In discussion with some of my music-geek colleagues about the important issue of gig-etiquette, here’s a top ten list of the people that you don’t want to be when at a gig.
(image courtesy of psylight)
1. The Cellphone Talker – “I’m at a cool gig and I’m loudly bragging about it at the expense of people who are trying to watch the show!”
2. The Drunken Tupperware Party. This is a group of loud-talking people at a table who ignore the act on stage in favour of banal conversation and gales of screechy, inebriated guffawing. Thanks to my colleague and gig veteran in New York City who coined the term.
3. The Elbower. This is the person who pushes his way past you without so much as an ‘excuse me’ to get to the front, to the bar, to the bathrooms, to wherever.
4. The Bath/Breath Mint Aversionist. In a crowded space, need I elaborate?
5. The Flailer. By all means, dance! Dance like you’ve never danced before in an Flashdance stylee! But know that you’re not the only person in the room and proceed accordingly. I don’t want my nose on the other side of my face due to a wayward “dance move”.
6. The American/Canadian/Whatever Idol. As above, feel encouraged to sing along. Just don’t do it in my ear when no one else is singing. All night. Off-key. Using the wrong words.
7. The Stand-up/Sit-Down Merchant. If you push past me too many times, I get to give your seat to someone else when you’ve got up and shoved past me for the tenth frickin’ time (tenth if you’re lucky…). I feel that’s fair.
8. The Request Shouter (aka ‘Free Bird’). Has any act you’ve gone to see actually stopped the song they’re playing or ceased their on stage banter to say: “Hey, person-who’s-just-shouted-out in the middle of my set, that’s a great idea! I will play “Free Bird” even though I’m a writer with my own material and don’t happen to be Lynyrd Skynyrd”? No? That’s never happened? Hmm. What does that tell you?
9. The Heckler. You’re not funny. You’re not witty. You’re nothing. Shut up.
10. The Bootlegger. This is a touchy subject. Some bands encourage bootleggers and actually have a space for them to set up. If you haven’t been assigned a spot in this area, or worse – there is no area – setting a camera on your shoulder mid-way up the row to effectively block the view is not cool. If I were not a man of peace, I’d say that it borders on being a punchable offence.
And these are of course only a few. I encourage you to share your own rogue’s gallery of gig-etiquette criminals. Tall guys (having faced the Gig Dwarf’s cry of “I can’t see around you!”), short people (having equally faced the Oblivious Tall Guy), and women who have been touched up (by The Surreptitious Groper), are particularly encouraged to contribute.