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Monday, May 23, 2011

And It's Time For: Showgoing Etiquette, Round 8,976,234!

Posted by on Mon, May 23, 2011 at 9:38 AM

From the mailbag (Sic throughout):

Now, I've been going to shows of all sorts for many years and have never been so rudely interrupted from my drunk/stoned enjoyment of some killer tunes like I was at Femi Kuti at Neumos. The band is in full swing, crazy African cats killing it onstage and I feel a fucking tap on my shoulder and you whispered in my ear if I could "please move over a few inches"? Who the fuck are you? I’ve been in this spot all fucking night except for trips to lower the level of PBR in my bladder! It’s not like I'm fucking seven feet tall bro, and frankly if your fucking girlfriend can’t see, she needs to fucking scooch her ass over six inches if she wants a better look. I've been behind tall dudes before, my wife has been behind tall dudes before, my best friend has been behind tall dudes before - and you know what? WE MOVE THE FUCK OVER! This is directed to all three of you who asked me to move over that night. When did this start happening at shows? Learn some fucking etiquette.

- Anonymous

 

Comments (39) RSS

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Brody 1
This is why shows and concerts aren't worth it, even at free.
Posted by Brody on May 23, 2011 at 9:57 AM · Report this
2
Except you're not the only person shorter people need to see past. If you'd actually been crushed in the crowds, trying to get even a partial view of the stage you'd know that sometimes moving doesn't work. You shift 6 inches to the right, and a person 2 rows ahead of you is in the way; 6 inches to the left, and you may as well be at the back of the line to a women's restroom considering how many people are in front of you. On the other hand, where you are there is only one person (slightly) in your way, who could shift 6 inches without losing sight of the show (height is a wonderful thing). There is nothing wrong with asking them to shift. Sometimes they can, sometimes they can't.

Plus it has the added bonus of identifying the assholes you should simply avoid because they are full of themselves and have no consideration for other people.
Posted by Ead on May 23, 2011 at 10:06 AM · Report this
chemambru 3
This happened to me sitting in the palau de musica theater in Barcelona, though the situation was slightly different because we were in ticket assigned seats. A lady a few rows behind and above wanted me to know that she couldn't see the stage. What she expected me to do about that I do not know. Remove the top two inches of my skull perhaps? Jesus christ...
Posted by chemambru on May 23, 2011 at 10:07 AM · Report this
rtm 4
Another example of bad show manners. I was at the Keith Bartoloni benefit at the Tractor on Friday. During the Cops set, a dude had his shirt off and was dancing at the front of the stage. Not really starting a pit or anything. Some cute woman 6 feet away was apparently grossed out and had Tractor staff make him put his shirt on.

Jesus christ, the guy was sweaty but not gross. It was the first nice day of the year. It was the FUCKING COPS. Get over your cute sundressed self and let the fucker dance. I was a big burly guy creating a man wall so the occasional bit of moshing didn't crush the delicate flowers on the other side of me. But fuck. Can't handle seeing a sweaty guy dance? Don't stand at the front of the stage during a Cops show.
Posted by rtm on May 23, 2011 at 10:10 AM · Report this
EricD 5
@1 - Your comment makes me sad. I've been to plenty of shows and had a wonderful time even if I couldn't see. I think you should focus a bit more on the music and less on the visuals(unless it's a show with tons of visuals like DJ Shadow or Major Lazer).
Posted by EricD http://www.bfhoodrich.com on May 23, 2011 at 10:25 AM · Report this
6
Last year at the XX show at Showbox SoDo, some chick behind me actually put her hand on my hip and tried to press me out of her way. Not an actual shove, but kind of a constant lean in to push me to the side (and it was wall to wall bodies, to she was pressing me into another person). When I realized that, yes, some asshole stranger was putting her hands on me I turned around and told her to quit it. She shrugged her shoulders and said "but you're so tall" and curled into her boyfriend, the way some girls do. I replied "you're right" and turned back around. Honestly!

I'm actually pretty nice to the shorter ladies at shows, and have often let someone in front of me if they're like 5'2" - but that passive agressive crap does not work. On what planet does anyone think manhanding a stranger is going to make them give a shit that you're vertically challenged?
Posted by genevieve on May 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM · Report this
cosby 7
Sweaty guy without a shirt = really bad look. When did personal rights overthrow common decency? You are at a bar, not a spa.
Posted by cosby http://www.myspace.com/cosbyshownights on May 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Grrr 8
I was at the most recent Broken Social Scene show at The Paramount when there was this taller bro-lookin' dude who kept flailing his arms wildly, not noticing how the place was packed shoulder-to-shoulder. He kept doing his Elaine Benes dance not caring if he hit people. I glared at him for a bit, he probably noticed and got conscious about it for a minute, apologized to me, then went about flailing his arms again. Still not sure why someone would apologize for something and then carry on with what he's been doing soon after. Some people don't know how to conduct themselves at shows.
Posted by Grrr on May 23, 2011 at 10:32 AM · Report this
Hernandez 9
It's ultimately your responsiblity to find the best vantage to see the show, if it matters to you that much. That may mean that you have to park in a good spot in front of the stage well before the band starts. Being considerate is great (sorry tall guys, you need to stand toward the back), but good shows with good bands get very crowded, and you can't expect everyone else to accommodate requests like that - they're trying to get the best view they can too!
Posted by Hernandez http://hernandezlist.blogspot.com on May 23, 2011 at 10:33 AM · Report this
10
As a tall person, I've had to get over my subconscious guilt about blocking someone's view- because ultimately, no matter where I stand I'll always be blocking someone's view... I just have to consign myself to the fact that I'll never get within 100 feet of the stage.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on May 23, 2011 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 11
The reason this happened and that you're upset is because... uh, there's really no such thing as "showgoing etiquette." Every crowd develops their own code of behavior, based on the bands, the venue, the availability of alcohol/ease of use of drugs, indoor v outdoor, etc. There is no over-arching etiquette that applies to every show. Even basic rules like "don't be an asshole" have no value, because everyone has a different definition of what an 'asshole' is. Most of the time, you just have to stand up for yourself and not look to grand rules like 'etiquette' to protect you.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on May 23, 2011 at 10:58 AM · Report this
Rotten666 12
Yeah, I learned a looooooooong time ago that the best spot at a show is against the wall as far from the stage as possible. No one gets in my space.
Posted by Rotten666 on May 23, 2011 at 11:11 AM · Report this
schmacky 13
I'm on the short side, and I've always considered it a personal responsibility to get the best sight line I can. It's actually a point of pride for me to do the necessary calculations and planning to get a middle-ish spot with good sound and in a position to see the lead singer/performer (and if I'm lucky maybe one of the guitarists). I would never, ever ask someone to move. If they've managed to get in front of me, it's my fault for leaving enough space. And if they were there already, well, THEY WERE THERE ALREADY.

Sometimes it doesn't work out and I have to compromise, taking a spot off to the side or whatever. Occasionally there are just too many tall people, and yeah, that's annoying. But life isn't always fair, you know? And anyway, that's usually not the problem; it's almost always because the crowd is psyched and too many people just wanted it more. They earned it, you see.

Buying a ticket does not guarantee you a perfect view. You aren't the most important person in the room, and we aren't all obligated to clear a path simply because you're short, or you needed to go take a piss, or get a drink, or go outside to smoke a fucking cigarette. Leave your inflated sense of entitlement at home.

Jesus.
Posted by schmacky on May 23, 2011 at 11:11 AM · Report this
schmacky 14
Also, what @11 said.
Posted by schmacky on May 23, 2011 at 11:12 AM · Report this
15
Hernandez, are you serious that tall people need to stand in the back? I have mediocre eye sight and I'm pretty darn tall. The only place I won't obstruct someones view is against the wall where I can hardly see anything, even with glasses. So even though I pay the same and get there earlier, my height disqualifies me from seeing the show in comparison to a short person? That makes no F-ing sense. If it bothers you so much; get there earlier, wear some raised shoes, move to a new spot, or buy a periscope. Don't make me responsible for your lack of sight and I won't make you responsible for mine.
Posted by Jeffmks on May 23, 2011 at 11:39 AM · Report this
starsandgarters 16
Conversely, how fucking hard would it be to move over six inches? Not like it's unreasonable. Be GGG, show-goer.
Posted by starsandgarters on May 23, 2011 at 11:40 AM · Report this
17
Three fucking times at Blonde Redhead in November. Move your own fucking ass if you can't see.
Posted by greenstate on May 23, 2011 at 11:58 AM · Report this
More, I Say! 18
Shortie frequent concert goer, here.

I always manage to find a spot that suits my needs, despite that I'd rather spend the pre-show hours getting suitably stoned before I need to head to the venue.

Hey, when I was in middle school I used to line up an hour before doors to get the best spot, not like ya can't do that if it's that important to you.

That said, at least they asked nicely and politely for you to please move about six inches. Surely, wishful thinking on their part, but at least it wasn't aggressive douchebaggery.
Posted by More, I Say! on May 23, 2011 at 12:03 PM · Report this
19
As a super short girl (under 5 ft), I am always so happy when someone is kind enough to move a couple of inches for me to see between the crack of elbows in the crowd. It does not usually negatively impact them and I keep a look out to make sure that is the case. Agreed @11 too - there is no standard show etiquette. People just need to be fucking sweet to each other and have a good time.
Posted by lilt on May 23, 2011 at 12:04 PM · Report this
20
The same state liquor laws that prevent you from having a beer at a strip club also prevent stupid sweaty boys from dancing topless at rock shows. Plus he was gross.
Posted by Tractor Tavern on May 23, 2011 at 12:17 PM · Report this
seandr 21
Man, has shit changed since I went to rock shows. I remember a Crash Worship show at The Weathered Wall in which HALF THE CROWD, including many women, were sweaty and topless and moshing about 20 minutes into it. Band members would dance through the audience pouring jugs of wine into people's mouths and all over their bodies. It was an awesome fucking mess.

Can't see that happening these days. Way to suck ass, Generation Purell.
Posted by seandr on May 23, 2011 at 12:36 PM · Report this
22
I was at a show recently, my boyfriend and I showed up pretty early to get up close. After the opening artist had already played, the inevitable trickle of people who try to squeeze through to the front arrived. Among them were a girl and her boyfriend who tried to shove their way between us - BF and I linked arms and held our ground along with the people to the sides of us. Then the couple got all rude and demanded to be let through because she was short and couldn't see. WTF? Get here earlier, assholes. Then they stood behind us loudly complaining and making passive aggressive comments to our backs for about ten minutes before they finally gave up and left, presumably to be dicks to someone else.

The audacity was pretty amazing. There are always opportunists who get there late and try to slink up to the front, but to actually believe you have the right to be let through just because you're short: fuck off.
Posted by JenV on May 23, 2011 at 12:43 PM · Report this
23
Oh, and boyfriend and I are both about 5'9". Not short by any means, but from the griping you'd have thought we were fucking Amazonian giants.
Posted by JenV on May 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM · Report this
24
@21 - I miss Crash Worship. Do they still exist? Their shows were epic.

@22 - totally. it's not just short people who arrive early for the perfect spot. if I want to be close to the stage with great sightlines, I get my ass there early and scope out the spot. Now that I'm (ahem) older, I tend to skip the opening band, let the kids have the front and I take what I get toward the back. But I still don't think someone "deserves" to be closer based on their height.

If there's one piece of height-related etiquette I can latch on to, it's the rule against wearing a hat or hairstyle that adds inches to your height and serves no purpose but to block sightlines.
Posted by genevieve on May 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM · Report this
25
I'm inclined to agree about topless dancing, I mean jesus, put your fucking shirt back on. I came to see a show, not to be rubbed up on by some sweaty, shirtless dude. I get that you're hot and that's a drag, but I don't see why that should force me to wear you sweat home.

As for the stage positioning/sight line argument. I firmly believe it's first come, first serve. As a tall fellow, I'm aware that I occasionally block the view of shorter folks, but that has to be balanced by the fact that I got there early and listened to a couple of opening bands in order to secure that spot. There was nothing inherently stopping you from pulling the same maneuver. I don't see anything wrong with you asking me politely to move a little, provided you're prepared for the possibility that I'll say no. If I got there early and secured the primo position and I choose to move, even a little for you, it's a courtesy, not an obligation.

Additionally, if you're particular about where you stand, but unwilling or unable to get there early enough to secure that spot, consider some sort of quid pro quo arrangement. I'm betting quite a few folks would be willing to swap spots with you in exchange for a drink.
Posted by jklash on May 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM · Report this
26
I'm inclined to agree about topless dancing, I mean jesus, put your fucking shirt back on. I came to see a show, not to be rubbed up on by some sweaty, shirtless dude. I get that you're hot and that's a drag, but I don't see why that should force me to wear your sweat home.

As for the stage positioning/sight line argument. I firmly believe it's first come, first serve. As a tall fellow, I'm aware that I occasionally block the view of shorter folks, but that has to be balanced by the fact that I got there early and listened to a couple of opening bands in order to secure that spot. There was nothing inherently stopping you from pulling the same maneuver. I don't see anything wrong with you asking me politely to move a little, provided you're prepared for the possibility that I'll say no. If I got there early and secured the primo position and if I choose to move, even a little for you, it's a courtesy, not an obligation. If I sense any sort of entitlement accompanying the request, my answer will undoubtedly be no dice.

Additionally, if you're particular about where you stand, but unwilling or unable to get there early enough to secure that spot, consider some sort of quid pro quo arrangement. I'm betting quite a few folks would be willing to swap spots with you in exchange for a drink.
Posted by jklash on May 23, 2011 at 1:01 PM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 27
i know i'm fidna derail this thread..so ?... what i'm finding ( less and less..because i go to shows less and less..) extraordinarily annoying is all the god damn picture taking/ texting/yelling into whatever stupid phone you can't keep in yer panties for a couple of hours..and especially from the groups of folks who just shoved passed me to get a better sight line. i'm 5'4 and ..ahem.. big boneded, been that way for decades..i generally know how to pick a spot. i don't get so annoyed when the aformentioned tall dude in the house pushes past me to stand in front of me - yes it happens a LOT.. i deal with it. cool. live shows should be fluid organic things and even when packed, it's reasonable to expect a bit of shifting around.. but the desperate need to document every move, lighting change , vying for an artist's attention, all the while standing motionless..it completely stymies me. but that's progress ..i guess
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on May 23, 2011 at 1:09 PM · Report this
28
Someone asking, with a "please", for you to move is really not so much to be pissed about. Were you shoved? Threatened? Told to get yr. ass out of their way? No? Well, seems to me you had two options: you could have said "I'm sorry, but I really can't scoot over" or "sure". Either one would have been fine. Maybe you should just watch concert dvd's in your own home...
Posted by pooponyrtoes on May 23, 2011 at 1:48 PM · Report this
29
Fuck, dance a little and this won't be an issue! I hate shows where people just stand there and stare.
Posted by Southside Kelly on May 23, 2011 at 1:48 PM · Report this
tjc 30
As a couple others have said, nothing wrong with ASKING, but be prepared for the answer to be "sorry, no." It's entirely possible that (in some circumstances) there's (literally) room for compromise.
Posted by tjc on May 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM · Report this
31
The only thing that will actually bug me at a show is people talking or singing along if it's a quiet show. I paid to hear the artist, not you.

@ 29 - TOTALLY!
Posted by cb on May 23, 2011 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Hernandez 32
@15 - I'm of average height and I have no problem moving around to get the best view, but it does bug me when some 6'-6" dude plants himself right in front of a petite woman or something like that, especially at a really crowded show where it's tougher for that person to move to a better spot. I don't think it's mandatory, I just think it's being considerate of your fellow concert-goers. And like I said in my previous comment, it's ultimately up to individuals to find the best vantage point for themselves.
Posted by Hernandez http://hernandezlist.blogspot.com on May 23, 2011 at 2:30 PM · Report this
Simone 33
Here's my 2 cents. If you go to a show and it is expected to be crowded, expect to have your "personal space" violated. I was photographing the Blonde Redhead show in November and was a little close to some dudes when one of them told be to get out of their space or something. Well, I saw them later getting kicked out for fighting. Suckers.

If you can't deal with having no personal space then don't be at the fraking front. I'm thinking that because I was a guy they didn't like it and if I was a girl they probably wouldn't have cared.

I'm all for getting to a place early and securing a spot before everyone else.
Posted by Simone on May 23, 2011 at 4:43 PM · Report this
34
A couple years ago on a trip to England, I got the chance to see Andy Scott's Sweet perform. Because I got a bit lost getting to the venue I ended up behind a rather tall fellow concertgoer. As I'm 5'3" and my friend is only 5' I politely asked the fellow if he would mind letting us stand in front of him so that we could see (and videotape the show for the fan page). He was completely nice about it, and we ended up having a beer and chatting for about an hour after the show. Turns out he was a regular at that venue and had a plethora of wonderful stories about the concerts he'd attended in the past. A wonderful evening was had by all!
Posted by daveslady57 on May 23, 2011 at 5:18 PM · Report this
35
@27: Right on analysis! The larger problem is a mix (sometime very interesting and annoying mixes appear) lack of common sense, decency, purpose and manners. Why shell out $10-20 if yapping (into a phone or into the ear of your beloved) is all that one intends to do? Seattle especially is a weird music scene. Most Rock musicians that i talked to acknowledge this and provide that reason for a lack luster performance - otherwise these bands put up very very good shows. Anyway...like some other people have pointed out here, i don't go for many shows anymore. To come to think of it, i actually invest that money into buying records.
Posted by inside-outside on May 23, 2011 at 6:00 PM · Report this
rtm 36
@20 - if them's the rules, them's the rules. You, as "Tractor Tavern" need to follow the rules when a violation is pointed out.

My problem is with the lovely fashionista who complained about him. It just rankles me that anyone would find complaining about dancing acceptable. The dude was *very* sweaty. But he was cute, and polite, and having fun. It wasn't some decrepit old water buffalo like me sliming people.

And yes, when someone is rude, when it's crowded, its ok to complain. Christ. There are certain manners you observe in a pit as well - and back in the day I'd take part in policing a pit, and keeping the out of their head guys in the pit and away from the audience surrounding it.

Maybe I'm just pissed that Ballard has become precious, and some fashion plate can call the shots at a Cops show. Try pulling that shit in Georgetown sometime, sweetheart.

Posted by rtm on May 23, 2011 at 8:19 PM · Report this
37
36 - ooooooh what would happen in georgetown?
Posted by xzx on May 23, 2011 at 11:20 PM · Report this
cosby 38
@37:
In Georgetown, cops are steampunks and they haul you off in their imaginary steam powered airships.
Posted by cosby http://www.myspace.com/cosbyshownights on May 24, 2011 at 8:57 AM · Report this
Explorer 39
I'm over 6' and I try to be conscious about my height and how my position can make or break a sightline for people around me. But sometimes there's not much I can do about it.

Frequently I can see other good sightlines around me for shorter people, and sometimes I will suggest to a friend or even a stranger that they re-position themselves for a better view. They always look at me like 'what the fuck are you talking about' until I can actually get them to move, and then they see the light (and the stage and the band and the etc.)
Posted by Explorer on May 26, 2011 at 11:01 AM · Report this

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