!”
White Stripes, Roy Wilkins Auditorium, circa 2004ish. A couple buddies and I are at the show, standing on the floor probably 100 feet from the stage, and we have drunkenly decided that shouting inane yet specific statements is at that moment in time the absolute apex of comedic genius. (I should probably take this moment to acknowledge that we were/are idiots.)
After every song we were thinking up new and dumber things to yell, stuff like “Kudos!” and “I just listened to that one on the way here!” and “I’m having such a great time tonight!” Etc etc. You know the drill.
Each of these declarations was met by our nearby concert attendees with either silence or awkward stares in our direction. They were clearly not getting that we were trying to be ironic, which, in hindsight, I don’t blame them. Today, I’d rather have been in their corner than ours. Then, not so much. I was enjoying the hell out of that joke.
All of a sudden, my buddy shouted out the line above. I can’t explain why, but it hit the perfect sentiment we were aiming for: dorky, needlessly formal and incredibly dull. Finally, amazingly, the crowd cracked up, a few of them actually meeting the outstretched hand of my friend offering high fives while being all, “Right? Right?!”
As opposed to the rest of that drunken evening, that moment is a memory I won’t forget.