Why do so many Black Keys fans act like complete tools?
By NICK TAVARES
STATIC and FEEDBACK Editor
As a show-goer, I’m very low maintenance.
Upon entering the club/bar/arena/VFW hall, I usually scope out the building pretty quickly, scan the merchandise table, grab a beer if I’m not driving, and settle into my spot for the evening. I don’t mind standing for a few hours — I’m known to wear sneakers at all times unless absolutely necessary — and I’m happy to help out the crowd for the greater good in any way I can. “Need me to slide over so your girlfriend can see? No problem.” “Yeah, I’ll hold that spot for you while you pee.” “The opening band’s name? That was Art Brut. ... Yeah, they’re British.” All part of the experience.
Naturally, I also expect different things in different situations. If I’m catching, say, Gov’t Mule in a club, I’m in for a no-nonsense, mostly male crowd who’s not interested in dancing so much as taking in all of the reverb-blues goodness with a pint in hand. If it’s Tom Petty in an arena, I’m expecting sing-alongs and no more than one or two annoying cell phone incidents around me.
I’m very rarely surprised by the composition of the audience at a rock show, but one band’s fans have thrown me for a loop for the past few years — the Black Keys. Why? Their fans are, by and large, pricks.
If this had been one isolated incident at one show, I would have quickly written it off as a bad hand in a poker game — I had a drunk, overweight frat guy almost ruin a Wilco show for me a few years ago, for example. Stuff like that happens.
But this phenomenon of Black Keys fans being testosterone-filled, hyped-up, overbearing dickwads has now extended to several shows, two coasts, and confirmation from our resident Southeast correspondent, Mr. Matt Berry. There are too many Black Keys fans who carry proudly the flag of the douche.
At the second show of the Keys’ tour for Attack and Release in Tempe, I was ambushed by shirtless frat wonders by the end of the second song. Climbing on top of each other, slamming into everyone within 10 rows of the front of the stage, these dudes were no where near drunk enough to get away with this. Elbows were flying, and the half of the crowd behaving themselves started to band together about halfway through the show to keep these jerkoffs from getting any closer to the front.
On top of this, the crowd had another surprise in store for me. They smelled awful. Reeked. Like an unholy cloud of sweat, body odor, feces and rancid meat, there was a disproportionate number of folks in that place who smelled like they hadn’t seen a shower since the Smiths last toured. It’s bad enough when half of the crowd decides to act like a bunch of tools, but it’s all together another thing when they also decide it’s in their best interest to stay as far away from a bar of Ivory as possible.
It got so bad that, just before the encore when I was hit again from behind by an elbow, I found myself spinning around with a hand flying into some guy’s chest, screaming “DUDE! BACK OFF!” I wasn’t the only one to do this, but it’s officially the closest I’ve come to being in a fight since the fifth grade. And I didn’t start that one.
So, a note to all the bad Black Keys fans out there (you know who you are): Get lost. Get a life. Go watch Fall Out Boy or Disturbed or some other crap band who would be happy to have you.
And to the rest of you, remember, we need to band together. It’s up to us to keep douchenozzles like these out of our concert-going lives.
April 9, 2008