My Top 5 Gig Gripes
I love live music and gigs, and have always had that sense of wanting to see a band or musician play their songs in a live setting to see how much other people as well as me might enjoy the songs in hand. Unfortunately with the greatness that a gig can provide, there are also various things that really do nark me off and bug me. These then are my top five gig gripes, and they're all about the gig itself - I could rant on for ages about the extortionate ticket fees, the ticket resale companies ripping fans off (Getmein as owned by Ticketmaster for example) and such like, but I'm sure that's a whole article waiting to happen in future. Here goes:
1 - People talking whilst the acts are performing
This really goes get my goat most of all. I do tend to go to quite a few acoustic gigs and by their very nature they're intimate quiet affairs so you can hear the emotion and beauty of the band or artist and their acoustic instruments playing. This is not therefore an excuse for you to extend your conversation down the pub and completely disrespect the performance, especially when others like me have actually paid the admission fee to listen to what the songs are, and enjoy them. There always also seems to be a complete arrogance about some of these people too, sort of: "I paid my money to get in, I can do what I like". Actually, no you can't.
It's also the case that some artists have spoken up recently. Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff recently stated that the band's acoustic gig in London was spoilt by these sort of people, and I can fully imagine from his point of view that it spoils it for the band, not just the fans who have come to listen. I would much rather see a band in a different venue where people respect the artist rather than at a venue where everyone seems to still think they're down the pub, annoying the hell out of me. Please, if you're coming along, respect the artist - sing along to the songs, no problem, but don't just talk with really loud voices and extended laughs and drown out the beauty of the music being played. If you do want to do that, be prepared for death like stares from me and many others who feel this way.
2 - iPad/iPhone Man
This is particularly annoying if you're not the tallest person as well. Over the last few years it seems that a number of people want to film gigs and songs from it on their smart phones, or attempt to take a picture as well. This of course detracts from the enjoyment of the gig as people end up looking at their phones instead of the live performance, but also in an attempt to capture the moment the phones are held above the head, blocking the view of those stood behind.
Now of course there's also "iPad Man" as well who does the same thing but holds up the iPad at an even higher height in an attempt to capture the moment. The view is even more blocked due to the screen size as well, so if you're smaller, you have even less of a view than you do before. And where are they? In front of me! It's simply not on. I'm sure I've not been the only one who has wanted to give a gentle hint that they're spoiling the gig for others, and again coupled with the above there's that same level of arrogance too. Security should be more strict and throw them out - it'll be the only sure fire way to stop this getting worse.
3 - Cheering at the false ending
We all may have fallen foul of this, but at some gigs this really does nark me off. The band plays a song, it comes to a false ending where they pause, the crowd cheers - wrong! And then the band plays the remainder with some people looking rather sheepish at actually clapping at the wrong moment, and realising that maybe they're not such a fan of the band as they thought that they might have been. Naturally a bit of research and playing songs beforehand pays dividends.
This was for me most evident when my friend Dan and I would see Skunk Anansie. Their single "Charity" off their debut album "Paranoid and Sunburst" has such a false ending, and whenever it came to that point we'd both stand there ready for the final chorus, whilst those around us would be cheering on loudly. Oh, how we've then smiled as they carry on and all of a sudden the cheers turn to "oh bugger, should have waited." There is maybe a level of oneupmanship here as a fan and all, but surely you must have liked the music enough to come, right?
4 - Clapping along to songs
Some of the bands are just as bad for encouraging this to be honest. If I am at a gig I am enjoying the music, maybe singing along with others to some of the favourite songs to up the atmosphere and all that, but what I don't want to see is having to be encouraged by bands to clap along to slow parts of a song or just attempt to get the atmosphere up. It's then argubaly even worse when you are all cool and don't clap along and then get looks from others thinking that you're miserable.
Actually, I'm not, I'm just listening intently to the music and don't need some form of slow hand clap to be able to enjoy myself. I also think too that if some bands get people clapping along once, they'll do it again. And again. And again. Then it becomes almost de rigeur for every song, and that's completely not to the point. Save the clapping and applause for when a song played live sounds rather brilliant and appreciate it that way instead, that way it's much better for all concerned.
5 - Queueing outside a venue hours before the gig starts
Although not a new phenomenon, this over the last few years seems to have increased significantly, and on mornings of gigs at 9am I've gone past a venue and seen a crowd already outside queueing. I can understand it for a standing gig where you want to be at the front to be as close as you can to your idol(s), but surely at some point you're going to need a drink, need a wee etc? Also if it's a metal gig, would you really want to be at the front and have a shed load of people in the mosh pit bashing you around aginst the barrier at the front, especially if you're emo kid or mini mosher?
What I don't get though is this sort of queuing when the venue is an all seated one, and everyone has been reserved seats. Yet they still queue outside as if someone's going to take their precious front row seat off them. Er.. no, that's what staff inside the venue are for, to sort all that out. Also there's sometimes a mass of tents too, which then have to be unfolded and/or disposed of once the doors open, and that's when you know some people are taking the whole issue of fandom just that little bit too seriously.