Get to know the 7 people you meet at Dupstep shows

By Tucker Vento

Skrillex won three Grammy Awards. David Guetta produced what seems like every Billboard song… Skrillex won three Grammy Awards. David Guetta produced what seems like every Billboard song playing on commercial radio. More and more people are talking about this elusive “drop.” It’s only a matter of time before you attend your first dubstep or other electronic dance music (EDM) concert.

Someone who has never been to one of these shows could be in for quite the cultural shock. But fear not, young raver; having periled the waters for far too long, I’m prepared to pass my findings along.

This field guide will help you determine who to fraternize with and who to avoid if you find yourself in the middle of a “womp-fest,” “rage-a-thon” or a bass-filled EDM show by any other name.

The Bro

The bro, in general, doesn’t get “it.” He has ski goggles slung around his neck, he’s wearing a neon trucker hat with the word “rage” printed on the front and he’s probably yelling. He might be wearing a beater or even a shirt with his Greek letters on it.

He doesn’t know too much about electronic music, or music in general. He just picked up some vodka and Red Bull and heard there was a rager happening at this show. Beware of incessant fist bumping — these concert-goers are above no social stereotypes.

Not far behind him — or directly in front of him — you will find. . .

The Bro’s Girlfriend

The bro’s girlfriend had a few too many shots of raspberry Smirnoff before braving the cold air in her miniskirt and tube top to get to the show.

During every opening act, she will ask her boyfriend if the current DJ is the headliner, to which he will almost always respond in the affirmative. She will take too many pictures — of everything — and if you stand too close you may be asked to take a picture of her and her friends (“Rusko 2012!!!!! I’ll tag you when we get home!”).

Try not to dance too close to her; her boyfriend may get territorial, or she may fall over because she wore 4-inch heels.

Eyeing her from a distance is a questionable fellow. . .

The Guy That Might Be Someone’s Dad

I do not discriminate based on age, but when you see this guy at the show, you might wonder if he got lost. He’s probably dressed in business casual and his age suggests that he could either be a young parent off work or a poor guy who thought he was meeting his friends at a hip club or bar.

He is smiling too much, and if you stare for too long he’ll try and start a conversation about how great “Deadmau-five” is. He is nodding his head offbeat and he’s trying to figure out what to do with his hands. He might take his kids home at 11 p.m., or he might let them stay until the end of the set because he’s that “cool dad.”

But with the certain cool dad, there’s inevitably. . .

The Tween

Every time I see kids at an EDM show, I can’t tell how old they actually are. They look like they could be high schoolers, but they easily pass for middle schoolers. The boys are drenched in hair gel and are sporting their school’s lax pinnies, and the girls have uncomfortably torn jean shorts and are texting each other throughout the show.

They tried to sneak in a bottle of alcohol to share, but upon learning that bouncers confiscate liquids, they left the line as a group and nonchalantly went around the corner to try and chug it. You’ll recognize them by the wincing. Once they get in, they might ask you to buy them alcohol, but do your best to not corrupt them.

There’s enough of that from. . .

The Raver

This guy or girl went to their first rave many years ago and since then, has acquired more neon beaded bracelets and glow sticks than they care to admit. Actually, they will admit it and they’ll tell you anything and everything else you want to know.

In general, ravers are the nicest people at the show. They’ve got the communal bottle of water — you’ll buy the next one, out of guilt if nothing else — they’ll help the Bro’s Girlfriend get up when she falls over and they will always help you start crowd surfing. These attendees developed whilst attending techno raves, where the mantra is PLUR — Peace Love Unity Respect — and they’ve carried this idea with them ever since.

Sometimes their kindness extends a little too far, and you can usually find them shelling out some illicit substances at a reduced price to. . .

The Rager

Their name bears an eerie resemblance to the previous specimen, but don’t be fooled. They are at this show to go crazy, and nothing else.

They will be wearing neon and a bandana somewhere on their person, and their ringleader has LED gloves. These kids sing along to every hook, are able to say, “His set was totally better when I saw him over the summer,” and spend their free time discussing lineups for upcoming festivals.

When the beat drops, they’re going crazy, convulsing and yelling things like, “My face is melting,” and, a personal favorite, “Wub wub wub.” Their hands are everywhere: in the air, on the ground, on their head, on your head.

They exude a youthful party attitude, and because of this they are usually approached by. . .

The Single Woman

“This is what’s cool right now, right guys?”  Inevitably, there will be a group of mid-to-late-twenty-something single women at this show.

She graduated several years ago, but due to a recent breakup, she yearns for her college years again. She heard about this through her old sorority Facebook group and assumed that the dress code would include a tight black dress and heels.

She had one too many shots with her girls before the show and fully intends on being entirely inappropriate with an unsuspecting college male. No, don’t give in to her appeal as an “older woman.” You’ll probably end up holding her hair next to a toilet later in the night. Old habits die hard.

Your first dubstep show can be a scary time. The music is loud, the lights are erratic and the guy next to you is asking if you know where his friend Molly went.

You will encounter many interesting wayward souls at this show, but despite your differing quirks you are all united by your love for crazy dancing and general disregard for social mores.

Take this guide to heart and next time you’ll know which group to womp with.

Tucker Vento is the music director at WPTS-FM, resident Dubstep Scholar and one of the hosts of “Slow Your Roll,” which airs every Thursday night from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Email Tucker at [email protected].