There's nothing better than seeing one of your favorite bands play live. There's also nothing worse than seeing one of your favorite bands play live when they put on a terrible show. For all the things we love about concerts, there are several things bands do that we really can't stand. Here are 10 things bands should just stop doing when playing live shows.
See also: 10 Dick Moves to Avoid at Concerts
10. Show up way too late for their set.
We understand living your life on “rock star time” and that the show doesn't start until you're ready for it to start, but there's a difference between showing up a few minutes (fashionably) late and making the entire crowd wait an hour to see a one-hit wonder on a Tuesday night. You're not a legendarily dysfunctional/rebellious band like Guns 'n' Roses or Rage Against the Machine, so show a little respect, and go on at a reasonable time.
9. Tell long self-indulgent stories.
It's cool when bands crack jokes, talk about the background of their songs, and maybe tell a funny story or two from the road. From time to time, you'll run into a band that wants to spend more time telling the crowd tales of how awesome they are than playing the songs that got them on the stage in the first place. It's a concert, not storytime, stay away from the 20-minute diatribes about the crazy party you had a few nights ago.
8. Not introduce themselves.
Although you probably know the names of everyone in your favorite bands, it's only polite for them to make a formal introduction so each member of the band can get their moment in the spotlight and you and the other fans can cheer. Plus, how else will you get that awkward moment where the lead singer has to be introduced by someone else and you can tell that no one else is comfortable talking into a microphone by themselves?
7. Bring a camera out to record the crowd.
We're totally fine with the band taking a quick photo of (or with) the crowd, but if you want to film for more than a few seconds, give your camera/oversized phone to a roadie or a stagehand. You can't be the videographer, director, and producer of your own tour documentary. Let the video folks handle the visual side of things, and you just focus on making the music sound as clean as possible for the live album that goes along with it.
6. Play the same set every single show.
By all means, bands should play all of their big hits, but if you're playing two shows within a few hours (by car) from each other, you shouldn't play identical sets at the two shows. As awesome as Social Distortion is live, they play almost the exact same set for the entire length of a tour (down to the introductions for songs and audience interactions). To keep the set fresh, mix in a few different songs, even if you just rotate between 2-3 set variations over the course of a tour.
5. Take forever to come out for an encore.
At this point in time, it's a surprise if a headlining band doesn't play an encore (unless there's a strict curfew). There's no reason to keep the fans waiting for an excessive amount of time. Go clean yourself up, do whatever you have to do, let your roadies reset the stage, and get back out there. If you take more than a couple of minutes before an encore and don't return with a full costume change, it was just a waste of time.
4. Ask for requests and then not take any.
Letting the crowd dictate which song(s) you play at some point in your set is a great decision. It gives everyone a reason to have their voice heard, and you totally lose some of the responsibility of playing everyone's favorite songs, because they should've just been louder when you asked for requests. That said, you should never ask the audience for requests and then ignore everything being yelled at you and play the deep cut from your seventh album that no one actually bought. That's just rude.
3. Act like they don't want to be there.
Few things are more disappointing than seeing one of your favorite bands play an unenthusiastic mailed-in show. It's impossible to be amped up for every concert, and we're not asking for the greatest set of all time every night, but at least pretend like you're excited to be playing music for a living, you could be doing a lot worse.
2. Get so drunk they forget the words to the song.
Having a beer or two on stage is totally understandable, but let's not get completely smashed before the encore. We've been to multiple shows where the singer forgets the words or the guitarist is totally off-rhythm because they pre-gamed too hard. Your job is to play music, and anyone else would get in trouble for being drunk on the job, so show just the tiniest bit of responsibility and get through your set before you get hammered.
1. Not play their one big song.
After breaking through on to radio stations and iPods everywhere, MGMT decided they were done playing “Kids” at their shows for quite a while. Sure, they still had “Time to Pretend” and “Electric Feel,” but did anyone go to an MGMT show and not want to hear “Kids”? If you have several albums and a devoted fan base who each has different favorite songs/albums, then go ahead and skip a big song or two, if you so desire. If you have one album with a single song that most of your casual fanbase is going to know, you better play it and play it loud.
Josh Chesler used to play baseball for some pretty cool teams, but now he just writes about awesome stuff like tattoos, music, MMA and sneakers. He enjoys injuring himself by skateboarding, training for fights, and playing musical instruments in his off time.