Friday, 20 April 2012

How To Not Be 'That Asshole' At A Gig

I am a lover of live music and a seasoned gig-goer, it seems. Despite the fact that I am largely antisocial, anxious in dark, crowded places and generally a huge grumpy mess, I can never resist the call of seeing a band I like live. Only now I'm starting to find the whole ordeal completely overwhelming, and I wonder if getting to see a band I love is really worth all the assholism that comes along with it. I don't really like to talk about stuff that makes me angry, but hopefully I can inject some well placed humour into this post to make it worth reading?! Anyway, over the span of Wednesday and Thursday I saw Motion City Soundtrack play ALL their albums, basically their entire catalogue, and even though it was obviously AMAZING, I was also really sick and compiling a list of gig etiquette in my head, rather than vomitting on people who were annoying me. So I came up with ten rules that I think everyone should abide by so we can all get along when thrust into dank spaces to be deafened for two hours.

How To Not Be An Asshole At A Gig
  1. If you have paid money for a ticket, and everyone around you has paid money for a ticket, please don't try and conduct a conversation with your friends for the entire gig, complete with having to shout over the music, because the people directly in front of you actually can't hear the band.
  2. If you're not front and centre-stage please don't jump around wildly crashing into people. I'm pretty sure its an unwritten rule that people stood farther back are not into moshing and don't appreciate you stamping on their feet.
  3. Pogoing with your full cup of beer in one hand and spilling it onto everyone's heads is never appreciated, even if it is the less disgusting of the 'golden showers'. I once saw a guy get punched in the face over repeatedly spilling beer onto a dude's head.
  4. Chuck your empty cup on the floor, not further into the crowd. Things get pretty sticky that way.
  5. If there is a 'no crowd-surfing' rule, it's probably for a reason. Like the ceiling is too low and you're giving everyone concussion.
  6. Never. NEVER. Never ever repeatedly shout out a song you want played between songs/shout out songs from previous bands that the members happened to be in/think everyone thinks your cool for shouting out b-sides.
  7. Okay, so people cannot help being tall and it's not fair to expect them to stay at the back just for the shorties, but once the band have started playing and everyone has got into it, it's not cool to suddenly decide you want to go stand in front of that group of short people because you can see better. We were all stood there for a reason, but now your shoulders are blocking the sun.
  8. Are you seriously going to record and document this entire experience on your phone? The pictures all come out like blurry shapes and the sound quality is awful. Plus when you upload your super unique videos to youtube it clogs up any live vids that might have actually had decent sound.
  10. Always let the band start the clap clap clapping. They know where it sounds best.
Oh gosh, do you all hate me now? I mean, a little bit of politeness goes a long way in making gigs so nice I mean, sometimes I'm moved to tears by having incredible experiences with live music, but most of the time you have to wade through a sea of shitheads just to get to that point. Do you have anything to add? Am I being a grumpy old lady? I think those points are pretty fair. Of course, it also depends on the kind of band you're going to see. If I was going to see a hardcore punk band the barging and beer spilling would be a given. Don't even get me started on festivals either! To end this, I'll leave you with Adam and Joe, because THEY UNDERSTAND.


  1. When I went to see Malcolm Middleton at the Cockpit (this like air hangar thing in Leeds, quite intimate, very cold), these chav wankers to my left and a bit in front literally SHOUTED all the way through and completely ruined the gig, pushing each other, play-fighting etc.

    About halfway through I went up to them and poked one of them really hard and said "excuse me? can you SHUT THE FUCK UP PLEASE?" and then stormed back to my then-boyfriend. They went "ooooooooooh" in a handbaggy way which made me literally shake with rage. A couple of people nudged me and said "good on you", "thanks" etc but I was fully raging all the rest of the way through.

    When Malcolm came off stage he had to walk past them to get to the backstage bit, they patted him on his back and were like "wicked mate, top gig" and proper chatting to him!

    When he got back up onstage he said "those guys down there said they wanted to hear 'Birdwatcher' and I said I'd only sing it if they come on stage and sing it with me", WELL I HIT THE FUCKING ROOF. I thought I was going to explode. I was like "they've fucking SHOUTED all the way through your gig and have ruined it for all us back here!" fffuuuuuck I was SO MAD!

    I was stood with my back to my then-boyfriend and he said he could feel my heart beating through my entire body and through my thick parka. LOLLLL.

    I get pretty angry a LOT of the time but not so much anymore, that gig sent me to the edge, I was RAGING! So yeah, talking at gigs is the number one bugbear. UGGGHHHH. I'm so mad just even thinking about it! >:0

  2. These all seem like more than reasonable guidelines (though I'm sooo guilty of snapping phone photos). What I agree with most is how godawful it is to have someone thrash around at the back. I still like to hang out at the front and don't mind the odd shove but one time I got clocked so badly in the back of the head, I had to retreat to the fringes. The spot I ended up in had the ONLY back-floor maniac who ended up crashing into my ribs. Arrrrgh! I sort of laugh now- I'm a petite person in my late 20s and the only times I've sustained injuries at are all ages power pop shows. Gotta watch out for those teen boys- they have freakish asshole strength.

    (Yay, Adam and Joe!)

  3. Whaha you are spot on with this one. Been there so many times!



  4. Oh my God, I totally agree with you on everything! As a pretty avid gig-goer myself, I have a few to add!

    1. If you have long hair, please PLEASE wear it up. Choking on a fistful of hair is not nice.

    2. Ladies, there is no point wearing the tiniest tightest skirt you have teamed with mega heels. This is not a club. The band members won't notice you and leave their wives for you. And you will almost definitely end up with a snapped ankle.

    3. If you stand right in the middle of a 2500 capacity venue, somebody will stand in front of you. Don't threaten to punch someone because they get a spot in your line of vision. You will only look stupid when the place fills up and you can barely see a thing regardless of that one person.

    4. If you don't know the lyrics, do not sing at the top of your voice. Singing the last half of every word- once you realise what the vocalist is in the middle of saying- is extrutiatingly cringeworthy and bloody irritating for those around you.

    Great post! Really made me chuckle.


  5. These are spot on! I always seem to be stood next to the guy with the longest hair and strongest neck muscles in the room...headbanging for the ENTIRE show might be awesome for him, but it really isn't fun for me! Love this post...can't stop smiling to myself :) :) Niki

  6. Your blog is so nice!!!


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