As we covered previously in our countdown of the 13 Things That Should Be Banned From Aussie Music Festivals, live music, like anything where total strangers gather together, can often be fraught with danger, poor taste, and idiots acting like idiots.
We all have our pet peeves, but there are things we all universally agree are just not on when you’re out to see live music. That is, of course, unless you’re one of the people who indulges in one of these bad habits, and even then you probably find them annoying too.
In order to help create a better live music scene and world for everyone, we’ve gone ahead and gathered 12 of the absolute best ways to make yourself known as “that dickhead” at any gig. So pay attention, take notes if you have to, and never transgress again.
Now, before you continue reading, understand that we’re not just whinging here. We want everyone to get loose and have a good time. These are just some common courtesies and basic guidelines to ensuring everyone has a good time, inspired by our friends over at Time Out.
1. Getting Your Phone Out
We’re not a bunch of old curmudgeons here. We understand that we’ve living in 2015 and it’s a digital world. We also understand that you’re too socially awkward to just wait for your friends alone and have to stay glued to your phone or risk being seen as a strange loner.
We totally get it. It’s just, could you please put the freaking thing away once the band comes on? And not just the headliner. Once a performer hits the stage, show some respect and put your phone away. The odd selfie or photo is fine, just don’t stand there Facebooking.
And if you bring your iPad, maybe you need to take a long hard look at yourself.
2. Bringing A Selfie Stick
There’s a reason these things are being banned by venues and festivals the world over. Besides being inarguably lame, these cudgels of unabated narcissism are a safety risk to the patrons around you. We can think of about 10 different ways bringing a selfie stick into a mosh pit could go wrong and they all involve punctured organs.
If you’re at a show, take your selfies the old-fashioned way and leave your stocking stuffer at home. It’s rude, potentially dangerous, and honestly, it’s kind of distracting having someone beside you pull out a pool skimmer while you’re trying to enjoy a show.
3. Talking During The Set
Shut up. Wait, no, you can talk, just, for the love of God don’t talk during the set. Show some respect for the performers and your fellow revellers and leave the talking for before and after a set, or even between songs. Talking during a song is just rude.
It’s even worse when it’s a quiet or acoustic song. These are often the most emotionally potent moments during a show and even if they’re not, your talking through them is being enjoyed by exactly zero people, even the person you’re talking to. Honestly, we’d rather you’d text whatever you have to say.
4. Not Understanding Where You Are
There’s certain things to expect when you attend a gig. It will very likely be hot and sweaty in the venue. It will very likely smell of alcohol. There will very likely be some intoxicated people. Fans are going to jump, they’re going to dance, they’re going to move.
The best thing you can do is enjoy yourself and participate. Now, let’s be clear, no one and we mean NO ONE should ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable at a show. If you ever do, inform security or venue managers IMMEDIATELY. But don’t yell at someone for accidentally bumping into you, they were likely just another domino in the row.
5. Throwing Your Empty Glassware On The Floor
There’s a reason your mother would freak out and immediately make an action movie-style leap for the vacuum cleaner whenever somebody broke a glass when you were growing up. Broken glass is dangerous and when placed on the floor in a darkened room, with lots and lots of people, it’s a gory accident waiting to happen.
Around your local gig venue, you will find countless spots where you can safely place an empty pint glass, beer bottle, whiskey tumbler, champagne flute, or just about any other sort of glass object you could imagine, the floor is not one of them.
6. Always Asking For The Guest List
If you boast a love and support of local live music but are always asking to be put on the guest list, you need to stop doing one of these things, preferably the latter. The going rate for your average local gig isn’t that steep and your favourite musicians and venues need the money more than ever.
Seeing a local gig is actually one of the cheaper ways to enjoy a night out and if you’re having some trouble finding an affordable show, we just so happen to have a weekly column highlighting the best local gigs under $15 in your town.
7. Shouting Out Requests
We all have our favourite songs. Sometimes the bands we like play them when we see then perform live, other times they don’t. This depends on any number of factors. Maybe they played it a lot the last time they toured, maybe they just didn’t feel like playing it that time.
One factor that’s very, very rarely taken into account is someone drunkenly yelling out the title of a random tune. The band or artist has a carefully curated setlist of songs that they’ve agreed upon, rehearsed, and sound-checked, yelling out song requests is just lame and kind of annoying.
8. Wasting Time At The Bar
Despite what GQ and other men’s magazines will have you believe, getting a bartender’s attention isn’t an exact science. They’re under the pump throughout the night, dealing with hundreds of people ordering hundreds of drinks, and you’re not necessarily the most important one.
So please, when you’ve finally got the bartender’s attention, don’t waste everyone’s time, including theirs. That’s precious real estate you’re taking up. Decide what you want to order before you go over to the bar, have your money in your hand, and of course, be polite.
9. Smoking In The Mosh Pit
Not only is this one rude and potentially dangerous, it’s also against the law. Now, we can argue till the cows come home about whether that’s right or not, but the fact of the matter is that you shouldn’t be lighting up inside of a venue. Go outside or to a designated smoking area.
There’s people around you who may not be smokers, who may even have trouble dealing with breathing in cigarette smoke, and they shouldn’t have to move from their spot just because you’re not doing the right thing.
10. Rocking Up Late & Pushing Your Way To The Front
Yes, sometimes it’s hard getting to a gig. Life has a way of intervening in your plans. Trains and busses are late, you can’t find a cab, you get stuck in traffic, your helipad needed to be… scraped, or something. Whatever it is, we understand.
That said, if everyone has taken their place in the mosh and around the venue, and you’ve shown up right as the band is coming on, don’t push your way through to the front. If there’s space in the mosh or someone’s letting you through, that’s cool. But don’t shove people out of the way, just learn to deal.
11. Haggling Over The Door Price
As we mentioned earlier, there are plenty of free and cheap local gigs in your area. There’s no reason to be haggling over a $15 door price. Pry the loose change out from between the couch cushions and just pay the full charge.
And don’t, under any circumstances, show up halfway through the show and ask to only pay half-price. The same goes for leaving halfway through the show and asking to get half your money back. It doesn’t work that way. And yes, people actually do that.
12. Trying To Scam Free Drinks
We mentioned how venues and performers need those door prices more than ever, right? Well, drinks are where most venues make all of their money. They’re the sweet, liquory lifeblood that keeps the live music industry alive and running.
That’s why you should just pay for them. Everybody loves a free lunch, and a free drink even more, but don’t approach the bar with a story about how you “know the band” or “the guy that owns this place”. Just hand over the money and know that you’re doing the local economy a service.Write a Letter to the Editor