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Sunday, April 21, 2024

How to spot a Chad at your local concert

A number of weeks ago, I wrote about an amateur videographer named Chad. Chad is the bane of my existence for a plethora of reasons. However, in my last column, I stuck to his videography skills—or lack thereof. This time, I am here to talk about Chad, the (personal) space invader.

As a light refresher, Chad is an average height male (5-feet-9-inches) who really likes whichever band you are at. Chad can often be found at Dave Matthews Band concerts, but he invariably makes an appearance at whichever venue you find yourself at any given time, no matter who is on the stage.

In this scenario, you and your friend, who we will call Derek, are at this show to see whichever harmless band you want to insert here. For the purposes of this column, let’s insert Grizzly Bear, as they are a great live band who have an ardent fan base, yet do not encourage moshing or anything of that nature. A Grizzly Bear show is a chance to enjoy the music while hanging out with your friend(s).

In walks Chad to the venue, two songs into Grizzly Bear’s set, with his bro-tourage of five other people who may have names, but they are all Chad Jr.s to me. Chad and his army of fellow Chads immediately think they deserve to be at or as close to the front as possible.

Before I resume my curmudgeonly old-man rant on how Chad and his fellow Chad friends shouldn’t do this, I will say this: I get wanting to be as close to the stage as possible. With the entire crowd in the way, it can be difficult to truly connect with the musicians on stage.

Chad and his friends swiftly move from the back of the venue to the front, elbowing everyone in their way. If you were to say something, Chad and his Chad friends would say something to the effect of “why are you in my way?”

With that being said, Chad and his Chad friends don’t care about connecting with the musicians on stage. They are there to, in the parlance of our times, get messed up and make everyone around them miserable. Chad and the Chadettes—that should be a band name, a band that only plays Dave Matthews Band and Guster covers—don’t know more than a couple of songs, but when they do, you and everyone around this motley crue of un-extraordinary gentlemen will know about it.

In the case of Grizzly Bear, “Two Weeks” comes on. As the distinctive piano intro rings out, the whole crowd gets more excited than it otherwise would be. But thanks to being situated right next to Chad and the Chadettes, rounds of high-fives circle throughout their group as they begin to chant in off-key unison “Oooohoooohaaaaaahhhh.”

But it’s not their singing that troubles me this time, but rather, it’s their insistence upon using this time to “dance.” The word “dance” goes in quotes because, despite this being a very peaceful show, Chad and the Chadettes think they are at Ozzfest as their elbows and bodies start flying into you and Derek as you try to enjoy Ed Droste and his bandmates perform the song you paid them to sing.

But alas, you are confronted with a barrage of flailing body parts instead, and as you try to dodge Chad’s elbows, the song mercifully ends. Now, I am not one to let a crowd mar my experience, but seriously, the Chads of this world are the worst.

After the song is over, and Chad looks at Chad Jr.’s video of the song he just took, from the concert that he is still at, the whole gang of Chad and the Chadettes will ritually pull out their phones and start texting all their friends. While that bothers me a little bit, I too have been known to refresh my Twitter feed one too many times at a concert and thus, can’t berate this squadron for doing it.

After Chad puts his phone away, Chad spots his friend Jake halfway across the venue. For the next song, Chad starts yelling across the venue. Eventually, Jake spots Chad and, because there was so much room before Jake arrived, he too decides to join Chad and the Chadettes in the area, which you inhabited before Chad got there.

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Eventually, the show ends and Chad, Jake and the team of Chad Jr.s all go home after exchanging bro hugs and high-fives while you just stand there, caught in the crossfire of multiple interactions. What could have been a great night ends with you disappointed and knowing more about Jake’s relationship issues than you might otherwise have liked.

To close, enthusiasm is a good thing and hanging out with your friends is also a good thing. However, your concert experience doesn’t supersede mine, and though you may be having a totally awesome night with the bros, please don’t make it at the expense of mine.

Do you hate Chad? Are you Chad? Have you met Chad? Tell Brian about it at weidy@wisc.edu.

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