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Block Parties Are Overrated, Stay at the Club

Someone clearly didn't pace themselves

Someone clearly didn't pace themselves

The Door Guy is a veteran of countless clubs around town. People say they've seen it all, but he's seen more. Write to him for everything from live advice to life advice.

Dear Door Guy,

I'm so incredibly excited that the snow has melted, it's getting warm out, and it's block party season again! It seems like we get at least two a month before it gets cold again. I am pumped.

Do you ever worry that block parties are going to put you out of business? It just seems like they're way more fun. I really like your informational columns and I'm worried about ya!

--Block Party YAY!

Dear YAY,

Don't you worry about me. First of all, if block parties were such a big deal that they caused massive layoffs and soup lines at the Door Guy Guild, I can always rely on the backup plan of my philosophy degree working for me. Second, it's never going to happen, ever. Because while block parties can be a ton of fun, they're never going to replace spending your nights in a dark room listening to your favorite music. Why? Because rock clubs are way better than block parties, and always will be.

Don't believe me? Here's a thoughtful, informational, mildly obnoxious list of reasons why rock clubs will always be cooler than block parties.

It's far easier to handle your booze in a rock club

Look, I've talked at length in past columns about the importance of pacing oneself. Now, take away the defining parameters of a "few hours in a bar" and "responsible bartenders" and replace it with "hours upon hours in the sun," "endless amounts of beer in cans and plastic cups," and "forgetting to eat," and what you have is a guaranteed pile of drunken bodies on the sidewalk, in the gutter, or generally just in the way.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that YOU don't know how to handle yourself, YAY. I'm sure you've been in training for block party season all winter. I'm saying that the likelihood of running into a mass of people who don't know how to handle themselves increases exponentially when they're been drinking for longer than they work in a day in a largely ungoverned outdoor setting. I mean, I'm sure the next day you won't be joking about the weird little marks that you get when you drunk-nap on the sidewalk on your face. And I'm sure your friends won't be Instagramming photos of said sidewalk face-nap.

You don't need to put out effort at a rock club

Look, this one's easy. When you come into my bar, you and I have a social contract: You are going to pay admission to hang out in front of the stage and enjoy yourself because generally speaking you are interested in at least one of the bands and willing to give the others a shot. This is not block party behavior.

At block parties, especially multi-stage events, you and about 800 people with similar taste are all attempting to catch the one band you want to see on the same stage before you trade your spots with 800 other people who are trying to catch the completely different band you don't like that is following your favorite band. Meanwhile, like some sort of befuddled half-drunk Roman phalanx, you and all your fellow fans of that one band are attempting a full-court press on the beer stand, and then rushing to some other stage -- sometimes at another block party happening at the same time as the block party you just left -- to see the other band you all really like before doing the whole thing over again a half hour later. This does not sound like fun. This sounds like work.

At rock clubs, you are guaranteed that the bathroom will not have arrived on the back of a flatbed that morning

Look, I'm not going to pretend that every single one of our local music venues has the nicest bathrooms. Some are pretty awful. However, I can say that the sleazy filth-hole where you don't dare sit on the toilet because you don't want to accidentally expose yourself to the years of hard drugs and STDs permanently coating the seat has mostly gone the way of the coke-addled syphilitic dinosaur. And even that is preferable to making pee in what is essentially a plastic bucket with an overinflated sense of self. Especially after 1,000 of your favorite drunks (see above) have left an inch of swamp water and wet toilet paper coating the floor. Porta-potties are both an inevitable but necessary evil of block parties and are absolutely disgusting; by some law of reductive logic, doesn't that make block parties absolutely disgusting?

Nobody brings their kids to a rock club (or at least, nobody should*)

You know why no one brings kids to a rock club? Because it's an excruciatingly annoying experience for little kids who are up way past their bedtime. I don't care how cute it is when your toddler headbangs to whatever vestige of your fading youth you've got cranked in the car, it's not a sign they're enjoying themselves. It's actually a sign that they're writhing in their five-point harness in annoyance like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, plotting how much of your money they're going to blow later on therapy bills and music you will think is totally terrible. If you actually did take your little kid to a rock show, he/she/it would last about five minutes before they were a) crying b) begging for their favorite app on your iPhone or c) shoving their head in the garbage. This is why taking your kids to a rock club is socially unacceptable.

Yet, somehow, the same parents who would never, ever do this to their children think it's okay to do the exact same thing at a block party because hey, they're only skipping Junior's nap time to see their favorite local act. For them, it's saving the eight bucks you'd have to pay the neighbor kid to babysit while having a couple beers and forgetting for a fleeting moment the portents of doom that come with using your reproductive organs. For everyone else, however, there's just the uncomfortable mix of little kids and loud music, which is sort of like getting your peanut butter in my chocolate -- if by peanut butter you mean your feral beast-child, and by chocolate you mean my comfort zone.

*I once saw a quasi-hippie EDMish duo who brought their toddler on tour with them and wore the kid in some sort of Baby Bjorn apparatus on stage with gigantic noise-canceling headphones while they performed. The kid was the least bad thing about that show.

Nobody brings their dogs to a rock club, either

That's right, nobody, unless you count crusty punk kids who never actually enter the rock club in the first place because they're too busy sitting outside asking for money (and even this doesn't happen much any more). Either way, if you are attending a show at a rock club, it is highly unlikely that a four-legged animal will pee on your foot. Two-legged animals are a completely different story, but if that happens, at least you have me to complain to.

Block parties, however, are completely fair game for people's pets, which I guess is cute and all until you realize that dogs have really sensitive ears and all that noise is just making them sort of sad and weirded out. Sad, weirded out dogs are total bummers. Also total bummers: how people treat their animals in public when they'd rather be paying attention to something else. Bonus super-bummer: I once saw some asshat drag his dog center-stage right in the middle of a rowdy hardcore crowd at a block party because "my dog loves it!" Knock, knock. Who's there? Your Dog. My Dog who? Your dog wants you to know that you're mentally ill.

Don't get me wrong, YAY, I am as starved for vitamin D and the outdoors as anyone else after a long winter, and I love block parties as an excuse to get outside, eat food truck food, and generally enjoy a refreshing change from the usual. But don't forget: All these bands you see are going to be playing better and longer once the sun goes down at a rock venue near you. Don't miss it.

Got a question for The Door Guy? E-mail [email protected]

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