1. Treat your bouncer/bartender/ waitress with respect. Because they are always your friend, until, suddenly, they are very much not your friend. Physically impeding their movements, exhibiting poor manners, practicing the intricate art of the 5 percent tip, and just generally pulling out the "asshole" card one too many times will, without fail, earn you short-term ejection, long-time hatred (club employees have the recall power of Jeopardy champs), or both.
2. Let the DJ do his job. It is a given that DJs love their records like children, and most love talking about said records; but they do not generally enjoy doing so in the middle of a set, and certainly not with eager beavers who lean over the turntables to ask what is being played while simultaneously sloshing a Samuel Adams on the mixer. There is a time and a place for trainspotting, and those of you who simply can't wait till the end of the set to find out more should make sure the DJ looks entirely approachable and generally free to converse before going anywhere near the decks. No matter how cute you are.
3. Take your rumble outside. So he called your girlfriend a damn dirty whore, and for that he has to die. But if you're going to start something, do not—and we repeat this even more strenuously to those who have already imbibed a cocktail or five—DO NOT bust your tae kwon do on the crowded show floor. Innocent bystanders are far more likely to be hurt than your intended target, and if your opponent doesn't kick your ass, the bouncers surely will—right out of the club, for the duration of the show.
4. Keep yer trap shut. Of course there's tons of socializing, schmoozing, and general chatting to be done, and we certainly condone the making of new friends and the greeting of old. But if you've wiggled yourself right up to the first few rows, please, please don't start yakking about your new boyfriend, that nasty urinary tract infection, or the sartorial choices of the artist on stage once the music starts—most especially if that artist is of the intimate, delicate Cat Power/ Carissa's Wierd/Mirah variety, in which case even unchecked sneezes are faux pas enough to earn you hairy eyeballs from your fellow showgoers.
5. If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie, wipe the seatie. Girls, please do not piss on the toilet seats. We understand that you must hover; we won't ask you to sit directly on the commode. But those toilet-shaped things in the wall-mounted dispenser? Those are for your use. They sit just perfectly on the seat, and you can sit just perfectly on top of them. When you're through, simply flush them with the rest of the waste. If we all do this, we can all sit on the seats safely and comfortably and no one has to have bodily contact with human urine (unless they really want to).
6. There is no such thing as fashionably late. If you absolutely, positively have to be in the front row, get there soon after the doors open and scout out your own personal space. Set your backpack down, get comfortable, post-up. There's no one more annoying than the kid who's pushing through the throngs of folks who have been waiting patiently FOR OVER AN HOUR because he or she, apparently, is the biggest fan in the world. The big fans get there on time. Got it? Good.
7. Save your ears. Earplugs are okay. Really, they are. Especially if you're at a Mogwai show, standing stage left, just a stone's throw from the bassist's Marshall stacks. If anyone gives you the stink eye or that glib little grin, tell them to bugger off. They're your ears and you sorta like hearing out of them, don't you? We're not saying you have to wear them all the time, either. But trust us, we're older than some of you and once we passed the 30-yard line we started saying "What?" and "Huh?" with a lot more frequency. Especially those of us who saw a lot of Dinosaur Jr shows back in the day.
8. Follow the leader. Different clubs have different norms and customs. You need to adhere to them. That's just the way it is. You've heard the term "When in Rome . . . ." The same thing applies, for instance, at the Crocodile. At the Croc's back bar, patrons form a nice, polite line. Real drinkin' folk are free to enjoy the barstools, the bartender is able to move quickly through the single-file form, you don't have to stand around wondering when the staff is going to notice you, and an orderly environment is enjoyed by all. Sure, at your corner bar it's chaos rules and he or she with the most come-hither eyes always wins. But when there's a line, follow it.
9. Don't step on toes. Just because there are two extra square inches in front of someone waiting to see a band, it does not necessarily behoove either of you to take them up. First of all, you'll be crowding the first person's space and obstructing his or her field of vision. And moreover, you—the squeezer-inner—will be completely cramped and uncomfortable. You know it's true. Let things shake out a bit, the crowd will settle. You'll find your place in this world and it'll be bigger than two square inches. We promise.
10. Wear deodorant. Because there is really no such thing as too much Arrid Extra Dry.