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How can I, a 17 year old college student, get in to 18+ shows in the Boston area?
August 22, 2009 10:23 PM   Subscribe

Why are so many shows in Boston 18+? And is there any chance I could get into those shows as a 17 year old college student?

Specific venues I'm referring to are The Middle East, Great Scott, Paradise Rock Club, and House of Blues. There's some really great artists playing at those places soon that I'd love to see. If I were to just show security my student ID card (which has no birthdate, but shows that I am a college student), would they accept that?

Also, while I'm on the subject, why is Grizzly Bear at the Orpheum Theater so expensive?
posted by Bahro to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (16 answers total)
 
And is there any chance I could get into those shows as a 17 year old college student?

It's unlikely, but possible. I got into an 18+ show when I was a 17-year-old college student by just showing my driver's license and asking nicely. The bouncer looked it over pretty carefully -- which is odd, because who has a fake ID that says they're 17? -- and then he let me in even though I was underage. (This was at the Avalon, though, which is gone now...)

If I were to just show security my student ID card (which has no birthdate, but shows that I am a college student), would they accept that?

I don't think so. An ID without an age seems like it would be a pretty clear red flag for a place with an age restriction.
posted by danb at 10:39 PM on August 22, 2009


The Avalon is gone? Bummer.

I imagine that there are so many 18+ shows because they want to get all the college business, but they don't want lots of high school kids coming in.

I was under-18 in Boston way too long ago, but I do recall being able to get into a few of those shows. I have no idea how that happened, though (I didn't have a fake) and again, it was over a decade ago.
posted by lunasol at 11:23 PM on August 22, 2009


Security at a club isn't going to take a dateless college ID, because they have no way of verifying whether or not you should have access to alcohol based on that ID.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:34 PM on August 22, 2009


Can you volunteer or get a job at one of these venues?
posted by chairface at 11:49 PM on August 22, 2009


Security at a club isn't going to take a dateless college ID, because they have no way of verifying whether or not you should have access to alcohol based on that ID.

Well, I wouldn't be claiming that I was 21.

I imagine that there are so many 18+ shows because they want to get all the college business, but they don't want lots of high school kids coming in.<>

That's what I figured, but a college ID wouldn't help me get in?

posted by Bahro at 2:27 AM on August 23, 2009


The way 18+ was explained to me (admittedly in another state, but isn't spelled out by the Mass. ABCC that I can find): If a person between 18 and 21 is found with alcohol, that's a charge of serving underage. If a person under 18 is, that can be brought up as endangering a minor or encouraging delinquency (depend on local/state statutes, sometimes both). As a young teen I used to get into some shows with a guardian (who would ostensibly take care of my not being exposed to demon rum), but it's often up to the venue. Basically, no one running a club wants to deal with the potential liability of minors.

As far as ID - Mass. Law doesn't require ID to be checked, but for licensees to defend themselves against charges of service to those underage only drivers licenses, liquor ID cards, passports, and military ID's are accepted. Basically, no one is required to check anything but if there's any question, there better be good documents as proof.
posted by pupdog at 3:28 AM on August 23, 2009


Chiming in as former Boston college student/DJ at Avalon, Paradise, all those clubs.

No, clubs won't take a college ID as proof of being 18+ because there's no birthdate on it.

Your choices are to get a fake ID, wait until you're 18, or...befriend the band/crew and waltz in with them.

Befriending the band/house crew is actually pretty easy. If you get there early before soundcheck, you can introduce yourself, tell them you're interested in what they do and ask if you can help/watch. Then you hang for the show. Clubs have in-house crews and almost always appreciate the help if you're reasonably hardworking and cool.

Boston nightclub owners generally have a very tenuous relationship with the Alcohol Board and won't do anything to jeopardize their license, so it's highly unlikely to find the bouncer who will let you in without an ID (it's not worth them losing their job).

In other words, use the back door.
posted by dzaz at 4:21 AM on August 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Chiming in as a former not-21 year-old with friends and access, I'll say this.

Typically, 18+ shows fall into two categories: serving or not? If yes, then expect that they will be ruthless. If no, they're just trying to keep the high school kids out and a college ID will be fine. In my experience, the latter is far less typical than the former.

The best you can do is make friends with a promoter that gets you on a VIP list, or make friends with the owner.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:33 AM on August 23, 2009


2nding the ask nicely suggestion. This wasn't in Mass, but a few years ago a buddy of mine bought a ticket to a show, only to find out that the show was 21+ a couple of hours before the show. He was still 19 at the time so he just went to the show AFTER the line had died down and asked nicely, explained that he was a huge fan and promised that he wouldn't drink. They let him in with no hassles.

Alternately, you might be able to find someone respectable looking over 21 with the same last name that could claim to be your guardian. Most places will let underage people in with a guardian.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 6:50 AM on August 23, 2009


Depends if liquor's going to be served...at the Boston nightclubs where I DJed, it didn't matter how many of-age people you were with, they weren't going to risk losing their livelihood letting you in.

But no, it can never hurt to ask. Nor does it hurt to hand over your college ID with a $10 bill. Some bouncers are open to a financial "suggestion."

Also seconding making friends with the promoter...sometimes if you're on the guest list, they won't check ID.
posted by dzaz at 7:10 AM on August 23, 2009


I'm going to second the ask the band/crew suggestion. In 1991 (SIGH) I was 17 and wanted to see L7 in Nashville but it was an 18+ show. I went up to L7's bus and talked to one of the band members who was sitting outside and explained the situation about how I wanted to see the band really badly but I wasn't old enough. She was super cool about it and and got me and my girlfriend in right away. So, it can work.
posted by josher71 at 7:10 AM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you can get a job at your school's college radio station and make contact with the band you want to see through that channel before you go, they may be able to make arrangements with you to get in, especially if you can schedule an interview with them before the show, or if you're reviewing it. Of course, this only works if your school has a college radio station, nobody else already has dibs on going to that show, and your radio station is "important" enough to have clout with the band/venue.
posted by ishotjr at 7:37 AM on August 23, 2009


Note that some venues will not accept an out of state, or non- MA ID unless it shows the person is 25 or older. A big WTF???,but MA is very prudish about their alcohol laws. No Happy hours, no drink specials, etc.
posted by Gungho at 8:25 AM on August 23, 2009


Have you tried to contact the band? I've heard success stories where a simple e-mail to the merch guy has put an underage person onto a special guest list.
posted by alligatorman at 8:39 AM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why are so many shows in Boston 18+?

Because it's a college town. Otherwise they would be 21+.
posted by smackfu at 5:53 PM on August 23, 2009


Also, while I'm on the subject, why is Grizzly Bear at the Orpheum Theater so expensive?

Because Grizzly Bear are big right now, bro.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:38 PM on August 23, 2009


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