It’s time for some real talk people — going to shows fucking sucks. I should know; I was a music industry slave for eight years. I ran a venue in Dallas, worked as a booking agent for multiple artists and did a bunch of other nonsense in the so-called “industry.”

My takeaway? Shows are terrible. I don’t care if it’s at the House of Blues, a DIY space or at your favorite grass roots venue. They all fucking suck.

Now you’re probably up in arms ready to “defend your scene,” but just stop, ok? This isn’t about you, so please take a seat. This is about every venue ever, which means venue owners and operators I’m talking TO YOU!

Where shall I begin? How about the front door. Venue security sucks. Bouncers and so-called security personnel are not helpful, nor do they actually provide any security. They are there to look at my ID and give me a wristband, which means customer service is their job, but guess what, they all fucking suck at it! Those dudes hired to sit outside have some of the worst attitudes on the planet. And please, stop calling me and every other female “sweetheart.” It’s awkward and needs to stop ASAP. It’s nearly 2017, your misogynistic southern gentlemen horse shit doesn’t impress anyone.

Go to a bigger venue you might say, one that can afford real sound engineers and not college dropouts. The ones where you end up spending hella scratch on your ticket, parking and the 400% marked up drink. The kind of place where you have to deal with a $25 credit card surcharge that “should fall off in a few days.” Do you even know how infuriating that is?

And please don’t even try to act like that one $9 well drink wasn’t poured from a $6 bottle of vodka. Your bars are bullshit. You bartenders hate everyone, they don’t want to make drinks right and everything that comes out of the bar gun tastes like trash water. Do you think I’m fucking stupid? YOU KNOW YOU CAN’T GET AWAY WITH MAKING A WHISKEY GINGER WITH COKE AND SPRITE JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE IN A HURRY!!!!

The bathrooms are fucking pitiful. Why is it that in every women’s room, all the toilets are magically broken but one and an hour into the show some underage girl ends up giving herself a swirly with her own puke, taking up the one working toilet for HOURS! Why are all of the toilets unusable? Once I found a spork in a bathroom and I think about that spork from time to time. I wonder if someone in the bathroom was so frustrated they used that spork to scoop out their own eyeballs in a fit of frustration!

Shows fucking suck because the financials fucking suck. I’m gonna get a bit educational here, so please, pay attention and take notes. You know all those annoying opening artists you are forced to listen to that are AWFUL? They’re totally getting taken advantage of by the promoter. The venue knows they really want to play the show, so they forced them to sell $1,000 worth of tickets, which they couldn’t sell and were forced to buy themselves, because….you guessed it….they fucking suck!

So now you’re stuck in this packed room, with your overpriced drink waiting for “The Amateur Experience” to get their asses off the stage. Then there is the thought of how much a ticket to this hell hole cost. You probably paid $45 + fees and then paid for your buddy’s ticket to watch someone sing over a drum machine or not bother to play any of the songs you actually wanted to hear.

It’s all part of the hustle, folks. Both the venue the band have overhead. The talent buyer at the venue is trying to get the best deal for an act, but pay just enough to keep it from their competition. On the other side you have an agent that is trying to force the talent buyer to pay the highest amount EVER for their “cool new band” with 4.3 million Facebook likes that was featured in some commercial that aired in Germany. A compromise is reached and the result is that no one makes any real money. Even worse, if the band doesn’t draw, then the venue just takes a giant hit and really needs people to start buying more overpriced drinks.

But let’s get back to “the experience.” We can all agree that shows are hot and sticky. Venue AC can’t cool shit. They are basically there for decoration. Ladies, if you’re wearing make up to a sold out show, get ready to look like a raccoon by the third song. And I don’t know when this stupid trend of wearing lingerie to shows started, but ladies, keep your kitties in your shirt. I swear if I see one more completely exposed booty, I’m going to assume I’m leaving the show with pink eye.

This brings me to the concept of personal space. I get that people really get into shows and music, but, wow, don’t fucking touch me. I don’t care if you dance, hit, punch, hump, grind, lick, make out, spill your drink, whatever — just do it far, far away from me. When I’m paying this kind of money to watch an artist, all I want is to stand there and not be touched by anyone.  

Did I mention the sound is usually below par? Especially in my neck of the woods —I can’t name a single venue where I’ve been impressed with sound quality, and I’ve been to them all. Sure you can hear recognizable noise, and your favorite band is here, live and awesome, but pass.

You know what always gets screwed up? THE SCHEDULE. Someone always feels like they are going on too early, even though the Tour Manager has a set schedule that was confirmed with the venue. Dear opening band: get over yourself. Door time was 8, music is at 9, the people that want to see you are here. Dear headlining band: get over yourself, everyone is here and it’s 1am. These people have been standing for 5 hours, not able to pee, buying crappy overpriced drinks waiting for the headliner to come on.

Venues need to grow a pair and end the madness. The list can always keep going, but these are the staple complaints that venues need to address. Get your shit together, hire some competent door humans and hire some women. Stop screwing me over on the gross drinks, fix the sound, stop over stuffing the place just to make a buck, get some working plumbing, fuck off with these awful openers you plucked out of a high school talent show, and last but not least, work on caring about your customers. Because I’ll tell you right now — I know how to make a shitty pineapple vodka, and I am way more stoked on watching DIY YouTube videos rather than dealing with your over-hyped sweat box.

Samantha Knox

Samantha Knox

Samantha Knox is a writer and marketer living in Dallas. She doesn't have time to hear about your stupid problems.
Samantha Knox

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