I have a lot of respect for the dudes (and dudettes) holding shit down at concerts and festivals. Like a lot. They see everything from totally keyed teens to lil old ladies who need an escort through the crowd. They will make sure you arrive safely BACK onto the stage after you jumped off it. Plus they watch for the safety of your fans as they mosh! They’ve witnessed their fair share of performances and could probably give you a few pointers on your last set too.
Sam Song, security for Showbox and Showbox Sodo, has witnessed a lot of amazing artists come through. He’s also a true artist underneath his tough-guy flex, which makes his perspective of shows crucial for what kinds of things you, as an artist, can be aware of the next time you’re up there tearing it down. See what’s good in the interview I had with him.
What do you love about the Showbox and Showbox Sodo?
What I love the most about working at the Showbox venues is the great music and amazing artists that come through. In addition, the staff here are like family. We are all good friends and spending time with them is always a positive experience
What hip-hop artists have come through this year that really rocked your world?
Some artists that have come through are Tech N9ne, Brotha Lynch Hung, Vince Staples, and Mac Miller. There are many more to come but those are the ones in recent memory that really had me in awe.
You probably see a lot of people acting extra, what can artists and fans do to make your job easier?
Most fans are actually really respectful and know the rules. No one wants to get kicked out of a show to see their favorite artist(s). It always helps when they are compliant and respectful of others. All of the artists and tours I have worked with have been very professional and cooperative with our Showbox security staff. We do our best to accommodate for them and they communicate with us really well in order to have a fun and safe show.
Any recommendations on safe crowd surfing?
Crowd surfing always has that element of danger but our barricade staff do a great job of catching surfers and getting them down safely. It helps us of the surfers stick to one direction; there are those who love to roll around all over the crowd (which is totally fine too!).
What is the most difficult part of your job?
The most difficult part of my job is trying to make sure everyone has a safe and fun night. Of course there are always cases of major intoxication every now and then in which case we get them water and fresh air to help them sober up for the show, but minimalizing violence and other situations can be difficult. Some crowds are rowdier than others and some conflicts may arise.
You get to see many different elements of a show, how can an artist tell from on-stage if they’re killing it? What are some good signs?
Hmm interesting question! Its always awesome to see an artist really get into his or her performance and some cues may be jumping, dancing, and interacting with the crowd (talking to them through the mic, crowd surfing, and hopping in the barricade to touch their hands). The crowd can be a bit tricky depending on the artist. But jumping and hand waving are good signs.