No Requests

Five reasons EDM shows are better than rock concerts.

Rather than slowly work my way up to my point, I'm going to cut to the chase: Over the next few hundred words, I'm going to make a case for why EDM shows are better than rock concerts. This statement will be viewed as heretical by many of you, especially those who refuse to believe that these button-pushers can compete with live music.

A year ago, I absolutely would have agreed with you. In fact, I'm still one of you. I'll be the first to admit there's a certain soul in live music that few DJs can conjure.

But live music is only one aspect of going to a concert. It's an important part, but it doesn't always make up for the other parts of the concertgoing experience that are awful. This isn't about the genre wars or button-pushing versus guitar-shredding. This is about the things that EDM shows get right that rock shows rarely do.

EDM fans such as these usually seem to be in a better mood than their counterparts at rock shows.
Marco Torres
EDM fans such as these usually seem to be in a better mood than their counterparts at rock shows.
Kris Kristofferson: "Life is a beautiful thing."
Ash Newell
Kris Kristofferson: "Life is a beautiful thing."

5. The noise of the crowd exists, but crowd noise doesn't: Opening acts in rock really don't get any respect. If you're direct support, it might not be so bad, but if you're the first band on a four-band bill, then most likely you're playing to an empty house and the people who have shown up are talking over your music.

Volume makes that part a nonissue at EDM shows. Few people are willing to yell over the sound system to try and hold a conversation or take a phone call. When people yell it matters, usually because they're hearing something they like or they've been prompted by the DJ.

4. Age minimums mean no kids: Part of having a child means having to make certain sacrifices. While I think it's great that parents want to instill a love of music in their little ones, there's really no need to bring a kid under the age of ten to a rock show that isn't specifically catered to them. Get them involved in School of Rock or Girls Rock Camp if they already like music — I bet they'll dig it.

As for those 16-year-olds who are bummed they can't get in to see the hot new DJ in a club setting, they're just a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Call me ageist if you must, but the fewer of them on the roads at 2 a.m., the better.

3. EDM remembers that spectacle is awesome: This might just be my personal taste speaking, but I love spectacle. Truly great bands don't need anything fancy to put on a great show, but most bands aren't truly great. The worst thing a band can be is boring, and like it or not, many bands are.

It's hard to be bored at an EDM show, provided you don't hate dance music to start with. Both artists and promoters know the importance of production, which is why promoters splurge for confetti cannons and CO2 bursts and artists are starting to build their own video walls to bring on tour.

2. No one yells out their requests, sincere or ironic: If you go to a show, there's a good chance there's one song in particular you really want to hear. I assume because you're reading this you're awesome, which means you're not one of those people who endlessly scream those requests at the band until they play them. You also never ask for "Free Bird" either, right?

I've never heard anyone at a real EDM show yell out requests. No one yells out for the big single. No one jokingly yells for "Levels." Everyone lets the DJ do his or her job, and we're all better for it.

1. People at EDM shows are really friendly: "Peace, love, unity and respect" is totally cheesy, and yet I understand why so many dance fans take it to heart. I'd say roughly 93 percent of the people at these shows are ­super-friendly and welcoming; the rest are ­either reviewing the show or getting into trouble because they can't hold their alcohol.

At most rock shows, it seems, everyone is spending their time listening to the music and silently cursing the people who are ruining the show for them. At most EDM shows, people just want to give each other high fives and make sure everyone is having a good time. Totally cheesy? Perhaps, but extremely charming.

Night Life

"Margaritaville" Is Not "Peppy"
Note to bar owners: Your musicians deserve some respect.

Jeff Balke

Dear guy who owns a bar in Tampa and recently wrote a letter to musicians on Craigslist saying live music is a "significant expense" and bands basically exist to sell booze:

I've been playing music for over 25 years. I've worked in a lot of different places, from absolute ratholes to really wonderful venues. I've seen all sorts of bad behavior on the part of musicians, fans, sound guys, bartenders, bouncers, managers and, yes, even bar owners.

Contrary to what you may believe, I do actually get that you are in business. I understand that you are eking out a living running a bar. I know that your job and the jobs of your bartenders are to sell drinks. I'm pretty sure all musicians know that.

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After reading through this article, I am more convinced that "EDM" has absolutely gone down the toilet.  First of all, I absolutely hate that abbreviation.  You are part of the problem.  This article doesn't offer a shred of knowledge or evidence, yet somehow it got published.  Basically, your editor told you to "write an article about EDM so we can get some page views."  You've only been following the scene for a year and somehow you believe that you have the right to write about something you barely have scratched the surface on.  I would urge you to attend something outside the festival scene, whatever is at Stereo Live, or a dayglow.  If somehow you ever get the chance to write another article, and I sincerely hope you don't, please add some substance to the article and teach people about the scene.  What you have written offers nothing.  As a writer, you should push yourself to do better.  This is trash.

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