Let's just put this on the table right now: No one over 25 should be attending raves. Raves are basically a young kid's racket, for the baggy-pants wearing, Red Bull-guzzling, Buffy the Vampire Slayer-watching crowd. It's not because older young adults would look suspiciously out of place in an environment like that (they would), but they wouldn't be able to experience the liberated joy these kids get when they convene at a warehouse/ballroom/entertainment complex, without parental supervision, and stay out all damn night taking part in some PG-13-rated partying. (I stayed out until 7 a.m. -- woo-hoo!)
But if you still think you're hip and with it just because you brought the new Roni Size album and you still stop for clothes at Urban Outfitters and you know who Jessica Alba is, no one is stopping you from indulging in a night of underground uncouthness. But it's highly recommended you follow these five simple rules if you wanna have just as good a time as the kids have. These rules also apply to first-timers, seasoned partygoers and people with large, floppy polka-dot hats who are looking for someplace to wear them without looking like a yutz:
1. For the love of God, show up early.
Kids flock to raves the same way hippies flocked to Woodstock: in droves. It's like it's a friggin' pilgrimage. Cars will be scattered all over the area, in fields, near reservoirs, in people's driveways and front yards. It's best you head out there at least an hour early and find a decent spot. It should be a spot not too far, but not too close either, just in case some idiots bunch up in front of the place. Find someplace you can get out of easily, just in case you get weak in the knees at around 2 a.m. and need to roll.
2. Bring a friend.
Sometimes the best way to experience a rave is through somebody else's eyes. Especially if that somebody else has never been to a rave before. Bring a friend along and see how he or she responds to the whole goings-on. That person may be amazed or that person may be bored, or that person may kvetch about the fact that he or she is getting too old for this shit. The possibilities are just endless, and you'll be mildly entertained in the process.
3. Bring earplugs
It's funny how many of these kids are willing to piss away their good hearing all in the name of having a good time. A rave can be extremely loud -- we're talking louder than Robin Williams's wardrobe. If you've gotten to that age where you start to give a damn about your hearing, you should stop at a Walgreens beforehand and get some effective, comfortable earplugs. (Hearos is a good brand.) And bring some spares just in case you bring that kvetching friend.
4. Find something interesting about the rave.
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Okay, so maybe you don't dig the music the DJs are playing, or the whole glow-sticks and trippy-dippy ambiance. But there are a number of fascinating things to find at a rave. For one, kids see this as an opportunity in many unusual costumes. An alien is always a favorite outfit for rave kids, but some kids get really creative and dress up like their favorite cartoon character, like Roger Rabbit and Buzz Lightyear. (Hand to God, this is all true.) Another thing you can do is count how many girls you see holding hands, giving the impression that they're at least bi-curious, which brings us to our final tip:5. Interact with the rave kids
As mentioned above, you do meet a lot of peculiar folk at these raves. For every kid you meet and talk to, you pick up some nugget of insight into today's youth, like 'N Sync sucks and Prince Albert piercings really do hurt, and 'N Sync sucks. That has always been a big perk in attending a rave: You meet some intriguing people and learn some new stuff. But don't interact with them too much, or else they'll think you're a narc.
The generically named BAR (534 Texas) just opened a few weeks ago in Bayou Place. The motto for this newest nightspot (part of a nationwide franchise) is "No Themes, No Attitudes, Just BAR." That couldn't be more on the nose. Maybe it's because the lavish decor of such downtown clubs as Tonic (310 Main) and the Mercury Room (1008 Prairie) has spoiled us local clubhoppers, but the interior design of the place, not to mention the music and atmosphere, is exceedingly bland. Once you enter this club, you feel like you're in that John Carpenter movie They Live, where Roddy Piper puts on special sunglasses and realizes aliens are walking among us and getting subliminal black-and-white messages through magazines and billboards. Corny top-ten lists and fake accolades from celebs plaster the walls. A screen by the DJ booth shows slides of people at other BAR locations having a better time. (Look, two girls making out!) And if you long for the musical musings of such early-'90s orators as Marky Mark and M.C. Hammer, it looks like this place has their entire collections on wax. If it weren't for the random barmaid pulling a Coyote Ugly and dancing on the bar or those six-dollar "Bar Bombs" (a deceptively lethal combination of fruit punch and grain alcohol served in plastic mini-goldfish bowls), you know you'd be spending your weekend nights trying to get into Prague (402 Main) again.