Dear Gig Wankers

Latest posts by Mitch Cole (see all)

It’s that time of year again when it’s starting to get hot, all those bastard flies and mosquitoes come out to make your life hell, and that deadly combination only results in irritation. Maybe it’s just me being old and grumpy (it definitely is) but, much like a hormonal lady, everything anyone does is intensely magnified and borders on earth shattering. The tiniest detail is paid far too much attention, that comment about your hair is too close to the bone and your shorts from last year don’t fit anymore. This week’s big issue? Gig goers. I’ve got a lot of problems with a lot of them and, God help us, they’re big problems.

If you’re tall, I hate you. Okay, bad start. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not breaking any records for Bristol’s tallest man and so it’s hard work for me to see through the reams of sweaty people to catch a glimpse of that “celebrity” up on stage. But what I don’t understand is the blatant disregard of other people in the crowd from the giants of the gig. I’m sure they’ve waited a long time in the queue and they’re just as excited as the rest of us but their desire to tower over everyone else pretty much shits on any chance a lot of us have to see the main act. Damn you biology.

I watched Matt Corby a few days ago and there were two offensively tall guys right at the front of the tiny, levelled venue. The majority of the crowd was 16 year old girls, tiny and bitchy, but basically blind to their beautiful man’s face the whole time. Adding salt to the wound, two hench guys rushed in front of me and my (rather dwarflike) friends during his time on stage, leaving us in their boozy, rowdy shadows. If you can see over someone’s head, and it’s obvious they’re struggling, why not ask if they want to trade places with you? Make a gig friend, tick off your good deed of the day, don’t be a prick. Lovely.

Also, what is this lack of gig etiquette? There’s so much of a focus on getting trashed on £5 pints and staying for the awful after club night afterwards that it takes a lot away from the show itself. I know a lot of it is a waiting game – queuing, waiting for the support, gritting your teeth through the support, waiting for the main act and then, just like that, it’s over. But is there really a need to be treating this like some kind of wild night? Not every show is a David Guetta gig you know?.. Regardless, I find people talking during live music one of the most irritating and disrespectful things.

Having paid £20 to see Ellie Goulding a few months back, I was rotten with illness and attended the gig alone. Lost in a sea of trolls and aggressive homosexuals, I couldn’t really see the stage and didn’t have much of an idea where I was – just praying that her music would get me through this hour and a half and I could crawl home and probably die. Cue two middle aged women, equipped with vodka lime and sodas, loudly discussing their desperate housewives antics over the music. They didn’t even stop to clap or acknowledge any of the songs, just altered their volume when they saw fit. I know they’ve paid for these tickets too but I’d have preferred them to wipe their arses with a twenty and then piss off.

Also, heckling. Choose your moment. Screaming “I LOVE YOU” in the middle of a song – desperate and awkward. Politely saying “can you play something that doesn’t make my vagina so wet” – witty and hilarious. Take note.

Something else that grinds my gears is this sense of competition nowadays. Social media has told us to show our friends and loved ones how much better our lives are than theirs and being at a gig is no different. You’ve checked into the venue on Facebook, tweeted the act saying you’re excited and instagram’d a picture of their setlist. You’re taking endless pictures of you with your friends, recording every song they play and uploading the awful grainy videos to YouTube. You’re singing louder than everyone else, throwing yourself around like some schizophrenic doll but are you actually listening to the music? We all want to be there for christ’s sake, we’ve paid money for our tickets just like you. There’s no need to prove you want to be here the most, and acting like a Grade A dickwad isn’t winning you any votes.

Festivals are worth briefly mentioning here – I don’t think people see them as about the music anymore. They are about sitting in a melting tent, doing drugs and getting fingered until you waltz into a field with 70,000 people and watch a band from afar. Then you go home and tell your friends all about how it changed your life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure loads of people want to hear about that and half of that is the draw. All I’m saying is give me a glamping spot, a nice working toilet and take every single person out of the festival and I would happily pay £300 for that ticket too.

Evidently, there’s a lot of anger in my tummy about this sort of thing. I don’t want to be bullied out of gigs just because so many people choose to act like absolute foetuses, but in the same breath I could do with being a little more relaxed about it all. Even though fan bases are mental (not mentioning any names – beliebers and little monsters) they’re pretty considerate to one another and there’s a lesson to be learned there. Just learn it quietly, without a camera in one hand and a wkd in the other or I will spit in your hair.