Monday, 2 February 2015

Let's all stop being dicks to each other at shows

I fear this blog is starting to become a place to rant about everything, but hey something happened at a show and it really pissed me off.

Saturday night I headed down to my favourite local haunt to watch a band that I've been admiring and promoting for well over a year now, I was super stoked and well prepared to have a brilliant evening. I was also working this show, and by that I mean I was interviewing one of the bands on the bill and reviewing the entire show.

The venue in which the show took place is fairly small, it's a basement venue that can hold 200 people at maximum capacity, and this was a sold out show. The stage isn't all that large and visibility can be limited unless you're fairly near the front. Now, remember I am working this show, so really I need to try and get a decent view of what's going on - it wouldn't be much of a review if I stood at the back unable to see anything. I wouldn't have been able to see the lights decorating the drumkit or the stage invasion that happened at the end of the set. I also understand that when a venue is as small as this, it can be annoying when you have people pushing through, bags bashing around and having your toes stepped on is never enjoyable, but in a venue like this it's gonna happen.

So there I am, trying to push my way through to the front section of the crowd, hand in hand with my friend (also a big fan of the band), some let us through kindly, others were a little stubborn so sometimes you just gotta push. Whenever I find myself in the situation of trying to push past people I always make the effort to say "excuse me" and "thank you" as I make my way through, I've found it calms peoples annoyances and hey, manners don't cost a thing.

Then I feel a big old push on my back and I fall forward, (by this point I'm at a suitable place in the crowd to see the stage, a few rows from the front), I regain myself and brush it off. I feel another push, I fall forward. I turn around expecting to see some douchebag teenager thinking it's funny to shove me around just because I'm either A) a girl or B) they're annoyed I pushed past. Instead, I'm shocked and a little disappointed to be met with a very moody faced man, who is at a guess in his mid-thirties, surrounded by three middle-aged women also looking very annoyed. He flicks his hand in my face and angrily tells me to "go on, go forward". For one I cannot actually get any further forward and also, I'm sorry what? Are you really that angry that someone has pushed infront of you? Have you ever been to a gig before? Are you just an arsehole?

I didn't retaliate well, infact I'm fairly certain I told him to "fuck off", but that's what happens when you continually push me because you're a little pissed I've gotten infront of you. I turned back to face the stage, ignoring him because I didn't want this to get messy. He pushed me again. I turned to face him again, I refrained from swearing at him, or you know, punching him square in the face which is what I would have liked to have done. The women at this point are also trying to get involved and are shouting something at me. I shout at them to just stop it, my angry face is on and I repeat myself a good few times before they eventually stop and I can go back to my business.

What I can't understand is why they all thought this was acceptable behaviour? Okay yes, I pushed infront of them, my bag may have bashed them on my way past, I may have accidentally knocked them. But you're at a rock show that is sold out, you're gonna get people pushing around. I've seen similar behaviour from teenagers who think it's funny, but full grown adults? Come on now, that's just petty and you look like an absolute jerk.

My point here is, we all need to stop acting like arseholes to each other at shows. We're all there for the exact same reason, because we love the bands, we all want to see them and have a great night. There's no need to be rude, there's no need to have a go at someone pushing infront of you. If you're the one squeezing to the front, remember to say please and thank you as you pass and if you're really against being knocked around when you're adamant about standing at the front, just fuck off to the back, we don't need you here ruining our party.


  1. I occasionally photograph gigs for press purposes and always make sure that before the gig I have researched the venue eg: will there be a pit at the front for photographers - part of the job when you're working is the preparation before I think. If there isn't I make sure I get there early and stand at the front waiting to avoid the sort of problems you encountered.

    Some people at gigs won't ever appreciate people pushing infornt and will then exhibit dickish behaviour - the solution therefore is not a rant on a blog post but better prep before the gig yourself :)

  2. I've been to numerous gigs where I've made an effort to turn up early to get a good spot. I understand people trying to push past you to get a better view (I've done it myself a few times before - politely like you said). But even if being polite, you have to remember that the people you're pushing in from of might have been stood there all night, or, most likely, were quite close to the front and were gradually ushered further back because other people wanted a better (late) view...

    The guy shouldn't have pushed you, especially not continually. That's unacceptable. Pushing people in situations like that is actually very dangerous. But chances are that because you were stood in front of them that meant they he/they had to move back slightly.

    So many times I'm at a gig early and someone pushes in front and you think 'fine, let them go through' but then they stand RIGHT in front of you, pretty much where you were standing, giving you less room to move so then in turn you have to step back slightly. That's so annoying.

    I guess what's needed is people to be more honest: 'I'll let you though but please don't stand right in front of me.'

    If you really love the band and want to be at the front, you'll be there earlier to secure a good spot...

  3. Sometimes you have to suck it up and remember that if you're not as close as you want to be then the people in front probably got there earlier than you and deserve to be there more. People pushing in (especially in small venues) is fucking annoying. People are positioned where they are because there IS NO MORE ROOM. If you push past people you're occupying space that would have been occupied by someone who moved for someone else. Small gig venues don't magically create more space out of thin air, there is a limit to how far you can go and how many people a spot can hold. Solution: don't push in. Be content with where you are and if it really means that much to you to be down the front then stop spending so much time at the bar and get down the front early. Guy shouldn't have pushed you though, granted.

  4. Ummm...Imagine you're the one who was standing there early with a good view about to see your favourite band and then several people pushed in front and you had to move back slightly. Now write this blog post again.

    It's 50/50.

  5. Sadly a lot of people are really rude at gigs. As a regular gig goer, I understand the frustration of someone standing in front of you. You just have to accept it and tune out. :(

  6. Whilst many of us rely on the efforts (often unpaid) of bloggers and reporters in discovering new bands, or reliving live performances I have to say that this post is somewhat disappointing. As other commenters have said, many of the people you're pushing past have likely spent much of their evening holding their spot, hell I've done that many times and sometimes had to endure some goddamn awful openers. If your work means that you need to be at the front, then you need to make sure that you're there as early as others.

    FWIW, the guy is an idiot for pushing you, that's just plain wrong.