Justin Jones has been a near constant presence on DC’s music scene for fifteen years. The singer-songwriter has performed on his own and with various bands at pretty much every venue in town (and more than a few that are no longer around). He’s crisscrossed the country numerous times. And since November of 2002, he has often been found behind the bar at the 9:30 Club.
Prior to his headlining a Monument benefit concert this Friday, we asked him to draw on all of that experience and come up with his essential rules for attending concerts.
Don’t be “that guy.” Listen to the man. He has seen it all.
1. PAY ATTENTION
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen audiences talk through shows. Willie Nelson at 9:30 Club comes to mind. It’s so odd to me that people will pay to not pay attention.
Have a drink, see some friends, but when the band goes on, pay attention.
2. NO REQUESTS
Unless solicited by the performer, don’t request songs, especially songs by another band. Bands typically put a lot of energy into the show they put on. They want to present the music in a certain way. Don’t screw that up for them.
3. DON’T SHOUT “FREEBIRD”
Shouting “Freebird” is not funny. See #2.
4. DON’T GET WASTED
This is just a general rule for me. Don’t be sloppy. If you get sloppy, you’ll hurt the show. Sloppy drunks can’t help themselves. They thrust their slop onto everyone around them. Don’t do it.
5. DON’T ASKED TO BE GUEST LISTED
So you’re friends with the band, eh? Well, then help them out, buy a ticket, bring some friends.
If someone doesn’t like my music, friend or not, I’d rather they didn’t come to the show, then try for some moral support situation.
6. BUY MERCH
This is a no-brainer. If you go to see a band, especially an independent band, buy their merch. Sure you can Spotify them or YouTube them or not listen to them at all, but, please, if you like the music, buy the merch.
Band merch makes for great Christmas gifts!
7. DON’T TALK TO THE BAND DURING THE PERFORMANCE
It’s disruptive. It’s annoying. Don’t do it.
8. DON’T TRY TO GET BACKSTAGE
Backstage is the band’s apartment for the night. If they want to talk to you, they’ll make themselves available. If they want you back there, they’ll take you.