A GUIDE TO POOR GIG ETIQUETTE
As a complete music loving booze hound, I’ve spent a large chunk of my adult life going to gigs and while my total number comes nowhere near that of Bristol legend and 247 Magazine columnist Big Jeff it works out at at least 100 a year. So over the past decade or so, I’ve racked up more than 1,000 gigs – some good and some bad. During this time I’ve come across (and very occasionally engaged in) some very questionable crowd behaviour but it never ceases to amaze me how lairy some people will get at the most inappropriate times during gigs. And it got me thinking, what are the big no nos when it comes to watching gigs.
1) Since the smoking ban came in, not only is it antisocial to smoke in an indoor venue but it is now illegal. This didn’t seem to stop the dud at Arcade Fire’s recent Cardiff gig (pictured) sparking up a spliff several times during their set – much to the horror of the poor folk crammed in around him. Come on, if you’re that hooked then go outside for a few drags during one of the shitter songs don’t invoke asthma attacks in people trying to enjoy the gig!
2) If you’re going to heckle then make it interesting and pick your time. If I had a pound for everytime I heard someone profess their love to the act on the stage then I’d be living in the Ritz right now. It’s boring and untrue. Also, once you’ve shouted out the song you want to hear a few times chances are the band has heard you so you don’t need to carry on with the same shit heckle all night do you? Finally, respect the slow and meaningful songs cos artists can get pretty pissed off. Cue Martha Wainwright at Larmer Tree Festival who really didn’t appreciate the drunken idiot trying to shout her name while she was singing one of her recently deceased mother’s songs.
3) When a gig is pretty full or sold out, it is totally not cool to take along a giant backpack. Not only will you get a constant barrage of people heading for your back as if there’s a space behind you only to get sorely disappointed when they spot your completely pointless 16 litre beast on your back but you could easily get pick pocketed and I for one would have no sympathy with you whatsoever.
4) If you’ve got swine flu, bird flu, norovirus, the plague or any other highly contagious diseases why would you even consider heading to a crowded gig venue to share the love with hundreds of other music lovers. Selfish or what?! There was that whole swine flu scare at Glastonbury, surely that should tell you that you could be instigating the end of civilisation by taking your disease to a gig – just think how fast that would spread if you passed it onto 100 people, they each passed it onto 100, who then passed it onto 100 and so on. Disastrous I tell you!
5) If you can’t sing along in tune, don’t sing along at all. Seriously, people pay good money to go to gigs and see and crucially hear their favourite bands. Why in god’s name would they want to hear you shouting the wrong words at the top of your voice? If you’re gonna do it, do it quietly and not for the whole damn set. There are exceptions of course, if you’re seeing Hole for example it really won’t matter how shit your singing is it won’t sound far off!
6) Understand that people go to gigs for different experiences. Some want to go mental down the front, others want to stand and dance somewhere they can see and breathe and others want to mull around at the back taking in the ambience. If someone politely asks to get by don’t be a dick and stand there like a brick shithouse – you’ll only encourage mindless carging by that way. Fair enough if there’s no space to move but if there is then give the short asses a break and let them through dammit.
7) Sitting on the floor between bands is one thing but when the lights go down and the music starts for Pete’s sake stand up. No-one can see you from shoulder height and it would completely serve you right if you were trampled to death. The space above your head is saying to people ‘there’s a gap here’ and they’ll reach you only to find there is no such thing and you’ve caused a problem for everyone. If you’re that knackered/injured just go home.
8 ) A quieter gig or acoustic gig is not the time to have a two hour long mother’s meeting with your mates. People don’t want to hear what you bought from Primark the other day, how little Jimmy’s doing or what the hell is happening in Eastenders. If you wanna meet up for a chinwag go to Wetherspoons not to see a potentially awesome musician/band play and ruin the whole vibe for everyone else.
9) Realise that at every gig you go to there will be die hard fans there who love everything about the artist and respect that. If you think the gig’s shit then leave, don’t stand there slagging off the band at the top of your voice. What the hell is the point in that? And do a little bit of research into whoever your seeing – the amount of times I’ve heard ignorant people at gigs stating the bleedin obvious…”I think the Manics used to have another member but I’ve a feeling he went missing a few years ago.” Er, duh. Or some idiot at a Biffy Clyro gig pondering why they ‘covered that X Factor song’. The horror!
10) Slagging off tall people. Yes it’s annoying being stuck behind Peter Crouch at a gig but come on, tall folk can’t help the way their built and why should they be bullied out of watching live music because everyone’s shorter than them. If you ask nicely, they’ll usually let you stand in front of them and it’s often not that difficult to move to a spot where you can see more than the ass of some 6ft5 indie boy. (30 stone sweaty fuckers are another matter altogether though).
by 247 Magazine