The ‘authentic’ concert-going experience
This may come as a shock, but I’ve been to many concerts.
I’ve covered a wide variety of genres—from rap to heavy metal. Fundamentally, the idea of a concert is always the same. It’s a gathering of a large number of people who crowd around a stage to see their favourite artist perform songs and interact with the audience. The thought that differing concert genres are, for a lack of a better term, different than other concert genres seems obvious but it is shocking to see how different they truly are.
Want to know the differences between different genres?
Rave culture has completely come back but, instead of being kept to warehouses with everyone wearing pacifiers around their necks, has now gone mainstream. It is pretty common to go to an EDM concert with friends on any given weekend.
One of the biggest challenges with EDM concerts is that the DJs are responsible for hyping up the crowd. The music sounds the exact same live as it does when listening to it at home. Due to this, EDM concerts are marketed as large parties—you go to EDM concerts more for the atmosphere than the music.
Most EDM DJs will try to hype the crowd up by playing original beats they’ve created on the spot or use elaborate set-ups to entertain guests. At Tom Swoon’s show at Beta on Saturday Oct. 17, he put his name in giant neon lights that would move. He also set up the light system to be in time with his music.
Also, prepare to see a lot of tight-fitting neon.
An indie rock concert is one of the only types of concerts where people prefer to not dance and instead awkwardly sway with the music. One of the only instances where this has proven not to be the case is the Hillside festival held every year in Guelph. No matter what genre of music was playing, there were people right near all of the three stages dancing.
At a normal concert, the band is typically the most energetic people in the venue, save for the extremely drunk guy at the front of the stage or the group of people who suddenly decide they should mosh at a Hollerado concert.
Indie concerts are harder to categorize as some bands stray more towards the avant-garde side of indie rock than others. At Canadian Music Week, artist Ginger and the Ghost decorated the stage like a mystical forest with furry white blankets and leaves. Other artists, such as The Dodos, will leave the stage plain and instead use the space to jump around in.
Rap concerts are similar to EDM in that the atmosphere is more reminiscent to a party than what we imagine the typical concert to be. People are encouraged to dance and sing along with the music as much as possible. While the difference in quality between the recorded version and the live version has always been obvious, rap is one of the few genres where the artist is truly exposed.
If the rapper has no sense of rhythm, breath control or style, it becomes painfully clear. You can auto-tune your voice, but you cannot auto-tune talent.
Heavy metal concerts are typically viewed as an intimidating sort of concert to attend but this is not the case. As long as you don’t find yourself in the mosh pit by accident, you’ll be fine.
Much like any concert, dancing is encouraged. Other than an EDM concert, I’ve never seen so much dancing at a concert. Unlike other concerts, this dancing is a little violent.
Once your ears adjust to the extremely heavy sound, or smarten up about it and buy earplugs, the music stops being noise and you hear the rhythm in the madness. If you’re lucky, you may hear a lyric or two.