It's a big night. One of your favorite bands of all-time is in a venue small enough to where you can be closer to them than you had ever imagined.
You're not up front, but damn it, you're close enough and you're ready for the show to begin.
Sure, rock shows can be rowdy, and you're cool with that. Hell, most rock shows are downright boring without a bit of raucousness rolling around you.
So, bring it on, right?
Absolutely. Until, that is, you hear a seemingly innocuous phrase, followed by a not-so-subtle shove from the back -- and for the third time in less than an hour.
"Hey, man, need to get by."
Perhaps that sounds innocent enough, given the cramped quarters of the
club. But it's highly offensive at this point. The show's already started.
It's made worse when you can't help but notice that the guy toting yet another armload of beer has been making this regular trek from perhaps the best spot in the house -- front and center.
Might as well be sitting on the stage itself.
But that's not enough. He's got to run back and forth to the bar all night.
The Front Row Beer Mule is a walking, bumping, agitating concert foul unto itself.
As the night goes on, the Front Row Beer Mule makes even more trips to the bar for beers and defiantly returns to his coveted spot each time. And, like clockwork, he tries to force himself between your shoulder and the shoulder of the other victim to your immediate left.
It is then that he acts one of two ways: Either the Beer Mule proceeds as though it's the first time he's done this and therefore it must be completely cool (even though it's not), or he attempts to make a joke out of it with a feeble "It's me again!"
But rarely is the Front Row Beer Mule apologetic. Rarely does one possess much of a clue at all, actually.
Here's the thing: Such servitude and sacrifice to a group of friends might be commendable in another scenario, but not here.
It happens at all kinds of shows. I saw it myself at recent Mumford & Sons and Social Distortion gigs, each of which was at the House of Blues, each of which was crowded.
Look: No one's suggesting that everyone have their own special little protective force field to repel the fingerprints of strangers at packed-out club shows. No.
Like every other concert foul, it's just a question of simple consideration.
But, in the Front Row Beer Mule's case, it's his repeated lack of consideration that makes the him a slightly far greater threat than even the dreaded Hot Girls Holding Hands as They Cram Their Way to the Front of The Stage Right As the Show's Beginning. (Yeah, that title needs some work).
Here's the thing, Front Row Beer Mule: When you grab a prime slice of real estate for a sold-out show, you're making a trade-off. You should know that your ability to hoist multiple drinks into the direction of the lead singer's microphone will be supplanted by a kick-ass concert experience that only a few in the sardine-packed room get to enjoy.
And that's pretty amazing.
Next time, Front Row Beer Mule, let that be enough.