I never feel safe at gigs (Concerts, bands, pubs) is it just me?

I was watching the imposter syndrome video and thinking, the place I have never ever felt like I fit in, even for a second, was at gigs, even though I went to heaps of them from the age of 15…. To the point where I pretty much don’t go now.

All the people being social with their friends, drinking, … all I care about is the music. And if the music isn’t good I have to force myself to stay for the next band in case they are good, or because a friend is playing…

No one I know seems to understand this, so I thought maybe people here might have similar experiences, maybe clubs or parties? I dunno?

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what is the question?

Yes 100% same here. I prefer to go out in pubs where there is moving space and the music is played at a volume that I can still hear people talking. I never went to gigs much and when I did it was always because someone else wanted it.

I really don’t understand why people want to be inside dense crowds with loud music. And then just stand there all evening screaming into each other’s ears.

Yes!the not being able to hear or see! And having to drink… not being Le to go off and eat because it would take too long before the next band…

I usually go to small gigs, but yeah it’s horrible! No one to talk to, standing in a room feeling self conscious…. I wish my fave bands would stream!

I feel very uncomfortable at most concerts and gigs. If I’m there with someone I’m close to, I’m able to focus on that bond, and might make the whole experience into a bonding experience.

If I’ve got a role to fill, then I feel comfortable in that. (I performed in concerts in junior high and high school, and also once while at community college. Those were the concerts I felt most comfortable with. If I was at any events where I had a role, from ticket-taker, to usher, or whatever…I felt comfortable in that role, as being part of a greater whole. I feel like I “belong”.)

But, I don’t feel comfortable in the audience if I feel like I’m on my own. I remember going to a school dance, but my girlfriend (who was later my wife) was made to stay home at the last minute, so I went on my own to try out the experience. There were only two things I liked about the experience.

  • First, I won a door prize. (It was just a t-shirt, but it was a prize.)
  • Second, I danced one dance with one of the older girls I knew from the school band (who was there with her boyfriend, who was also in the band). (She and I are Facebook friends now, not because of that experience, but because we had a good peer-relationship overall from those two years we were in class together.)
  • Other than those two things, I felt like a fish out of water. The rest of that dance was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life. (It felt only a little better than the couple of times I took a wrong turn and would up in a dangerous neighborhood, when I felt like someone could have shot me just for being there.)

Is it childish of me to say I’m ok when I feel involved, I trust my mates, I’m playing (I was a drummer in one band) or it’s really chill, the music is quiet, you can move, get a drink, disappear in the dark…… it’s so rare now….

If I could bring my couch, and snacks, and a cloak of invisibility, I think I’d be cool!

I think the act of becoming inebriated in a public space among strangers is the pinnacle of stupidity. There is this weird idea in our modern cultures that we are entitled to feel safe everywhere. Where did we ever get that idea?

You should not trust people you don’t know. This doesn’t mean you ought be in a corner quivering in fear around them but being on your guard and cautious seems reasonable to me.

Yes it’s weird… alcohol is the one drug the government condones but there’s so much violence tied to it.

I prefer to have a drink when I feel safe with a few friends, I guess small groups at restaurants I’ve often felt comfortable…. I guess fewer people means you can read them easier, and there’s no rush, the food takes a while….

But generally I don’t need a drink to be boisterous in my “safe place”.

I guess the whole drinking st pubs thing is about making money more than creating a safe space?

I used to like hiding in the corners of cafes and reading but it’s hard to find a comfy one these days…

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I see bars and pubs as places of low courtship. Get drunk, get stupid… and somehow think it’ll all be fine in the morning? IDK seems like frivolous, charmed thinking to me.

I agree, cafes, restaurants… home (my favorite place), with a book are all nice places.

Hmm… wonder how a little book cafe with curtained window seats and a button to summon waitstaff might do well. Maybe some base pay for your little curtained hideaway and a menu of good foods to read by…

I used to go to a lot of shows and feel at home there but somehow I lost that at some point. Now I’m extremely self-conscious especially when everybody else seems like they’re peers running into each other and I’m there by myself. I do love live music, though, and when the band is good enough to occupy my focus, I’m okay until there’s a break or a singalong that everybody but me knows the lyrics to. (Or even if I know them - they’re always in the wrong key for me to feel comfortable singing along with.)

At some point I noticed I hadn’t been to a gig for a long time. A free show here and there that I could walk out of any time, or a seated listener-focused gig that didn’t require a lot of performative action on my side, but none of those standing room experiences I used to love so much and that started feeling so awkward later.

I had just started following gig announcements again and had just bought my first real ticket in years when the pandemic happened and all the shows got postponed. In a way, that helped. Waiting for a show for two years gave us strangers all something to bond over when that show finally happened last week. The singer made jokes about it, the crowd cheered and we all were hungry for it anyway. (In addition, I spent a lot of those two years watching live videos and feeding that hunger.)

Tonight, I’m going to Hamburg to see Larkin Poe. I’ve been aware of the gig since it was announced for last October a while back, but didn’t know if I should go because it’s in another town and I’ll need to get back somehow (mustn’t miss the last train). I’m trying to widen my activities range, so I’ll try to not let that (or the endless opportunities to feel awkward and self-conscious at such a gig) stop me. Also, they’re one of my favorite bands, so I’d be really cross with myself if I didn’t at least try to make it happen. I just hope that hickup I’ve had all day will cease until then…

Ohh that sounds heavenly!! I’ve seen Internet cafes with single booths, and karaoke bars with party rooms, but cafe private tables with curtains…. So good!

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Ahh I think the pressure of not letting my friends down is part of my misery, like… and they’re playing, they know everyone, so…. I only talk to them for a sec….

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I’ve only recently discovered music videos but Larkin Poe. “Mad at a Hatter” is the one song of theirs that has really kept my attention. I like that they differ from the normal instrumentation, with the slide guitar (is that what it’s called?).

A writer whose YouTube channel I follow shared that he gets character ideas by going to different places and noticing what the people do. I think I’ll get out of my comfort zone more often and do the same, so I might start going to shows, or bars, or cafés…as long as my budget permits.

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I used to like sitting on public transport for this reason, now I like to sit at park benches…… I live in a busy area so there’s always something to see.

would your friends let you come to sound checks or rehearsals or something instead of the actual shows?

i think there are also lots of ways to be supportive. i have a friend who plays a sport fairly seriously. they know that even if they compete in my basement, i’m not going to come watch. i do listen to their sports stories though. i ask questions. i look at pictures. i celebrate important wins with them. i forward along interesting things i find related to their sport.

but ooooh, i am never ever going to one of those events.

it might be different if your friends come to your stuff. like if you play a sport and your friends are always there cheering for you. but i’m generally of the opinion that i can be supportive and encouraging without making my friends’ hobbies/occupations my hobbies/occupation.


Yeah it’s much easier to support a friend you’re right.

I also find when I’m helping a friend I let go of my own issues, helping others always seems to make ME feel better too…