DethMaiden and I were chatting the other day about theequipment we use to track set lists and take notes at concerts. He thought it a good idea to post about this topic out in the open:
I purchase the notebooks I use at Barnes & Nobles. Any retail outlet has them for sale but here is a link
. These gems are a little expensive but they are sturdy as hell. I've never had one come apart on my, regardless of pit violence or beer splashes. Each has about 85 pages and can fit in any pants pocket, just like a wallet. The notebook is available in many paper styles as well (lines, no lines, sketch, music bars). Each contain a ribbon sewn into the binding for placeholding purposes and an elastic band (also sewn into the binding) to keep things closed up.
My pencil of choice is the PaperMate Sharpwriter
. These pencils are very cheap, and I usually carry a couple of them. You need backups if your primary is dropped (good luck crawling around a concert floor looking for it) or if it simply runs out of lead. Security will lead them pass through the doors; ink pens are often confiscated.
One other item I use: a Maglite Mini
. I attached it to the elastic strap on my notebook. You don't always need to keep it on nor does it get your way, but it really comes in handy when the lights go int the venue between songs.
Some thoughts on set list note taking:
** In terms of documenting your concert, it's always a good idea to have a previous set list or popular song list. Even if you can't recognize a song, it gives you a better shot if you already information in your book.
** If you have no clue on the title of the song, ask someone around you. People are usually pretty helpful. The sick fucks on the rail are usually pretty helpful after the concert as well. Often, I'll write down part of a lyric I've heard and then google the band against their lyrics. It works more often than not.
** If on the rail, sometimes you can use your cell phone camera to capture an image of the official set list taped to the floor. While I don't reccomend it in all circumstances, other rail warriors can take a picture for you if you're not close enough for the shot.
** Support bands will often write down the set list for you if they are milling about a small venue. When I tell about them about our site, they usually become right friendly and helpful.
** I take a lot of notes during concerts... how a band strikes me.. something funny I've thought of or seen... it makes writeups a lot easier.
** Finally, just a "Be Damn Careful" for those near the front.. it's dangerous there... be VERY aware of your pencil if you are writing anything near the rail. You don't want to get stabbed or stab someone else. Use your fucking head. There are concerts in which I plan to be up front and forsake notes.