Why do you go out?
November 3, 2005 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Share your opinions/anecdotes/reasons concerning your habits and style of clubbing and nightlife.

When you go out what do you do? Are you the type of person who goes to
dance clubs? If so is it the type of dance club that just has a guy
stringing together hits, or the type with the more artistic style of
DJ? Do you go for the music? To hook up? or to actually dance?

Or are you the type that avoids the dance clubs and goes to see bands?
Do you go to see bands that foster a dance environment? Do you see
bands that encourage you to really listen instead of dance? Would you
ever put socializing secondary to watching the band? Do you ever hang
out when a terrible/boring/lackluster band is playing because the rest
of the scene (people, bar, drinks, flirting) is good?

When you go out, what is more important? The DJ, socializing, the
bands, the flirting, etc?

I ask because I am writing a short opinion essay on the motives and styles of people's nightlife, and I am looking for any possible angles I would not have thought of on my own.

Thanks for your stories and opinions.
posted by sourwookie to Media & Arts (16 answers total)
Let me try this again as my first serious answer, I believe, was construed as smart-assed. When I go out, I avoid both dance clubs and bands. I tend to go to places where socializing, flirting and noise are frowned upon. Occasionally they will have juke boxes playing, however the patrons are not generally there for artistic endeavors or deep conversations.

My motivations are that I generally don't tend to like any music that anyone else might play and that I don't tend to like loud, rude people, which seem to be spilling out of dance clubs. I would rather be left alone to drink a few drinks and maybe watch a game on the tv. I might have a conversation with someone I came with or possibly, one-in-a-while with someone else at the bar.

I'm married, but I was like this long before I met my wife. Going to a meat-market type bar seem like the last place on earth I'd like to go.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:15 AM on November 3, 2005

I like to drink good beer. I like the atmosphere of bars, especially my neighboorhod dives. That's the main reason.
posted by corpse at 11:34 AM on November 3, 2005

This is coming from the perspective of someone who doesn't like going out at night.

I've gone clubbing about 3 times in my life (all last year). Sometimes it can be OK if there are certain friends that are there with me to keep me company. Also, I really like music and dancing.

However, I am not fond of alcohol or smoke - two things that are prevalent in every club. I don't drink, I don't smoke, but my friends do - and after a while they get really drunk, and just horrible. Clubbing got really boring for me soon after that.

I might go out again with friends if the occasion calls for it, or if I just want to spend some time with them. But it's not something I enjoy doing really.

Sorry if this isn't really what you're looking for, but it may give you some perspective.

(Also, my sister was in a Science Communications course last year and her group did a radio docu on The Science Of A Night Out - how things like smoking and alcohol and loud music affect your body. That might be something interesting for you.)
posted by divabat at 11:58 AM on November 3, 2005

I go to dance clubs that play goth/industrial/ebm primarily. I don't generally enjoy bars, if I want to sit around and drink I can do that at home.

I like to dance, and because it's a "subculture" (ugh) I know the vast majority of people there, and have for nearly a decade. It's the way me and my friends connect and hang out every week, since our work schedules tend to keep us apart most of the time. It's a close-knit community, as opposed to most mainstream dance clubs which always struck me as painfully anonymous.

Goth/industrial clubs are an anomaly in that the scenes tend to be shockingly incestuous, but without the meat market atmosphere, and people think nothing of having real discussions there. Just last night I found myself, at various points, discussing Chaucer, Catholic theology, The Simpsons, politics, and funny stories of drunken adventures. Which, I suppose, is why outsiders see us as being more cliquish than a high school cheerleading squad. Every club I've frequented has a tendency to feel more like a private party than a public establishment.

I will, on occasion, enjoy listening to an electronic DJ who is mixing live, but for the most part I prefer someone who plays songs as they were recorded. I don't like dancing to things I don't know, it's a personal quirk.

And I also regularly DJ myself, so I suspect that I'm far more into the club scene than most people, at least here.
posted by Kellydamnit at 12:05 PM on November 3, 2005

I'm a guy, late 20's. Three main choices:

1. Somewhere quiet for conversation
2. Somewhere to dance
3. Somewhere with hot people in sexy outfits :-)

For 2 and 3, I hate "artistic" DJs, as they usually make dancing difficult, especially partnership dancing. I especially enjoy dancing to music I know and love, so the playlist is a factor too.
I also prefer to go with people I know, since I typically don't make the effort to try to communicate with people I don't know, shouting over the volume of the music, you know that conversation:


I guess my pet peeve is the lack of places for partnership dancing. I especially like latin dance, but "Latin night" at clubs always seems to really mean "nothing but endless Salsa", Salsa clubs likewise. The only places that cater to to a wider range tend to be ballroom dance events, where the crowd is much older, and not so (3) :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:14 PM on November 3, 2005

I love music and I love dancing. I sometimes throw in some drugs to go along with the drink. I like and appreciate a talented Dj who can mix well, building a set over the course of a night and moving a dancefloor emotionally. I like meeting strangers and being part of a group losing itself in rhythm and sound. The clubs I go to aren't meat markets, are dressed down and specialise in underground dance music. There is a sense of community that's very hard to explain. A good start might be to watch the Maestro documentary for a deeper insight into my take on clubbing.
posted by brautigan at 12:21 PM on November 3, 2005

My first experience in a nightclub was to go see concerts (Meat Beat Manifesto in an all-ages nightclub in Palo Alto , specifically) and for the first few years of university, the only reason why I would ever go to a club was for shows. I had fallen in with a clique of ravers at school, and the parties that we'd go to (which were typically free or dirt cheap back in the day) fulfilled most of my needs for making friends, expending energy and having fun.

I liked dancing, loved the freedom that comes with it, and the sense of belonging that comes with being part of the tapestry that is a vibrant dancefloor, multicolored and glittering. Nightclubs, by contrast, with their sardine can crowds and heavy focus on drinks and the meat market didn't seem all that attractive. I had a few friends who ran with the international student crowd, who'd hit up the Latin and House nights that catered to the jetset student contingent; and that scene was all about cash and privilege. Definitely not for me.

I fell out of the rave scene when most of my friends graduated from university and stopped going out (besides, parties were getting more expensive while the crowds were getting steadily younger). Started hanging out at goth and indie clubs, which aren't as aggressive in their hook-up vibe. It took a bit of time to acclimate to the slower tempos of a goth or britpop dancefloor; but I still had fun because, at the base of my experience was an enduring love for the music. Made friends, graduated from school, moved into an apartment with a friend that I made through the club scene and started going out three or four times a week. It was youth in the throes of being misspent.

For a while the club scene was a focal point of my young adulthood. Met lots of friends, hooked up some, went to more shows than I could count. In general, though, my main purpose was to go there and dance. I met people, but I hated shouting over the din of music. Besides, there's always that point in the conversation where a good song comes on, and you can see it in their eyes, or they could see it in yours -- this sideways twitch like one of you really wants to go out and catch this song. I met people at the club, but I became friends with them over dinner or coffees outside of the venue.

My roommate got a gig DJing at a new place, and I joined him a few years later, guesting at this place every other month or so. I don't play there as much anymore, not having a head for scene politics, but I still like to go out, to listen to what my friends might be spinning, catch up on what the patrons are up to and, of course, to take another step onto the dancefloor.

Unlike Kellydamnit, I can go either way on the DJ technique spectrum. It's always fun to listen to a DJ who knows what he's doing and can string a mood together out of a mish-mash of songs. Yet, for various reasons, those traits don't work so well for goth/rock clubs; where audiences go in generally expecting to listen and dance to their anthems unmarred by the pretensions of the DJ. One form is fusion cuisine, the other is comfort food. Decide which to patronize based on mood; which changes every day and week.

I occasionally go out to bars, and mostly this is just to hear a DJ or collective play out. Again, I don't like socializing with loud music (and a decade+ of hanging out in noisy clubs is start to play havoc on my ears). If I wanted to spend time with friends, I'd get dinner with them and then go on a walk; but I will pull up to the counter with a book and pint just so that I can hear some good, new music. I tend to find this mode of music discovery infinitely more enjoyable to surfing filesharing networks and podcasts.

With regards to going out and watching bands -- I rarely ever go to see a show without knowing about the band beforehand. If the band sucks, I'll wander, socialize and see who else is around. If they really suck, I'll leave as their woeful music tends to wreck the vibe of the venue. I occasionally dance at shows if I'm feeling inspired, but my default mode is to just stand there and watch. Normally, given the default crowd, it's all one can do anyway.
posted by bl1nk at 12:36 PM on November 3, 2005

I go out often to see bands. I hate dance clubs. It's a night of loud, obnoxious music with drunk idiots rubbing up against me. I don't go to bars just for the sake of going to bars. I don't enjoy just sitting around drinking over priced beers and breathing in the nasty cigarette smoke.

I love going to bars and seeing bands though. If there is a band playing, socializing is secondary to the music for me. I am there to see the band and that's it. I don't want to be hit on, I don't want to socialize. I just want to listen to the music.
posted by whatideserve at 12:50 PM on November 3, 2005

I go to bars w/ dancing for a few reasons:

1.) I love to dance.
2.) I like to flirt.
3.) I like to hang out with friends and meet cool new people in a fun atmosphere.

When everyone else is sharing your joie de vivre, it magnifies the effect. And hearing your favorite song after a couple beers while chatting with a charming new friend doesn't hurt.
posted by justkevin at 1:01 PM on November 3, 2005

I'm a lot like whatideserve, except I want people to hit on me.
posted by Evstar at 4:12 PM on November 3, 2005

I go out a lot and avoid dance clubs like the plague: I go to bars to see my friends, flirt, drink, and, although it's getting harder, smoke like a chimney. Bands are usually secondary, although where I live (Asheville, NC) it's harder to find a bar that doesn't have live music than one that does. If the music really sucks, I'll leave. Usually the music is pretty good and sometimes, it's extraordinary, in which case I might even dance and I probably will buy a CD and I will stop socializing to listen. If I go somewhere to specifically see a band, I'll generally end up spending most of my time listening but there'll be some socializing in there too, certainly. Especially when I have to go outside to smoke. I'm a woman and I don't usually go out by myself though - I arrange to meet people there, or something - there are very few places I feel comfortable just going to alone.
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:50 PM on November 3, 2005

I go to dance clubs and meat market type bars on occasion, and I also see live bands pretty frequently. As for dance clubs, I usually go because my friends are going and I need something to do. Lately I've been going out for friends' birthdays at bars that aren't really my favorites. BUT having said all that, I usually have a decent time at these places mostly because I love to dance. I'm not there to flirt or meet people (not opposed to it, but generally I'd rather just dance), and socializing doesn't usually happen in loud places like this. Most of these places don't have what I would call proper DJs that really spin anything. I like quality DJs, but that comes with a price and yadda yadda.

As for seeing live music, I'm generally not there to socialize either and I'm no stranger to going to shows alone. I like more upbeat music just because it enables me to move around more, but I'll still see good quiet bands. I'm not really interested in paying a big cover to "hang out" at a show - I don't understand people who talk during the entire set when a band plays. For local (read: cheaper) shows, I might be more inclined to go if some friends invite me, but we're still there more for the music and less for just hanging out.

Overall, I guess I could say that I like to go out with a purpose. If I'm going to dance, I will pretty much dance and lay off other pursuits. If I'm going for music, I will actually listen to the bands while they are playing. If I want to socialize with people, I'll go to a quieter bar where we can actually sit down and talk. I can't even remember a time where I went out for the sole intention of flirting, but I'm not a very good flirt anyway.
posted by jetskiaccidents at 5:49 PM on November 3, 2005

(Sorry if offtopic?) - IMO, you'd probably get better responses with a microphone and a tape recorder outside of a club.

I'm not saying that (Set:Club-hopping extroverts) and (Set:People who sit around at computers reading MeFi) are totally exclusive - but I can't imagine there being a really huge overlap.

Me personally, most of my clubbing experiences have gone horribly wrong.
posted by Orb2069 at 5:54 PM on November 3, 2005 [1 favorite]

As a teenager I was really into dance clubs. Part of the thrill was that I wasn't supposed to be there, partly I just enjoyed dancing, and partly I really enjoyed the flirting, gossip, and scene-yness (if that can be considered a word). That lost its savor for me by the time I was old enough to get in, I got self-conscious about dancing after being rubbed up against by too many creepy guys and I saw the scene as being painfully shallow and irritatingly immature.

As an adult, I either go to see bands or to bars. Seeing a band is 80% about the music and 20% about the socializing, I like sharing the experience with people but if I don't like the band I won't stay. I'm one of those people who give you dirty looks when you talk at full volume throughout the show, but if it's danceable music I'll happily and unselfconsciously join in. At bars I'm there almost exclusively for the socializing, so I prefer fairly low-key places with a neighborly feel as opposed to pick up spots. Did you ever hear the phrase "the roof constitutes the introduction?" It's an old phrase, from back when you didn't talk to people you weren't formally introduced to unless you shared a "roof" (for example, if you went to school together). I think it applies pretty well to bars too, I'd never just start a conversation with a stranger otherwise but I can talk to pretty much anybody in a bar as if I knew them. I treat a bar like an extension of my living room, if I have to dress up or feel out of place eating my dinner on a barstool there then it probably isn't the place for me. Hooking up is never an immediate goal. I like meeting guys and chatting/lightly flirting with them and it's great if I meet someone I end up dating, but I'm not going home with someone I just met no matter how much I've had to drink.
posted by cali at 6:07 PM on November 3, 2005

I play and listen to music nobody likes, and I like to go play/hear it in places with quiet and attentive listeners. I like to socialize afterwards, but before/during the music, drinks and/or talking distract me.

I go out for these purposes once or twice a week. I also go out socially, and music doesn't play a part in it, since no bars play the kind of music I like, and if they did, I would probably get distracted listening to it & wouldn't be much fun to socialize with. Also, most of my friends probably wouldn't be too pleased with it, since they like music that other people like, generally.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:20 PM on November 3, 2005

What he said. I find dance clubs repellant.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:25 AM on November 4, 2005

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