Observant little ...

I don't understand the answer, but I may have some ideas on the question...


AKA gig etiquette. A subject very close to my heart. When you go to as many gigs as I do, you really notice the difference between a good crowd and a yuck crowd. I think I probably notice more than the band does! ;o)

There are many bands that I really like that I don't generally go to their gigs anymore because they tend to attract yucky crowds - Powderfinger and Machine Gun Fellatio are two that immediately come to mind. I saw them both when I was in Dublin and enjoyed them more than I have for years purely because the yobbo element was missing. 'Twas great.

But that's just me. The gigiquette rules tend to apply overall. I don't think there are many of these that an experienced gig-goer would not agree with. And I suspect that most if not all bands would agree that they would like their fans to act in accordance with them. Certainly the musos I know agree with them. If you disagree with any of them, feel free to comment and I'll argue my point! ;o)

I was reminded of many of these little rules at the Ben Folds gig just over a week ago (by the way, it was a great gig and I had a ball - just never got around to posting about it). It's not really that difficult, the basic rule is the same rule that I live by in my day-to-day life: treat others as you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes.

The Rules

1. If you want to be up the front at a sold out gig, get there early and hold your spot. Don't expect to be let in up the front just because you're short or cute or know someone in the band. Short chicks are particularly bad at this, so please note - some guys will be nice and let you in front of them, most won't. Hardly any girls will let you in.

2. If someone is obviously holding a spot for another person (ie you know their friend has just ducked out to the loo), it's quite rude to push and shove into them so the gap will disappear. And the other person is always going to come back, which means there is just less room for all of you when he/she returns.

3. People will dance at gigs. Cope. If you don't like the mosh pit, try standing to one side of the stage. Provided there are only soft bits bumping into you (ie no elbows or handbags or feet stepping on yours (I hate people who jump)), you don't really have the right to tell them to stop. They are enjoying the gig their way. Let them be.

4. Following on from #3, if you know you're the dancey type, don't take a backpack, a hard handbag, or one that sits just under your armpit to a gig. It will inevitably bump into the faces and chests of those around you and they will be rightfully annoyed. Anything that causes bruises or draws blood from your fellow audience members is not cool.

5. And yet another one for the dancers, dance within the space you have. If it's a packed crowd, don't try to artificially create space for yourself by throwing yourself into everyone around you. Work out your space early and maintain it if you dance with a lot of ... umm... vigour. Most people won't be annoyed with you dancing, they'll only be annoyed if you intrude into their space.*

6. People will sing at gigs. Cope. That said...

7. Don't sing so loudly that it annoys everyone else. The rest of the crowd is there to hear the band, not you. As a rule of thumb, if you can hear yourself sing, so can at least 5 people in front of you. If you can't hear yourself sing and your singing as loudly as you can, those 5 people in front can still hear you, but you're probably off tune as well. Sing at normal volume - if you want to hear yourself, try the old muso's trick of putting one finger in your ear.**

8. Unless you are way up the back, don't yell a conversation during anyone's set. Yep, that includes the support bands. Even if you don't like them, they are up on stage putting their heart and soul into doing a performance for a bunch of people who have never heard of them. You don't have to sing or dance (I tend to save that for bands I really like), but you should at least pay them some attention. And clap at the end of each song. If you must have a conversation, try talking into the other person's ear - you still get to communicate, but everyone around you doesn't have to hear it.

9. If you don't have enough space in front of you to clap without getting caught up in the hair or clothes of the person in front of you, try clapping above your/their head. I had someone clapping in my (dead straight) hair at Ben Folds and she then complained about it getting fluffy... which her clapping in it was causing! *sigh* Go figure.

10. Last but not least... if someone is doing something that is annoying you, try asking them politely to stop. It's much more effective that complaining loudly about them behind their back (which is what the hair clapping girl did - I would have plaited it back if she'd just asked me nicely, but then, that probably would have annoyed her too - some people are just like that!). And don't shove them - shoves always come back on you twofold because a person shoved will usually shove back (or the person/s they bump into will) because they have nowhere to go when you shove them. Also chances are, they don't even know that they are annoying you unless you mention it. Equally, if someone does politely ask you to do/stop something, try to do something about it if you can. Sometimes you moving one inch to the left can resolve the problem for all concerned. ;o)

It's really quite simple people - everyone is there to enjoy themselves. Try to make sure that you are not the one person who is spoiling it for everyone else.

* I resolve this problem at packed gigs by dancing forward, not back, and working my hips into the space that's already there. That way I can maintain the space I need to dance and the person behind me just has to stay more than 5cm away from my butt to avoid being bumped into. I do reserve the right to get annoyed when people don't seem to be able to manage this though... *mutter, mutter*

** Loud singing is particularly annoying when it's someone like Katie Noonan on stage. Face it, the girl has an extraordinary voice and it's highly unlikely that you'll sound better than her. So don't try.

Listening to: Guy Webster


Blogger Aurelius said...

Further, when someone like Katie Noonan is on stage, and she sings very quietly in parts, she can hear you, and so can the band, when you talk during songs. She *will* ask you to shut up. And if she does, becoming a smart-arse and disrespecting her *will* guarantee that the entire room will hate you, and wish you dead.

8:51 pm  
Blogger the urban fox said...

Typical lawyer. Heh.

(just kidding, it's all good advice)

9:02 pm  
Blogger OLS said...

aurelius - yep, I've seen Katie do that too. But unfortunately, the people that talk through sets are also the people who don't listen to what the musos say when they're on stage. I was highly embarrassed once when I leaned over and told someone (who was talking loudly on their mobile) to please be quiet and Katie thanked me. I hadn't realised that I was visible (or audible) from the stage. *blushes*

urban fox - yeah, I know. My use of numbered paragraphs gives me away huh? ;o)

And thinking of fox leads me to think of SwissToni - I still can't load your page properly. I'm not sure why - it's not a blogger thing since yours is the only one which crashes. But I can't even see other people's comments, let alone comment myself. If you see this comment, let me know. Otherwise, I'll try emailing you next time I log onto my gmail account.


11:09 am  
Blogger Aurelius said...

Oh, and another rule: If you are at a gig with band members who do not smoke, do not stand in the front row, chain smoke, and exhale toward the stage. One female performer puked on a fan who did this. Not intentionally, but the constant smoke made her ill, and that was the consequence.

1:01 pm  
Blogger OLS said...

Oh, I have a whole other list when it comes to smoking! As the child of two smokers when I was growing up and an ex-smoker myself (I still lapse occassionally), I know both ends of the spectrum.

Thankfully, most of the venues are now smoke-free, so it's not so much of a problem.


1:07 pm  

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