The 8 Worst People To Meet At A Rock Gig
I’ve spent some of my happiest times in mosh pits. Sure they can be boisterous but they can also be some of the most unifying places in the world. There’s a code you see, an unwritten set of rules that most people follow to ensure that even if you’re flailing about to Slayer, everyone is having a good time. If someone falls, you pick them up, if someone’s hurt you get them out. Hell, I even once witnessed a crowd part during a metal gig while everyone shone their phones on the floor until some guy reclaimed his glasses. Sadly, as with most things, there are some people that fuck all of that up. Here’s the eight worst offenders in a vague order of severity. (Throughout this article I shall be referring to each individual in the male form. This is not lazy sexism on my part just from experience it’s only guys who tend to fall into these categories, with the possible exception of number 1).
8. The Setlister The Setlister is the guy who not only tries to second guess every song the band play but regularly shouts out requests between the songs. Let me let you in on a little secret; no band ever comes on stage without previously deciding which songs they are going to play. It is called a setlist and they have rehearsed it. You may love the second B-side on their third single but chances are they haven’t played it in years and they aren’t about to just because some chucklehead in the audience keeps shouting it out. Two weeks ago I went to see my beloved Primus. It had been announced that they would be playing all of their new album plus their classic Sailing The Seas of Cheese. The guys behind me, after every song, tried excitedly to guess what they’d play next! THEY WERE PLAYING THE ALBUMS, IN ORDER! Thankfully they pissed off into the crowd when the band started playing Jerry Was A Race Car Driver.
7. The Hiker You all must know this guy, even if you don’t frequent rock gigs you’ve probably met him on the tube or a crowded train. He’s the douchebag who thinks it’s OK to wear a rucksack into a gig. Sure we’ve all had times when it has been unavoidable to take a bag with us somewhere. We may have just come straight from work. But don’t put it on your back and walk into the middle of a fucking crowd. Put it between your legs, or in the cloakroom, or just stand at the back you selfish prick! If you stand in front of me with a rucksack on don’t get all pissy when you find all of the little pockets filled with beer and crisps.
6. The Videographer I nearly forgot this one, being as old (school) as I am. I’m from the golden age when the only illuminations coming from the crowd were lighters when the band played a ballad. However these days everyone has a phone, and most of those phones have a mobile television studio built into them. Find yourself stood behind The Videographer and you’ll end up watching most of the gig through his iPhone. What do these people do with the footage? I can’t imagine wanting to get home from an amazing gig only to rewatch the songs on a phone. Also while I’m at it, no one wants to see the photo you took on your phone from halfway back. It looks shit and no amount of Instagram filters are going to fix that.
5. The Space Invader I have nothing against people wanting to push further into the crowd. I have done it myself many times and sadly you sometimes do have to get a bit shovy. No, The Space Invader is the person who moves through the crowd only to stop right in front of you in a space that doesn’t actually exist. If there’s any space created at all it was to enable you to pass through, I didn’t want you to fill it. There is however a trick I have learned to foil The Space Invader, it’s quite simple, just move back into the space too. It won’t take long for them to realise that they have someone rather intimately pressed against them. It is particularly effective if you are a 6’3″ skinhead like myself. Nothing moves a person faster than the air of prison rape.
4. The Wall The Wall is like the end of level boss version of The Space Invader. Often The Wall has not infiltrated your space, instead I always find myself infiltrating his. As I mentioned before I am a tall guy, therefore it staggers me the amount of times I have met this character. He’s the guy who’s taller than me, who has found his space and is resolutely not moving from it. It is inexplicable the amount of times I have found myself behind this guy. On top of that he is almost always wearing a leather jacket, how this is possible without melting into a puddle I don’t know but whenever the crowd surges I find myself pressed up against the sweating leather only to be peeled off of it as the tide ebbs. There is no premeditated dickishness with The Wall so it’s hard to be truly mad at him, but seriously buddy, can’t you get a seating ticket next time?
3. The Sprinkler We’re entering the top three now, it might get a little blue. The Sprinkler, out of all of the people on this list, is probably the most unpleasant. This guy has decided that it would be a good idea to take his top off in the middle of the pit. Firstly The Sprinkler is always skinny, so fuck you for that, but the main problem is that you get hot in a mosh pit, really hot. Perhaps that’s why he’s taken his top off but what this ultimately means is that everybody he careens into will have a thick layer of sweat wiped off on them, and heaven forbid if this guy crowd surfs! I have had a Sprinkler land on me from atop the crowd, wiping his skinny, sweaty frame right down my face! I have enough of my own sweat thank you dill hole! Put your fucking shirt back on.
2. The Gorilla This guy is the biggest cliche on the whole list but one that’s so obnoxious he had to be included. If you’re a fan of heavy music I reckon you’ve already got a pretty shrewd idea where I’m going with this one but for the rest of you The Gorilla is the guy who takes the good old mutual violence of a mosh pit and turns it into his own cage fight. Often clad in a wife beater and oversized shorts The Gorilla is basically The Sprinkler on steroids. He swings his arms around and slams into people with little care for the outcome, he starts pits around people who clearly don’t want to and basically doesn’t give a fuck about anyone else in the crowd. One of my favourite gig moments involved The Gorilla, two of them in fact. They were swinging about, knocking into people in their mosh pit of two when suddenly one of the crowd decided they’d had enough and gave one of them an almighty shove, sending him crashing to the ground. He jumped to his feet looking to start on whoever had pushed him and we all stood with smiles on our faces, pointing to the 5 foot tall girl who had sent him flying. He looked suitably ashamed and sloped off to another part of the crowd with his dullard friend.
1. The Talker Our number one doesn’t cause injury, or block your view, or wipe sweat down your face, but they are the single most irritating person you will ever encounter at a gig. I don’t think I need any explanation of The Talker however there are two types, the ones who are just chatting away about anything as if they’re in a bar and, perhaps more bafflingly, the ones who seem to be running a commentary on the gig. I once stood behind a guy who was telling his friend what a big fan he was of the band. SHUT UP AND WATCH THEM THEN! If you did this at the cinema the rest of the patrons would, quite rightly, punch you to death, so don’t fucking do it at a gig. I don’t care if you got a free ticket and don’t really care about the band, the rest of us paid £30 and we love them so piss off to the bar for your little catch up. So there you have it. The eight people I would rather pull my own toenails out than stand behind. Who really pisses you off when you go to watch bands? And if you say Coldplay then you have no one to blame but yourself.
(Due to overwhelming response I was driven to write a companion piece to this article. You can read it here)