Is there any way I can attend this concert?
September 12, 2011 8:17 AM   Subscribe

I reeeally want to go to a concert. The concert is 18+ only, and I am still a few months shy of that. Is there anything I can do, along the lines of calling the concert venue or the band?

In case it matters, the venue is Paradise Rock Club in Boston. When they say ID will be checked, ...does that mean that ID will actually be checked? I'm very reluctant to try to get a fake ID, but I'll do almost anything legal to get to go.
posted by anonymous to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (24 answers total)
My experience at the Paradise in Boston is that they are very serious about checking IDs. Massachusetts is pretty uptight about IDs and drinking laws generally and the Paradise was a place that we all badly wanted to go and really pretty much couldn't until we were 18.
posted by jessamyn at 8:18 AM on September 12, 2011

Agree with Jessamyn.

I went to Paradise a few years ago and they not only checked the IDs for 18+ but braceleted everyone 21+ AND at the bar still required ID.

Due to the huge number of college students and the huge penalties clubs and liquor sellers can get into for selling to underage kids in Massachusetts, most places are incredibly serious about their ID policies.

You could call the club and contact the band, but I don't think for the Paradise it would do much good. The management there is very, very strict about these policies.
posted by zizzle at 8:20 AM on September 12, 2011

I see shows at the 'Dise frequently, and the do check every ID--I am literally old enough to be your father, and there is no fucking way anyone could ever, ever, confuse me for an under 18. I get checked at the 'Dise every time.

I don't think you'll get anywhere by calling the venue or trying to contact the band, but you may as well give it a shot.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:21 AM on September 12, 2011

Oh yes, Jessamyn is right. My 50-year-old friend, who doesn't drive due to vision impairments, couldn't get served because he didn't have a driver's license, and the person doing the checking had never seen his state-issued non-driver's ID before. All of Boston is this way, and the Paradise isn't any different.
posted by Melismata at 8:22 AM on September 12, 2011

Oh, I've been there. I've *so* been there. I called a couple of nightclubs (not the Paradise but other Boston clubs) when I was a few months shy of 18 and *begged* the venues to let me in, told them they could put an X on my forehead, anything. The answer was still no - I could tell they felt awful about it but their hands were tied, the cops would shut them down because they do spot-checks all the time. But trying - and feeling like people wanted to help me, even if they couldn't - made me feel better. And yes, every Boston club checks IDs religiously. I'm close to 40 and they ID me everywhere - even in places where I'm a regular.
posted by pammeke at 8:31 AM on September 12, 2011

What about starting a Facebook group to get the band to do an all-ages show? Depends on how "big" the band is, I guess.

As an example, comedian Paul F Tompkins does the Tompkins 300 on Facebook - start a group for your town/city, and once it reaches 300 members, he'll come to your town. You do have to make it clear to folks joining the group that they should only join if they're willing to buy a ticket. Otherwise it sort of loses its point.
posted by TangoCharlie at 8:32 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

You can often get in if you are accompanied by your parent, but even that isn't always a starter.

If you already had connections you might be able to exploit them. I've gotten underage people in with me back when I did band interviews. A photographer's assistant, someone running the audio, etc. In some cases this worked. In others it would get the individual in for the sound check and to meet the band and that was it. This was when I was doing college radio.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:33 AM on September 12, 2011

Popping back on to back up what TangoCharlie says - back when I was in your situation there was no email, so I wrote an impassioned letter to the performed I wanted to see. The next time he came back to town he played an all-ages show - that was a year later when I was 18 anyway, but in the Facebook age, s/he might be able to put together a college gig (plenty of colleges in Boston) last-minute (again, as TangoCharlie says, depending on their "size"). It's not unusual for performers to do multiple sets/shows in the same city.
posted by pammeke at 8:42 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I knew a group of 15-17 year olds who regularly (and illegally, obviously) got into Boston clubs with fake Canadian ID. YMMV!
posted by Jairus at 8:42 AM on September 12, 2011

Yep, chiming in to give you more anecdata. They are very hardcore about IDs at The Paradise. Lots of underage folks in Allston trying to get into things they're not legal for, so there's a lot of care taken to prevent it. Is there anybody you can call to get around that rule? I'm afraid not. If you called the venue and asked for an exception, they'd simply say "no."

That said, I do know a few local bands who have a reputation for doing all they can to sneak their underage fans in. I wouldn't dream of trying it at the paradise, though, their security is pretty well locked down and your favorite band might get their entire tour screwed up if they piss the folks who run the paradise off - it's a Live Nation booked venue and you don't want a reputation as a troublesome band when you're trying to get tour dates.

If I were you I'd get in touch with the band and tell you your predicament anyway. Maybe they have an all ages show coming up nearby that you don't know about. If you're willing to go to all of these lengths, are you willing to drive a bit for an all ages show if they're playing one somewhere nearby? Either way, they should know that by not trying to make an all-ages show in Boston they're letting some of their fans down. Beg them to do an all ages show in your area sometime soon! And if not, hopefully they'll still be around and on tour in a year. :)
posted by pazazygeek at 8:53 AM on September 12, 2011

I used to go to shows underage on the basis of a press pass, writing reviews for the university paper. Is this an option? Writing for a legitimate operation?
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:54 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

sometimes just having an underage person in a venue (drink in hand or not) is enough to warrant a fine if that person was called-out by a law enforcement officer. You probably won't get to see your concert :( because the management would not want to risk their license
posted by zombieApoc at 9:42 AM on September 12, 2011

As someone who used to check IDs at a bar, but not that bar, I can tell you that a place that seems even a little serious about it is likely to be a lot serious about it - an 18+ rather than a 21+ in particular. The cost, as an institution, of getting caught not being serious about it is big. Your piddly little $5-20 cover charge isn't gonna make up for my lost liquor license (or even just a one-night shutdown).

It's been 21 years since I wasn't able to get in to a venue to see Game Theory because I was just a little shy of being old enough to get into a venue and it still stings. If you dig music I'd say you should get that fake ID. BUT, for something legal-ish I'd say - do you know anyone who looks kinda like you who is between 18 and 21?

Using someone else's ID to get into the venue but not to drink is about as legal as you can be without being strictly so. You're certainly not running up against any alcohol-consumption issue there and the venue isn't going to be as concerned as scrutinizing an ID that puts you in the no-booze here's-your-big-X-on-the-hand camp.

If you do this make sure you know everything on that ID backwards and forwards and also what astrological sign you are (a common way to check for fakes). Google up your state's enforcement bureau website and look at the little cheat sheets they provide venues for quick ways to spot fakes or misused IDs so you know what you may be asked.
posted by phearlez at 9:46 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I got into 18+ and 21+ venues when I was younger (like 15 and 16) by going with a parent. I felt kinda lame obviously, but less lame than not going and I was 15, I felt uncool all the time anyway. This requires having really tolerant/cool parents, though. This was also in Texas- if you can get a parent to go with you, call the club beforehand and see if this'll work.
posted by MadamM at 9:56 AM on September 12, 2011

I was DJ at the Paradise and if you don't have ID, you're not going to get in (with a parent, with a newspaper pass, etc.) UNLESS you physically walk in with someone who's working the show, like the house DJ, the band, the roadies. Even if you contact the band and they put you on the list, if you're not of age, the won't let you in.

And the Paradise is most expert at noting fake IDs.

Your best possible bet is to hang out when the band is loading in, explain the situation, and it's possible they'll let you walk in the back with them. Offer to get them good food.
posted by kinetic at 10:11 AM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

I don't know about the band exception, either (as kinetic notes). We (with, admittedly, little clout) often played shows where my little sister couldn't get in even if she was over 18 if the club was 21+.
posted by resurrexit at 10:18 AM on September 12, 2011

The problem is (and Mass doesn't spell it out cleanly in the online law stuff that I could find, but it's this way for other states I've checked on) someone between 18 and 21 drinking is a serving underaged fine, possibly a closure for a couple days. Serving under 18 is child endangerment or the like, and pretty much means you (as a club owner) are SOL and your business may disappear.
posted by pupdog at 11:47 AM on September 12, 2011

As all the comments have said, apparently the Paradise is different, but just as a counter-example I got in to a bunch of 18+ shows at The Middle East when I was a 17-year-old senior in high school by using a friend's student ID with his birth date on it. We looked alike in that we had the same hair and eye color. This was late 90s, though. If you're really desperate and have no other route, it probably wouldn't hurt to at least try it.
posted by one_bean at 11:50 AM on September 12, 2011

Similar to one-bean, I got into the Middle East by using just my college ID (which didn't show a birthdate), even though I was 17. But again, this was 11 years ago [shit]. So yeah, no harm in trying.
posted by greta simone at 12:15 PM on September 12, 2011

Using someone else's ID to get into the venue but not to drink is about as legal as you can be without being strictly so.

This is what I did for years, with my (4 years older) sister's driver's license. She and I have the same color eyes, hair, and skin -- but not height, and do not look alike. It worked perfectly. I never used her license to buy alcohol, just to get in, and I never had a problem.

Doorpeople look ve-ry carefully at ID, and are trained to detect fakes -- but if the ID is genuine, everyone knows that nobody looks like their DL picture, so they don't sweat that.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 12:16 PM on September 12, 2011

If you do manage to score a fake ID, know what your fake birthday's astrological sign is.

Paradise doormen are known to look at your ID, look at you, and ask, "What's your sign?"

(I do not endorse breaking the law, though.)
posted by kinetic at 2:06 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

The people who are saying to use a legal ID from someone else are old enough that they don't realize how strict the laws and the implementation of those laws have become in the last decade.

I moved to Boston after graduating college. I was 23 at the time and had hard time buying alcohol from a store with my LEGAL Massachusetts driver's license that belonged to me. This was 8 years ago, and more recent than the legal-but-not-yours ID posters experiences.

I've been to the Middle East a few times, and they were just as strict as the Paradise at the times I went, and I don't think they do 18+ shows as often as the Paradise, either, so they were pretty on top of the 21+ fake ID thing. And I've known people booted at the door or from the club (not while I was there -- only went a handful of times) for pulling stunts like that.

It was sometime around 2000 that Mass as a state got very serious about underage drinking, which unfortunately spills over into the under 18 crowd for shows at clubs.
posted by zizzle at 3:21 PM on September 12, 2011

If you manage it, please don't drink. Keep a low profile, don't do anything stupid, and enjoy. An alternative for the hardcore: dunno the physical makeup of this venue, but many clubs back up onto alleys where you can at least hear the music, and sneak a peek if anyone comes out for a smoke.
posted by Scram at 5:54 PM on September 12, 2011

The people who are saying to use a legal ID from someone else are old enough that they don't realize how strict the laws and the implementation of those laws have become in the last decade.

That's primarily why I suggested using the ID of someone between 18 and 21 (I guess I should have said 18-20) - most statutes I've seen attach the crazy penalties to the fraudulent use of IDs to get alcohol. Using one just to gain entry that doesn't show you to be 21+ means it's not a liquor purchasing card, to use MA's vernacular.

Which isn't to say some cop might not arrest you and incorrectly charge you with those statutes. Being eventually exonerated isn't a big consolation if you spend time in lockup. So, you know, decide what your capacity for risk is.
posted by phearlez at 9:55 AM on September 14, 2011

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