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Occasionally, it’s fun to have a sweaty sing-along with strangers all enjoying the same thing as you: I went to one of the last LCD Soundsystem shows there in 2011, and it was like that. You’re going to be all arms and legs in other people’s areas. But no matter how big the act and packed the space, you don’t have license to be an ass. Striking up a natural conversation is one thing, but as with the club, keep your grinding to yourself .

It sounds simple, but it’s harder for some men than others. If a girl doesn’t invite you to dance with her or give the clear body language-based clues, don’t get all up in her personal space. Also, don’t try to yell some lame pickup lines over the UNS UNS UNS of the bass. You’re both (hopefully) there in the name of hearing good music, anyhow. But if your approach is of the sweaty, close-talking variety, don’t bother. It’s not your responsibility to ensure everyone in the venue has an unobstructed view of the stage, but a little self-awareness doesn’t hurt. If you’re super tall and see that you’re standing right in front of someone much shorter than you, move to the side a bit.

Or maybe find it in your heart to let them move to the spot in front of you. And generally, no matter your height, consider this for a minute: Do I really need to be up at the front? I’m not tall, and I usually like to find a good spot somewhere in the middle, before it gets super packed, at a spot in the crowd where I still have room to move. If you want to be way up close, though, get there early. At some point, you might get separated from your group, or you might have to go to the bathroom, only to weave your way through the crowd to find your people. But don’t do that whole “red rover line of people with hands clasped” maneuver through a packed house to get a better spot. People who rush up to the front through a packed venue after the show has already started are jerks. Doing that is rude and annoying, and I will assume you’re young or sociopathic or too fucked up or all of the above. What about girls getting on guys’ shoulders to see better? I’m short, and I’m all for it, given the right venue and show. For example, the sappiest part of a Bon Iver jam is probably an inappropriate time; I also wouldn’t recommend it at a Michael McDonald gig. But for something young and up-tempo, like Calvin Harris or the Red Hot Chili Peppers, go for it. Also, getting on shoulders is something that you’re usually better off doing at an outdoor venue than in a small club; it’s probably better to stay on the ground if you’re at a club or something. Pay attention to people around you when you go up, and don’t kick anyone in the face. Don’t wear out your welcome up there, either, because although you may be getting a better view, you’re also briefly blocking someone else’s. So you’re going to pop a molly at a Danny Brown show or drop acid during a Fatboy Slim set. You won’t have a good time, nor will the people around you. Sure, it’s easier to find the substances you’re looking for at a festival or outdoor show of a certain (i.e., not Katy Perry-related) variety, and it’s not frowned upon to ask around.

If you’re smoking weed, roll a joint ahead of time or use a one-hitter. If security asks you to stop, do so, or you’ll get booted from the venue or worse.

Oh, and if you’re without weed , it’s always good to make nice with the guy next to you who’s passing a joint around. This is pretty simple, because you usually know when these things are appropriate. But know that you run the risk of going home sweaty, and with a fat lip or a lost tooth.


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