You can meet some genuinely fantastic people at concerts and live shows. I have on occasion. But having been to a fair number of concerts now, I’ve noticed certain, um, disruptive characters that frequently seem to appear. They range from mere off-puts to self-centred fools who threaten to ruin the whole show.
This is just for fun*, but I’d be interested to know if you’ve spotted any of these characters yourself. Tweet me @dk33per or leave a comment below.
The too-tall guy
It shouldn’t be too-tall guy’s fault he’s grown to a gargantuan height that obscures your optimum viewing level. But, you know what? It is. Especially when he makes no attempt to consider the safety of the shoulder/elbow-height patrons beside him, as his long, flailing arms threaten to do damage with every bass drop. You’ll be lucky to see half the show, but at least too-tall guy’s head makes a good barrier between you and incoming beverage-based projectiles.
The late arriving friends of the band who aren’t VIP enough for the VIP area, but feel they own the space anyway
Picture it: you’ve waited months for this show. Determined to get as close to your idol(s) as possible, you’ve arrived super-early, and a front-row view beckons. You patiently wait through a mediocre DJ set. The moment is almost here. Then, you feel yourself being shoved sideways, as a posse of self-important, shabbily-dressed figures press their way through the crowd to take up position right on your patch. Now shoved further away from the stage, you’ve every right to feel angry at the inconsiderate rabble beside you. Wait. They’re friends of the drummer? There they are now, posing for a selfie in your prime place. What utter cheek. Who gives a crowning-crap if they know the drummer. They’re too cheap and/or unimportant for the VIP area, so they thought they’d push in on your patiently earned space. Slags, scumbags, scuz buckets!
The obnoxious girlfriend
Sometimes dazzlingly dressed, sometimes barely dressed at all. Either way, she’s a real doom-bringer for those immediately beside and behind her. The obnoxiously girlfriend loves being a girly-girl, loves whipping out her smartphone to take selfies, loves flailing her arms, elbows and hair around like she’s the only person who matters. And she doesn’t give a crap if you end up being a casualty of her behaviour. Puny or hench, being hit in the face by a hand decorated with skin-tearing jewellery hurts. Occasionally hoisted aloft by her man (or a nearby tall guy) to divert more attention away from the music with pathetic bouts of upper-body shaking and/or flashing. Not so much femme, but consistently fatale. Avoid.
Usually found in couples or groups. During the wait for the headliner, these brazen souls think it’s a good idea to cotch (sit, in this case) on the ground, bags, coats, beers and all, as if they’re having an effing picnic. As the venue continues to fill up, they’re still sitting down. And, yep, they’re obstructing you and others. But the moment they get stepped on or kicked as peeps jostle for space, drinks and the loo, they wanna raise Hell. Open-air venues (Somerset House) are one thing, the Roundhouse is quite another. It’s not Glastonbury or Lovebox, dummies. Stand up like sensible people, or buy seated tickets, innit?
Like the name suggests, the drinker loves a drink. He/she consumes three or four whole pints during the pre-show build up alone. And they just keep going. Frequently found somewhere between the toilet and the bar. Occasionally slurring words off-key to the music, but always more interested in rinsing their next bottle or getting up in your face for no good reason. You’ll pray the venue has a ‘no glass’ policy and judicious security, should things kick off.
Similar to the drinker in that their primary priority is to get as f*cked up as they can before the venue curfew brings this portion of their night to a close (don’t bother wonder how they got in looking so faded. Concert security is sh*t). Stench and self-destructiveness will vary depending on their poison. Common encounters with the druggie include being on the receiving end of vacant zombie stares, zealous affection and out of control panic. Still, that bets being barged repeatedly in the ribs, as the giddy junkie gets lost in their euphoric haze, while their cloud of marijuana smoke slowly chokes you.
The full-of-himself boyfriend
Usually accompanied by, and clinging to, the obnoxious girlfriend (see above). The full-of-himself boyfriend bought the tickets, but doesn’t know the music. He’s just here to please his shnookums, whisper sour nothings in her ear every two minutes and pose for bad selfies. Expect to receive an angry, don’t-mess-with-me look when his girl backs into you often enough for you to have to gently press her body away from yours. Or whenever he deems that you’re hovering too close to him and his pampered porcupine, when you are in fact straining to peep pass the walking excuses for cuttlefish who keep obstructing your view. Have you ever administered a near-fatal karate chop to a man’s neck? No. Oh, believe me, you’ll be tempted.
The lazy cameraperson
Speaking of selfies: the lazy cameraperson is the owner of a top-quality smartphone – occasionally smashed, but otherwise operational. Still, they haven’t grasped that concert performances, actually, all performances period, are best taken in widescreen – not portrait. They proceed to take all their video and photos one-handed with their other hand clasping a drink that never seems to be finished. An isolated Instagramer might not be so bad. Find yourself behind three or more of these less-than-amateur documentary makers and you may as well watch their sh*t reruns on Facebook.
The wannabe photographer
Young, hip-looking and with a friend or two in tow. The wannabe photographer is the owner of an expensive DSLR, often from mummy and daddy (along with their brand-new Ford Focus, which arrived for their birthday). Look, see. There it is. They thrust the camera up into the air every now and then to get a snap or two on Auto, blinding you with the flash as they do, while yammering away like a horny YouTube vlogger with confessionals to last all night. Don’t bother to suggest they adjust the ISO and shutter speed – they know what they’re doing. There, see. They’ll be pulling in cheques for David Bailey-esque shoots in no time. As for you, you may wish to bring sunglasses next time.
The know-it-all heckler
And, finally, we have the know-it-all heckler, who brings a whole new meaning to LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Shut Up and Play the Hits‘. This loud commenter is often a super-fan, has seen the relevant band perform more than once, and is under the delusion that everyone present – the band included – is waiting to hear their voice. They’ll shout unhelpful comments two-songs in to a 90-minute set (“Play your new songs!”), they’ll boast their supposed fandom (“Come on, Damon! You played bett’r when I saw you at Glasto!”), and they’ll voice casual derision when they don’t get to hear their favourites during the encore (“What ya playing this for?”). This inconsiderate character, who often enjoys a drink, ruins live concerts for all within ear shot, and sullies any official audio or visual recordings.
In the words of Chris O’Dowd’s Roy from The IT Crowd: “What a bunch of bastards”.
* All of these characters are based on real encounters – more than one in some cases – I’ve had during my concert-going trips to date. Am I stereotyping? Of course. But in case you haven’t noticed, this is a satirical piece.