7 June 2011

Gigging etiquette...a contradiction in terms?

Say what you will about Caleb and Co, but the fact stands that I am, and have been for a good 7 years, a huge fan of Kings Of Leon. Their second album Aha Shake Heartbreak was one that my 14 year old self listened to non-stop. It comforted me in times of teen angst and emotional wreckage, and it's what still holds a significant place in my musical heart.

Personal opinions aside though, going to see your favourite artist[s] live, soaking up that wonderfully raw atmosphere, and sharing such an experience with equally adoring fans is something that I'm sure most of us would agree should be, and usually is, an incredible and pretty special event.

I'm lucky enough to have seen Kings of Leon twice now. The first, at Birmingham N.I.A, was such an awe-inspiring performance. The interaction between not only band and audience, but the audience members themselves, was an incredible feeling, and one which I will cherish forever.

The second however, at Coventry Ricoh Arena, was one which, I'm sad to say, could have been improved ten-fold were it not for the somewhat mixed behaviour of the crowd.

From what I saw, and have had replayed to me by various videos floating around cyberspace, was an audienceship that was split into three basic categories.

1) The crazy-kids [usually wasted, wailing, and expressing an uncanny ability to start a mosh pit in even the most tranquil of performances. I doubt even a Josh Groban gig could discourage them]

2) The fun-fans [genuine admirers of the artist's music, there to sing, dance, and support in whatever way they can]

3)The debbie-downers [Heads down, hands unapplauding, seats left early]

For me, the crazy-kids, much as they were having an apparently fantastic time, maan, pretty much ruined the whole night. Not only in their instinctive drive to push whoever was around them into a frenzied mosh, but also their presumed pleasure in throwing beer, cigarette butts and quite possibly urine across the crowd. 

Call me crazy, but having to flick cigarette ash out of my hair and dodge flying bottles of liquid is not my idea of fun. I know it's just something that happens, and I wasn't naive enough to arrive unexpectant of that kind of thing, but really...it's a waste of drink if nothing else, and at £4 a pop I certainly wouldn't be chucking them away. 

And guys [who I'm presuming were the culprits of aforementioned urine bottles, but hey, maybe you're just a gal with a she-pee to hand], for the love of God hold it in. Just, do it.

Thankfully I had a raincoat to shield me from any incoming showers, but the thought of having anything other than beer on my shoes is enough to make me queasy...mainly at the thought of some poor soul thinking that throwing their pee around is OK.

It's not. Trust me.

and here was me thinking it would just be useful for queuing in the rain. Pee wasn't on the agenda at this point.

On to the second category of bad audiencesip, the downers. Stuck near a crazy circle of catapulting moshers, me and my friends failed to realise that behind us stood a sea of people who couldn't have looked more bored if they tried, and thinking back on it, I'm almost glad I was stuck in the turbulent atmosphere that I was, because at least it was an atmosphere of sorts.

A friend who had seated tickets showed me videos of the crowd, and I couldn't have been more shocked at the contrast. Sure enough, there was a small bubble of jumpers, singers and crazy-kids near the front, but the stalls and rear of the standing area were filled with statuesque figures. I'm talking hands-in-pockets, no-singing-no-swaying, applause-avoiding individuals, who had paid at least £50 to be there.


Goodness knows, but from what I saw on that clip I'm surprised KOL didn't just walk off stage. They're not exactly renowned for their commitment at gigs after all, but stay they did, and play to a majority group that stood around as if they'd stumbled upon the concert by mistake.

And the worst thing about all of this mess? The band were actually phenomenal.

What should have been a super-special, goosebump-inducing show for me was drowned out by a constant need to check I wasn't getting dragged into some punching party, or that my eyebrows hadn't been singed off by cigarette ends.

Thankfully, my friends helped make the night a wonderful one, and looking back I can appreciate how utterly incredible it was to see KOL perform again, but honestly? I'm in disbelief that we paid such a large chunk of money to get unwarrantably punched in the face [thankfully the friend this happened to is fine and dandy now], showered in beer and shoved around like there's no tomorrow.

I'm pretty keen to hear what you guys think, whether I'm being unreasonable here or whether you've had similar thoughts and experiences. Is it disrespectful to be a crazy-kid or debbie-downer? Or should everyone be left to act in whatever way they see fit, no matter its effect on everyone else's experience?

Answers on a pee-free postcard please.



Vicky said...

I've seen KOL a few times as well, and the band and the crowd have always been amazing. Given, there will always be some knob (or in this case, a lot) who ruins it for everyone else, but I really don't understand (like yourself) why you'd pay so much money to go and see a band, and not enjoy yourself. It would've made more sense for someone who really wanted to go - but couldn't get tickets for whatever reason - to be there instead. Anyway, sorry to hear the atmosphere wasn't the best, but at least the boys didn't disappoint x

Sophie said...

I was at the Cov gig and feel the exacttt same way, me and my friend ended up being stuck by a guy and his 3 friends, smoking weed, who then got talking to some 17 year olds, who started smoking weed, who found some more 17 year olds who joined in etc etc, who then ended up starting a ridiculous mosh pit next to us which was plain irritating. Then we ended up being stuck by a ridiculously tall guy who just stood still, had it not been for the idiot weed smoking mosh pitters it would have been good where we were stood, but agreed that KOL were amazing, as were Mona and White Lies i thought!

Lauren said...

Oh dear! This all sounded terribly familiar to me!
Last month my bf and I went to see David Guetta in concert; my bf had got me the tickets at Christmas. I'd been to concerts before but this was something else...

As it was a DJ I knew that chavs were to be expected, but the state of most of the people there was unbelievable. Mostly underage chavs (tickets said 'over 18 only, ID required', yet they all got in of course) who were drinking before they got in to the venue. Thankfully we were on the balcony which seemed to be full of mostly sensible people, having a few drinks, dancing and enjoying themselves, but we were looking down on the main floor and it was absolute CARNAGE. Fights, drink throwing, smoking, youngsters off their tits being dragged out by security. I was very glad we weren't down among that! There were a few people up on the balcony who didn't seen very interested or happy but you never know who dragged them there!

Same at most conerts I'd imagine, I just can't stand the thoughtless people who ruin it for eveyone else.

Rose said...

omg, i am so jealous
I have been a fan of KOL for ages tooooo! i so wish i could see them live. Literally do anything
your very lucky xxx

Susie said...

I am going to see KOL for the first time this month! SO excited! As for gig-etiquette, well, nothing can ruin a show more than standing next to the wrong people (you know, the people heckling the band, screaming out the lyrics, crying during their favorite songs...haha!)

Molly Xxx said...

I actually cant agree more with what you've wrote about, i keep finding this at gigs and it so annoying! Why even bother going [or paying] to go to something your not going to enjoy? I was at one recently + it was seated although the majority of people were standing + dancing/enjoying themselves, yet two moody people behind us asked us to sit down? BORING! +at The Pigeon Detectives gig i went to last month some people talk the moshing crazyness too far with the *eeeek* wee in bottles. Just disgusting. Hope the nutters/bores didnt totally ruin your gig-so jealous of you seeing KOL, theyre just amazing!! Xxx

Raffles Bizarre said...

Grea post, I hate it when half the croud ruins what should be an amazing experience. Most of the time I manage to block it out, but it's hard to pay attention to the music when someone is throwing you about like a rag doll.

Also, I love love love that outfit, lil hottie!!

Sirens and Bells said...

I can totally see where you're coming from, I went to of one the NME Tour gigs, and I was right at the front, and there was a massive group of stupid boys trying to create a mosh pit. It's totally unnecessary.
I think that although some fans may not be the type to look particularly excited, they should at least clap or look happy to be there!
Sirens and Bells xx

Sophie Isobel said...

The last gig I went to was like this, I was almost dreading the faster songs because the mosh pit thing would start up again! I don't mind them having fun but when they're treading on my feet, bashing into me and hurting me that was enough. Luckily I was wearing my hench H&M stone ring and ended up punching some guy as hard as I could in the back he pushed off after that :D

Rachael said...

Them crazy mosh pit driven kids do seem to be intent on ruining gigs purely for the hell of it. Plus they always appear at the most un-mosh pit of gigs especially at little indie gigs. I remember when I went to see Maximo Park back in the early days and there was a group of drunk teenagers trying over and over again to get a mosh pit to the point where they are battling everyone into the railings and speakers at the side. No fun at all.

sian said...

kol are amazing, their live performances always stick out as favourites in my memories! the three categories are so spot on & its such a shame that people can't just... behave! i think thats why i prefer seeing people at festivals as apposed to gigs/concerts, there's just a different feel.

i never EVER get the people who pay to stand and look completely unimpressed, baffling x

Lil said...

Ahhhh, this, you see, makes me very sad. I love gigs and festivals, but I have to be honest and say that, not unlike you, some of what should have been the best gigging experiences of my life were ruined by people around me who didn't seem remotely interested in the band.

Sometimes at festivals I get quite disheartened because I want to be in there amongst in but at the end of the day I know I'll be watching my back the whole time and completely unable to enjoy it, so I usually just stick to the outskirts of the crowd. This is why I'm looking forward to Green Man so much this year because I feel like it should be a little more chilled.

So to conclude, I don't think you're being unreasonable. I find the downers sometimes worse than the crazy kids because at least the crazy kids are having a good time, even if the way they do it doesn't seem appropriate. I'll never be able to understand it! It's just a shame all this sort of behaviour has had such an effect on my attendance at gigs - what used to be 2-4 a month has turned into barely any at all!


danielleyc said...

I feel the exact same!

I mean, when I was a young teen I loved getting in the middle of a pit, and just getting as drunk as possible. I was never a pee or beer thrower though!

I went to a gig a few months back, and I experienced the debbie-downers first hand, and I just think, why bother spending all that money on tickets and expensive drinks when you're not even going to enjoy it. Plus I was stood behind some drunk guy falling all over the place, and poured half of his drink down my front as soon as we got there, which was not fun!

Overall I didn't let everyone else bring me down, and I had a good night. I guess you've just got to make the best of everything really :)

Ps. I love the outfit and nails! :) and the tickets design too! :)

ella belle said...

im not really a gig kind of person. ive been to a few and have def always ended up being stuck near some idiots. glad you had a good time despite the atmosphere not being at its best xx
Ella @ Belle Vintage

Laura said...

When I went to see Muse, the atmosphere was dire. I mean, seriously...the frontman was busting out a serious riff and the only enthusiastic guy there was tipsy, air-guitaring nutter who was giving it his all during Plug In Baby.
Don't even get me started on Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I've seen more atmosphere on the Antiques Roadshow.
Audiences make the gigs, period!

vered said...

I personaly agree with you very much. I can't stand when peopole are just really being nasty, I mean whatever, jump and act all crazy if u want to.but to spit beer on peopole, or to start being violent through them, and to push them around this is just disrespetfull and nasty. The other thing is dumb too, who would pay this much of money and would stand doing nothing.. anyway I am glad your friend is okay and you made the best of it :) Kings of leon is really a fantastic band.

Gemx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sherin said...

Right, officially excited to see KoL at the end of the month!! I love them.

It's true: seeing your favourite band live is definitely something really special.

I do hate the drunk kids at gigs. They really ruin the atmosphere and they're usually at every gig, which sucks! Eww that they were possibly throwing urine.

alittlebitofroza said...

you're so pretty :') xx

Stephanie said...

I hate people that throw urine. I went to see The Enemy ages ago with some friends, we turned round to see some guys with their penis' out filling up cups and throwing them. They kept going to the bar to buy more and more, quite literally pissing their money away!
Personally I don't get it, who the hell gets of at flashing and throwing urine around, it's just disgusting.


Winnie said...

I haven't been to a gig in ages and the only time I've ever seen KOL was at Reading waaaay back in 2005 or something. They were pretty great!

It's a shame that there are some people who go to gigs to heckle and just annoy the band, I don't really get it since it's so expensive to go to gigs nowadays. Definitely hate standing near the mosh pit though, I'm always just too scared of being landed on and kind of half concentrate on them and the band!

Anyways, glad they didn't disappoint you and you enjoyed their performance!!

Maria said...

This was a really interesting post, after talking to you and Lisa I couldn't believe some of the stuff you were telling me! Luckily Caleb and co. still gave you a fab show but they must have been disappointed with the atmosphere too.

Maria xxx

daisychain said...

the crazy kids really, really scare me.

Mo said...

This is such a great topic - but sorry to read you had such a bad experience.
I've seen KOL and sadly it was after Sex on Fire. I think after such a massive hit the crowd will also be mixed as anyone will go because of that and not always the truest of fans. If that makes sense?
I bloody hate people that chuck cider (and whatever else) over people at gigs - there is just no need. It's not fun for anyone.
Hope you still enjoyed KOL as much as possible though.
P.S. Looking mega hot - love your t-shirt with the jeans. xx

Salha said...

Nice shoes!! :)