Bearikson Think Tank: It’s Time to Start Shows Earlier or Cut Some Openers


In which Leif Bearikson begs concerts to show mercy on his feeble body.

One of your favorite bands announces an extensive tour and, by some miracle, they’re going to be in your area. “Oh man!” you exclaim to yourself, your jowls filling with spittle as you literally drool with excitement. “Oh man, it’s on a week night,” you realize. “Maybe I’ll be lucky and the show will start a little early. At the very least there won’t be 100 local openers, right?” Well not only are you unlucky, you’re WRONG. This bill is going to start at 11pm and feature at least 5 bands before the headliner at this midweek musical display.

If you go to shows with any kind of frequency then there is pretty close to a 100% chance that this has happened to you, though depending on your age or job situation you may not be as salty about it as I am. Perhaps it’s just me being an old homebody, but there’s something instantly deflating about seeing a bill that starts at 9pm and features six or seven bands. I’ve seen growing talk of this on twitter over the past several weeks, and while I certainly wouldn’t call it a problem (or, obviously, even metal’s most pressing issue), I think it’s certainly worth discussing.

Every metalhead I know has a day job or a family or some type of big responsibility that makes it tough to stay out late on a weeknight (unless you’re one of “trve kvlt blood family” type goons that have abandoned all aspects of normal life to wear gauntlets in your treehouse). I’m sure some folks will say “get over it, it’s just a concert,” but I think for most, if not all of us here, the music and show are much more than just something to do on any given night. It’s a hard decision, but most of the time it’s an obvious one: choose responsibility. I think most of us will choose that most of the time. I certainly don’t do my best work when I’m running on fumes, but I need to because money is important here for some reason and I need to keep making it even if it means missing a band I really want to see.

So with that being the case presumably for a decent chunk of people, would it really be so awful to start shows a bit earlier? Or to commit the ultimate act of blasphemy and kill some of the local openers? Is that really that radical or scene altering of an idea? Metal is a genre that attracts as many older people, if not more, than it does young people, so surely there’s some compromise to be had. I won’t pretend to know all of the logistics. I’ve never booked a show or worked for a venue, and I know most double as bars and want to keep you there buying beer as long as they can, so there are reasons to have shows go until 2 am.

While not a perfect example as it’s a bigger package tour/bigger venue, I recently went to House of Blues for the Decibel Tour and it was wonderful. It started at 7, there was only one local opener, everything was wrapped up by around 11 and I was home by midnight. It was a glimpse of the future that I want for metal shows.

What do you think Toilet friends? Am I alone here? Am I just a whiny, old false? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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