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)

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Posted on April 23, 2012, in Music. Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on socalledfriendsmusic and commented:
    Can any of you relate? I know I can!

  2. I couldn’t agree more on this! I’m a victim to those ‘space invaders’ all the time who also happen to be someone who is astronomically taller than myself. Just when I thought I had a nice place to stand, 9/10 I have to move >.<

  3. lmfao absolutely love this and have encountered quite a few myself

  4. fully agree with the wall. I’m 6ft 4 but theres many times i end up next to or behind someone taller than me. The cameras are probably the most annoying thing for me though, its not so bad for the heavier songs but if a band plays a slower song then its a sea of cameras

  5. Reblogged this on my mag facebookpage, genius and oh so true!!!

  6. Brilliant, at my last gig I encountered all of the above, douches!

  7. Hahahaha. Very good, but what about the Rambler? The fuckers who seem to think it’s okay to wander in front or behind you, creating a constant stream of ‘Excuse me’ and ‘Can I just squeeze through’. They seem to want to creat a path where there was a wall of people 2 seconds before, hassling and bad mouthing you cause you have the audacity to stand in the same spot you were before they decided they needed to have a wander. If you want another pint mid gig, try staying at the bar in the first place. If you need to piss mid gig, try laying off the pints in the first place. And don’t even get me started on the juvenile fuck heads who seem to think I want to pass their sweaty 12 stone frame over my head all night, instead of enjoying my favourite band. I call those clowns ‘Hot Potatoes’, cause when they get over my head I just drop them real quick.

  8. Sorry for being the number 4.. I’m 7 feet and sitting isn’t really an option as the chairs don’t have enough legroom to be remotely comfortable.

    I’m sure many of my fellow number 4’s would, like me, not mind to move over if you ask politely (or offer a beer :P)

    Ps. i don’t even own a leather jacket

  9. I am the wall, im 6’5″ and i like to be able to see the band up close as much as the next guy. Chances are that if you just ask the tall people to let you through theyll let you as long as you’re not a total dick about it.

  10. BLOODY BRILLIANT! I’m particularly susceptible to The Wall and the Space Invader… twats, the lot of ’em. Think it’s time to patent some concert stilts…

  11. I always seem to be near the “bad dancer” This is the person who has absolutely no sense of tempo or rhythm, and spends the entire show “dancing” (for lack of a better word) completely off-beat, and makes it really hard to concentrate on the show itself. This person is usually not in the mosh pit, probably for fear of their own life.

  12. Jamie Crampton

    Agree with everything said, I rarely stand at gigs now unless I have no choice because of all the above. Mind you I’m very old. Other annoyances – twats who text their mates all during the gig. Seriously, if they were such good mates they’d be there with you. Nobody wants to know you paid £20 to go to a gig and then sat/stood texting about how good it would have been if you’d been paying attention.
    Last thing – Pod, 12 stone? I’ve seen some whoppers in my time, I reckon 12 stone is on the light side mate 🙂

  13. The Wall is definitely one of the worst, generally because i am only 5ft2. But its when a tall person elbows you in the face, turns round to see what he hit, sees me, and does not move at all, even though they would be perfectly capable of seeing if stood behind me. -_- Very annoying.
    Also the sprinklers have something i like to call ‘Sweat Flesh’ Which is one of the most horrible things in the world, when someone brushes up against you all horribly and sweaty!
    One of the people, you have not mentioned, is young girls who think thy can start a mini mosh pit of there own, near people who do not want to mosh, but when the guys get involved they get angry and tell them to go away cause they don’t want to get hurt. You either mosh with the people who want to, or respect the people who are stood away from the pits. Really annoying!

  14. The setlister is someone every gig I go to and for me is the most annoying.

    The wall I can forgive cos you can’t help being tall (just means you ate your veg as a kid) so I don’t agree with telling to get a seated ticket cos they have the right to enjoy a gig same as anyone else.

    My friend has a habit of attracting what I call the leaner! The guy who thinks its ok to lean on someone else’s back! Sometimes they don’t even face the right way!!

  15. Hi Gosling,

    I’ve got nothing against tall people at gigs, I am one myself. It’s the ones who seem oblivious to the fact that bug me. I’m always happy to let smaller people go in front.

  16. One more, the dicksplash who throws the remants of his plastic pint glass across the crowd. If I ever catch one of them doing it I WILL punch them on the nose.

    • Totally agreed!!!!!!!!!! Even worse are the festivals where they fill their bottles with piss/stones and throw them. My friend was knocked out by one at Download a few years back……

  17. Totally agree with this list. One thing I’ve come across at gigs which isn’t on this list however, is people with long hair who insist on headbanging violently throughout the entire gig, even though you point out many times that they are constantly hitting you in the face with their hair. It may not sound that bad, but have you ever been whipped across the face multiple times by some guy’s dreads? It fucking hurts.

  18. You should have included hardcore dancers particularly crowd killers.

  19. Number 9: the guy who spends more time whinging about the people he is in a mosh pit with than he does enjoying the band 😉

  20. The videographer is RIGHT ON. I hate these people, and it seems like there are more and more of them everyt time I go to a show. I don’t mind getting a photo when the oppotunity arises, but to record entire songs? WHY? It’s going to sound like total shit! What’s more, I’m sure the band would rather have the crowd be full of energy and not standing there watching the show through a 3-inch iphone screen. STOP THE MADNESS!

  21. In that list, I am a Wall.
    I think it is a legitamite position to be in, and the only reason to be actually be mad at a wall is your own selfishness, because you think you deserve their space more than they do.

  22. What a frigging HYPOCRITE!!! You’re 6’3″ and have the audacity to complain about ‘the Wall’ – someone bigger than you who blocks your view – and whom you therefore think should go sit down somewhere….

    I’m 5’2″ and even with platforms I can never see. It’s the reason I became a photographer – just so I could stand the OTHER side of the barrier so I could actually get to SEE the band!!!!!

    I think it’s time they had height groupings at gigs. Instead of golden circles and such rubbish, they should separate the entire front area of the stage into height categories – and should put anyone over 5’8″ at the very back of the venue!!!!

    • I think you’re all misinterpreting The Wall. The Wall isn’t just a tall person, it’s one who resolutely will not budge from their spot. I’ve even seen them in the pit deflecting people left right and centre. The theme of the article was about etiquette, if you’re tall be aware of people around you.

  23. I say The Gorilla should’ve topped the list. I’ve often fantasized about punching The Gorilla in the face. Followed by an earth-shattering kick to the nuts so he would be thoroughly prevented from being a dill hole for the rest of the gig.

  24. Another one for you – Couldn’t think of a witty name, maybe just The Brat?
    I went to see Alexisonfire at HMV Forum a couple of years back, They were awesome, incredible show, they come back on to play Happiness By The Kilowatt and I’m screaming along with all my throat when a stuck-up brat asks me if I mind singing along, I told her to shut the fuck up because I was enjoying myself.

    For me, The Hiker is the worst, I always make an effort to take as little as possible to a gig and if i must take a bag, I pay the measley £1.50 for the cloak room.

  25. You missed “the snogging couple”. These are hilarious, especially when the dude tries to get all alpha male because people are disturbing his necking session.

  26. The people I hate most are the guys that bring their girlfriends up to the front and get so pissed if you even bump into her. This guy started punching me when I was crowd surfing and i guess i touched her, don’t worry I kicked him in the face.

  27. greendayobsessive

    I agree wholeheartedly with number one! Hearing long catch up stories or – as I had at Green Day in Manchester – a couple having a full-blown fight is NOT what I pay to hear.

  28. I’ve had to school some people before in pit etiquette. I was at a gig once and people came pushing through the crowd at the back without even saying excuse me. Charging through like it was an emergency. Eventually I’d had enough and actually grabbed the hood of a guy yanked him back and told him that although this was a metal gig it wasn’t a free for all and if he wants to get past then he should slow down and say excuse me.

  29. The tagalong is one that I hate too the guy or gal who hates the band complains the whole time but it was a free ticket from a friend so they came anyway just to stand right by you and kill your day

  30. i dont mean to be a wall… i try to make sure people behind me can see, but sometime i get joseled around into someone’s line of sight. i apolagize.

  31. You forgot a few mate: 1. The Molester. The worst offender. I’ve seen it from a distance a few times. They take advantage of the chaos and compression in the mosh pit to make a grab at/fondle women. Especially when the unsuspecting lady decides to crowd surf. How do I know? Just watch her reaction. All teeth and nails, fists and boots. 2. The Courier du Bois. Related to the Space Invader by species and habit. They continually circulate even the most crowded venue pretending to look for a non-existent friend, thereby somehow compensating for their sense of inadequacy while simultaneously falsely inflating their sense of belonging and being “part of the scene”. They tend to travel in packs. Thoroughly annoying. 3. The Bar Hog. Self explanatory.

    ~Teeder

  32. How about these:

    The Sprinkler’s fat brother. While he doesn’t crowd surf so much, he still has his top off and is actually sweatier than his skinny counterpart. If you get behind this guy, you stick to him and then have to peel yourself off.

    Also, the little girl that just has to be down the front. This isn’t a bitch about girls in general, but the mosh pit is a dangerous place if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you can’t handle being in the throngs of it, don’t stand there. Go to the back. I’ve seen plenty of girls in my time that just HAVE to be down the front, and take their pussy-whipped boyfriends along to protect them. Just a couple of weeks ago (incidentally this was Primus’ second night at the Royal Albert Hall) I got caught up between one of these girls and her boyfriend, who were holding hands despite the fact she was stood way in front of him, meaning that any time I was taken in that direction by the momentum of the pit, I got caught up between them.

  33. This was absolutely brilliant and I could not agree more! I have been to so many gigs that I would easily say I came across all of these people. I can’t really say which type annoys me the most though. Very well written!

  34. A couple more to add (feel free to think of names for them):

    • Similar to the Gorilla, but usually not as big and usually not as hostile (just clueless), the guy who will intentionally crash into people who are watching the band or swing at people at the sides of the pit in an exaggerated pseudo-mosh-style. Not content (or too afraid) to participate in the voluntary mutual impacts of pit dancers, this twat will deliberately run full speed into someone who’s just watching the band and give them a full-force shove from behind, or will throw himself into or flail at people who are obviously not interested in moshing. His targets will be male or female, and he usually runs off before retaliation can be applied.

    • The one guy–no matter what type of music or band is playing, no matter how poor the ventilation is, no matter what the anti-smoking regulations are–who just can’t help but light up and puff away on cannabis every couple of minutes, creating clouds of putrid acrid smoke that stink up other people’s hair and clothing with nauseating hippy stench.

  35. Are you me? Some of the stories of my life there. I was expecting to see the invisible ninja fighters, but I can live without them. Good work, thank you.

  36. You missed the widdler. The guy who can’t be bothered to get out of the mish to get rid of countless pints and you get that warm, wet and soon to be cold sensation on the back of your legs. Not to forget the pee in a plastic pint and lob it idiot.
    Or is it only me that meets these inconsiderate peeps.

  37. You guys are all pussies. If you can’t handle going to a show, try watching videos.

  38. Number 9: The guy who thinks it’s okay to lean on the bottom of your neck/shoulders with sweating forearms when you have long hair.

    I no longer have long hair 🙂

  39. Can’t believe passionate snoggers and gropers didn’t make it into the top 8 – next year maybe

  40. The Clapper. The guy who tries to get a clapalong going, regardless of whether anyone else joins in or not. Sense of rhythm optional.

    The Over Protective Boyfriend.
    Whilst gropers and those with wandering hands deserve everything they get. The guy who starts on a complete stranger for unintentionally bumping elbows with his girlfriend is a right buzz killer for everyone in the vicinity.

  41. 9. GIRLS WHO WEAR HEELS.

  42. I am The Wall and I deal with Gorillas. Respect one another people! See ya for Motorhead and Anthrax in November, I hope the slap-happy twat at Led Zep stood like a tree with his phone in the air who hit that 5ft nothing girl for bumping into his elbow is still embarrassed and ashamed. Beware the Wall!

  43. Been a fellow mosher the gorilla annoys me the most but the plan is to fight fire with fire and after a song or 2 while your giving them a right good pushing and shoving the should go away and you can mosh peacefully without these dillholes (it works better if there’s a few of you)

  44. Just have to add to the list – The Farter. The guy who finds opportunity in the anonymity of the large crowd to constantly let off meaty wafts of toxic trump. Sadly it’s what I remember most about seeing Big Star at Shepherd’s Bush in 2008.

  45. Cool list. I went to see Opeth last November at Brixton…they played a non-screaming set. The talkers killed me. With Opeth playing their more mellow and acoustic music, I was amazed at the amount of people that would not shut the fuck up. What exactly is so important to discuss at a show? I am also vicitm of the tall douchebag that always seems to plant themselves in front of me. At 6’1″ they always seem to find, not sure why. I do feel bad though when I get in front of that girl who is like 5-feet tall.

    Too old to get in the pit anymore, I tend to watch…the shirtless bastards and all the body fluid they are smearing over everyone. Besides being 39 years old, that’s the other reason I don’t get into the pit. Next show for me Cradle of Filth in Cambridge on August 2, then Overkill on Oct 7. I hope to see Ensiferum in Sept as well. Great post!

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