A couple of months ago we found ourselves a little peeved by behaviour at some of the gigs we went to and so put out the idea of a Gig Charter. To say you took to the idea like a metaller to the moshpit is an understatement. Inconsiderate wankers have been ruining your special ‘moments’ for years and you spewed bile about people talking, taking photos and, well, spewing bile. So here’s your list of your worst offenders. Look out on Facebook soon for when we put all this to the vote and compile a finished document for your approval.
By far the biggest complaint that came back was people talking, especially through quiet gigs. Why do it?! Why pay a tenner to see a band and not listen to it? If someone asks you to be quiet, don’t you think that should be enough reason to pipe down? But a request for silence often leads to aggression. It takes a lot of balls to confront someone, so take that as a measure of how upset they are and go and finish your vital conversation about EastEnders at the bar. Matt Bassant of Audio told us about how he was so wound up by a group of five chatterers at The xx in his venue that he gave them their money back and asked them to leave. Fair play.
A newish gripe as before digital cameras – or more specifically camera phones – this wasn’t a problem. Kris Mitchell, like lots of you, gets frustrated by “people watching a gig through their phone as they record it rather than actually experiencing it.” But it’s not just that. If you have a phone in front of your face while someone is videoing their favourite song you might as well be sat at home watching on the world’s worst TV. The problem is, says Lisa Wormsley, “the results are normally rather shit”. As for taking pictures with iPads? Outright ban, you all seem to be demanding.
Yeah, that little grope you have in the moshpit, that’s not an opportunist bit of fun, it’s straight up sexual assault. And, yes, despite the fact it’s illegal, immoral and the behaviour of a scumbag, it happens all the time. It’s absolutely disgusting and any blokes doing it need to have a firm fucking word with themselves. “I’m surprised this still happens in this day and age”, says Jenny Jones. “How would they like it if it was their sister?” Exactly. And no ‘accidental’ grinding either, for fuck’s sake. If you see this, speak up. Let’s stamp it out.
A surprisingly popular one this, and one we hadn’t had much trouble with (except for SOURCE manager Rosie being engulfed head-to-waist in a dreadlock curtain after Primal Scream last year). “People dancing by flailing their long hair in everyone’s faces is rank,” says Stuart Adams. “Particularly those with unwashed dreads.” Yeah, that sounds nasty.
As long as you keep your hair and limbs under control, dancing was generally seen as a good thing by SOURCE readers (“It should be compulsory at gigs in any part of the venue”, reckons Alison Taylor). The frustration was a Footloose-style shut down. “At an Elbow gig at The Dome I was moaned at for dancing”, says Tina Sutcliffe. “It’s a gig! You’re meant to have fun. If you wanna listen, go home and put yer headphones on. Leave us alone to have some fun.” Yeah, shut up grandad.
The band are playing your ‘our tune’, emotions are high, you’re having a moment and the next thing you know you’re taken over with desire and are kissing your partner’s face off. That would all be fine if you weren’t six inches from five other people. It’s not an orgy, how about a bit of privacy? “No matter how close to the front I get, they’re always in front of me”, says Richard Julian Jones. “Get a room!”
It’s a constant surprise how great people are at carrying multiple pints across a pub, but a gig provides a fairly substantial extra challenge to your skills. “People who try to carry four pints through a dancing, unaware crowd are so annoying”, says our Reviews Editor Jess, while Riki Tik manager Jack Donald complains about “people that spill their pints on my shoes”. Milo Belgrove has a radical solution: only sell bottled beer. “Nobody’s hair goes in a bottle nor does it get spilt everywhere.” Indeed.
Throwing Cups Of Piss
This one is more festival ‘fun’ than Brighton-based but if you’ve ever done this we’d really like to sit you down and have a good chat about your moral compass. You’re throwing your piss. At people. And it’s worth remembering it’s real people up there, even if you don’t like the songs they’re playing.
Pushing To The Front
At worst this is actually dangerous, at best it’s a bit rude. If you’re that keen on the band then get get to the front a few minutes before they start. “I hate people who think the best way to the front is to barge forward without stopping, as aggressively as they can”, says David Middleton. But there’s a further offence. “Also, groups of people who insist on holding hands when going to the bar or closer to the front”, reckons Robert Buckingham. “Gigs are not primary school outings.”
This isn’t audience participation, you don’t get to choose the setlist, no matter how many times you shout for a song. “I hate obnoxious audience members who try to draw as much attention to themselves as possible,” adds Loz Reading, “particularly by overtly violent and aggressive moshing.” And having mates in the band doesn’t give you the right to act up. “When I saw 900 Spaces some bloke shouted ‘Oi Stew! Oi! Yeah! Stew!’ constantly, between every song,” recalls Toby Dore.
A bit of common courtesy here – wash your pits before you go and stand in a hot room very close to lots of other people. “B.O. after a sweaty night out is perfectly fine,” says Andrew White, “but before the first support, no.” Similarly farting. “Remember people,” says Megan Wright, “now there is no smoking at gigs there is no cover for this behaviour.” Five hundred people farting in a room with no windows? No thanks.
Being short at a gig is a curse. So if you’re tall, show a bit of respect. “Take a glance behind”, suggests Jo Parker. “If there’s someone who genuinely can’t see then maybe shuffle somewhere that works better for both.” But it can be a torment for the tall too. “I get really narked when people who are standing behind me tut throughout the gig because they can’t see owing to my mega-lankiness”, says Robert Buckingham. There’s not much you can do about your height. In our experience the beanpoles need to get there early and let the little folk work around them. If you’ve got the height to see well don’t expect to be able to push to the front without getting it in the neck. Meanwhile sitting on someone’s shoulders means no-one behind you can see, so maybe keep that brief.
Support The Support
You go to gigs cos you love music, so show some of that love to the musicians by watching the support bands, say quite a few of you. “Today’s supports are tomorrow’s main acts so listen to them”, says Steve Train. “I don’t like it when people clear off after their mate’s band has played,” adds Toby Dore. “If you don’t at least give the other bands a chance then you’re letting yourself down and the scene loses out on vital support.”
SOURCE’s Jess flagged up this one, which should have been left behind in the golden age of raving. Taking your top off isn’t going to keep you that much cooler than a t-shirt but does give you about a 99% chance of wiping your clammy body-sweat onto someone else. Get a nice breathable techno-fibre from a camping shop if overheating is that big a problem.
It’s not easy putting on gigs by local artists, so when you’re heading out for a night of entertainment how about sticking your hand in your pocket, suggests Toby Dore. “People who try to get into local band’s gigs without paying wind me up”, he says. “We put these on with money from our own pocket and anything we make just covers our costs, so you’re being a dick if you don’t pay.” You still want that guestlist?
Let People Have Fun
We’ll leave this to Christian Jegard from The Valentines: “I think as long as what you’re doing isn’t ridiculously disruptive and unsound, then people should be able to do whatever the fuck they like. It’s a gig not a memorial service. Just don’t be a dick, or an uptight Nazi. It’s just a band, its fine.” Of course where the line is drawn is the big issue here. And that’s what we want you to decide. We’ll keep you posted when we’re ready for your feedback to take it to the next stage.
Photo By James Kendall