I go to a lot of gigs. When people look at my bank statement it’s pretty much a 10/90 split for life essentials/gig tickets; I can talk about live music quite a bit. Whenever people ask me about how a gig was my usual answer is usually overwhelmingly positive about the experience.
The conversation goes the same way every time:
They are such a great performer, I was so happy to hear -INSERT REALLY OBVIOUS FAVOURITE SONG- live for the first time, but there was one thing that kept annoying me throughout.
That one thing? Usually some idiot talking behind me about how much their boss is annoying them, or how much they enjoyed the football game that happened a few hours ago, or how they are definitely so much more important than every other person in the venue so it’s definitely okay if they talk really loudly all of the way through a delicate piano ballad. While everyone around them scowls.
Is it just me that ends up stood next to these people? Do I attract them towards me? Is there a sign on my back that says ‘I definitely knew that hearing about how much your boyfriend has pissed you off this week was included in the price of the £70 ticket I paid for’? It feels like there is. And it has all but ruined certain moments of otherwise phenomenal live shows for me.
There’s a few categories of Loud-Concert-Attendee that people fall into. You’ve got the generally obnoxious ‘I’m just here because I like chatting with my friends and drinking’ crowd, who seem to not realise that they, or someone else, has actually paid quite a lot of money to stand in a room and have to talk over the strangely loud music that’s playing. The sort of people who probably can’t even remember the name of the artist performing, but will gladly take a selfie with the person they assume is famous in the background.
You’ve also got the ‘here for that big hit and ready to talk all the way through every song you don’t know’ crowd, who are probably the least distracting in general. In the wrong circumstances they can completely ruin a live show experience, though.
The example that’s seared into my mind are the people who were sat next to me at an Adele gig. Two songs in they started complaining that they didn’t recognise the songs, loudly asking her to do Someone Like You before getting bored and just talking and laughing about their week during the ‘boring ballads’.
It took my mum telling them to ‘Just shut up or we will ask for you to be moved’ for about 6 other people around us to join in with the complaint, at which point they definitely stopped talking so loudly down our ears. Imagine paying nearly EIGHTY POUNDS to face away from Adele and not even listen at all.
That leaves the last type of Noisy gig goer, the…
Face Time chatting to someone who isn’t even at the gig about how much the gig is good, but remember when we went to that other gig and then went for lunch and had that really nice burger
…crowd. I actually understand the people who phone someone during a song that they share a love for, it’s sweet, showing just how much of an impact music can make on someone. But having an entire face-time conversation with someone who’s watching a stage that’s now obstructed by your phone, or even worse iPad, is next level dickish behaviour.
It doesn’t matter if you think the act isn’t very good, no one is forcing you to stay there. And if they are, maybe figure out beforehand if you are going to hate every second. Stand at the very back if you can’t control yourself from chatting during quiet moments. Even better, stand outside.
I once suggested on Twitter that there’s no one as annoying as someone who stands next to you and talks all of the way through your favourite song at a gig, to which someone responded with ‘Also see really tall people who block your view’. The difference is, I can’t help being 6’4, but those people can help being an arrogant dick who won’t shut up.
Words by Sam Atkins.