There are too many people sat at home now reading this all because they didn’t want to go to a gig by their lonesome. They fear of having a terrible time or bumping into their crush and feeling ashamed of being alone.
And well, they are fools. Going solo is up there with some of the greatest things you can do alone. Take the cinema for example. Who doesn’t love to go to the local multiplex on a weekday afternoon and have an entire screen to yourself? You won’t have any of the hassles of looking past the person’s extra large head in front of you. There wouldn’t be a scumlord on their phone Snapchatting throughout the film (I have witnessed this). There isn’t any moving out the way for someone with a worse bladder than my aunt Sue. You can just enjoy watching a film with your feet up and eating as loudly as you want. Other top activities to do alone are obviously shopping, cooking, using the toilet, and of course, gigs.
I discovered over the last nine years when going along to review the odd live event, that sometimes you’re not always a plus one. So instead of turning down the chance to see one of my fave bands live for free, I have to grin and bear it and go unaccompanied. At first, there is the initial awkwardness of where to stand. What to do when there isn’t an artist on stage (thank god for smartphones) and will people judge me when they notice I am by myself? But after swiftly quashing these fears, you will have a rather good time.
So here are my five reasons on why it is best not to return that text to your bestie, or fake an illness and head on down to a gig.
1. Speed (Not The Drug)
Ever had the frustration of waiting for your mate to turn up, so you’re missing the support band that have just started? You can hear their best tune as you stand by the entrance while staring aimlessly at your phone. Skip the middleman and get there when you want. If the support is pony, research the stage times, grab a coffee, and slip inside moments before the headline comes out.
It is also so much faster to leave a venue on your own. You can cut through a crowd in minutes and always beat the rush to the train home.
2. Standing Where You Bloody Want
I hate going to gigs for the first time with someone new. Some people have their particular place they have to stand, i.e. not too close to the front, near the bar or not too far from the exit. If you’re solo, you can just go straight to the front. Everyone assumes you must be with someone and therefore politely steps to one side. Then when you get to your preferred position; just right of the stage front, to get a great view but without getting ruined by the mosh-pit. If someone moans just simply act confused to where your mates have gone, then shrug and enjoy the show.
3. Meeting The Act
Countless times I have spotted band members around the back of the venue or in the pub next door. With a smile and a quick hello, they ask if you are watching the band tonight and then a conversation occurs as the musician feels less threatened when it is just one fan at a time rather than a big group of lads demanding selfies.
I was lucky enough to bump into William McCarthy from Augustines sat alone one a wall smoking a cigarette. I asked him for directions as I honestly had no idea where the Bristol venue was, he engaged me in a conversation for ages until some fans spotted him and then he said a quick hello to the group before fleeing back to the venue. Also, a member of Arkells once helped in the toilet once – again, an experience I wouldn’t of have had if I just stayed at home.
4. Meeting New People At The Gig
Sometimes when waiting around for the band to come on, and a nearby fan will strike up a conversation about the band. It can obviously go two ways, and yes, I have had to make a quick excuse to the toilet and then appear on the other side of the stage. But usually, you meet other fans who are keen to chat to fellow music lovers. Before you know it you’re arm in arm singing and then never seeing each other ever again. Perfect.
5. The Ticket
How many times have you been on hold or constantly refreshing to get tickets at nine am on a Friday, when you really shouldn’t be in the staff toilets. It is a hell of a lot easier when you just want the one ticket. If it is sold out, go to the band’s social media and ask for one spare ticket. This method has worked dozens of times as it is more common for one friend to cancel than a couple. And if you are very lucky and you have a chat with someone from the band or PR company, you may even get to go backstage. Though personally, I enjoy the invite rather than ever going. Who wants to be stuck talking to the random guy who came alone? Exactly.
So next time you find out that the act that you have been trying to get anyone else to love is in town, don’t just sit and wonder. Get down there. I have failed to see at least five bands out of fear of going solo who would then break up after the tour. Don’t make the same mistake I made, just go to the gig!