On the stage: A local’s guide to getting the most out of concerts

Benjamin Welch
The Aspen Times
Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit performs "Cry Like A Ghost" at Belly Up Aspen on Saturday night.
Benjamin Welch/The Aspen Times

The most important part of enjoying a concert is being in (or out of) the right head space. This usually means planning your booze and drug consumption so that you hit a crescendo right when the opener walks onstage. It was with this attitude I popped a Tide Pod, chugged a gallon of Silver City Ale at Aspen Tap and dropped a Benjamin on an evening at Belly Up with Passion Pit.

“If I never hear ‘Sleepyhead’ again in my life, I won’t miss it,” I told my friend before the show, in between hiccups and foamy detergent burps.

“They’re probably going to play it more than once,” he responded. “Do they even have a catalog?”

Best known for the 2009 hit “Sleepyhead” and acclaimed 2012 album “Gossamer” (which a dumber, younger version of me once said was “one of the greatest albums of the past decade” on Facebook), Passion Pit is the electropop brainchild of Michael Angelakos, who wails through lyrics over a backdrop of synths, drums and what sounds like a theremin.

I stumbled into the venue and went immediately to the back bar for a Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboy. I myself have three blue-ribbon dance moves in my repertoire: the Moonwalk, the fist pump, and … actually I only have two moves. Never sure what to do with my other hand, I find that a large, refreshing can of beer makes a good prop.

The floor in front of the stage was packed, but I was too amped to bob my head with the rest of the solo guys along the back rail. I like going to shows by myself so that my friends won’t judge me for the way I cut a rug. That famous quote — I think from the Bible — that goes “Dance like nobody is watching” doesn’t apply to me; “Dance like nobody you know is watching” provides all the inspiration I need.

If your goal is to get as close to the stage as the crowd will allow, keep in mind that you will either have to forgo bathroom breaks or tie a catheter bag to your leg. Most people don’t have this level of constitution, so as they bow out to relieve themselves or order another drink, take the opportunity to fill the void they’ve created. It’s tough to properly balance drinking enough to be buzzed on a bladder that subsequently can’t be emptied, so this step takes practice (unless the catheter route sounds more appealing).

It’s crucial to note that you must keep dancing when advancing in the crowd. You don’t need to know the lyrics, per se, but it’s advised to at least scream along with the rhythm. As with skipping to the front of the self-checkout line at City Market, the more of a maniac you look, the less likely it is that people will question you.

By the encore I had reached the third row from front after a plea of “Sorry, I’m trying to get to my boyfriend” wasn’t enough to advance me past two girls steadfastly guarding their spot (it also wasn’t true, so that’s fine. Neither was the part about the Tide Pod, so don’t try to sue me).

The show was great, and I nearly reached my goal of getting close enough to have some famous dude’s sweat drip on me. Really, how much more can we ask from life?

And they didn’t play “Sleepyhead.”