Wouldn’t it be so much better if everyone was forced to go to gigs on their own? One hundred or one thousand strangers in a room?
Let’s face it one of the biggest problems at shows is people knowing one another, or even worse just getting to know each other. Drunken, loud-mouthed idiots shouting throughout a bands performance or lusty couples chewing each others faces off like they haven't had a meal in weeks can be pretty distracting and verge on annoying. Incessant talking, particularly at quieter folk / acoustic gigs is never justified. We wrote about it previously here and here. Yet if we all went to gigs on our own these behaviours would largely cease to exist in concert halls.
The venue full of strangers scenario will never happen because it’s inherent in most peoples nature to act socially, be it for reasons of self-interest or the common good. From this social motivation there comes a stigma to being seen in such gatherings on your own - a category that gigs certainly fall into. Yet at any gig there will nearly always be someone in solo attendance. There may be a stigma, but when these individuals walk into the venue, they certainly won’t be laughed at, mocked and made to stand in the corner with a spotlight on them. They’ll just be another ordinary punter.
There are many reasons why people go to gigs on their own:
* Their friends just aren’t into the same music or into live music as much as the individual concerned, or have never heard of the band.
* Associates not being able to afford the gig.
* Lack of babysitter for those who have families.
* Friends not wanting to put in the effort, particularly mid-week.
* The individual happens to be in another town, away from home, maybe due to work, and sees that a band they like are playing that town - why miss the opportunity?
* Sometimes, people just want to do things on their own - some are more comfortable and confident in their own skin than others.
The idea of standing in a room full of people watching bands / artists play may fill some with dread, but if you’ve got the balls, there are advantages to solo gig going:
* You can selfishly go where you want, stand where you want, dance when you want.
* There’s no chance of having to put up with friends / partner complaining they are bored / tired / ill/ talking through the music.
* If you’re not enjoying it you can leave without offending other group members / friends.
* You may get to talk / meet new people that you wouldn’t have even noticed if you are in a group.
The biggest disadvantage for the solo gig goer is filling the space between sets. It takes a confident individual to be able to stand in a room full of people by themselves and just do nothing. So here the gig goer needs some tactics to fill time; Buy a drink (but be careful, there's a danger of drinking quicker on your own and a horrendously drunk soloist is worse than a drunk group - people will start to take a step away from you), go to the toilet, save up your text messages from the day and answer them all then, wander round the venue and see if you can find anything of interest, strike up a conversation with a stranger but accept the risk of rejection / disinterest.
Going to a gig on your own is a social fear. You may feel a bit awkward, but if you really want to go, and can’t find anyone to go with, what is the worst thing that can happen ? Very little actually. Just go for it. You might even enjoy yourself.