Archive for the 'mosh pits' Category

If I’d Wanted to Be Trampled By Elephants, I’d Have Gone on Safari.

Gig Goer(s) of the Week, part 9 – Peter, Bjorn & John at Manchester Academy 2

I think I should start a blog about manners and politeness. Clearly there are a lot of people who don’t know how to behave and who have no respect for themselves or for those around them. As a child the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” was drilled into my head over and over again. I think it’s pretty good advice and I do my best to follow it. Sadly, most people do not.

Last night, despite still having the remnants of a nasty ear infection and despite being utterly exhausted from a sleepless, strange and rather promising week, realising that I could get to the front and actually see the gig, even though we turned up quite late, I dragged The Ledge to the front of the Academy 2. I mean, it’s Peter, Bjorn and John, right? Even though they “rock out” a bit more live, I didn’t expect any more of a hassle than occurred at Leeds Festival, which was to say none at all as the crowd were very gleeful and friendly. Stood to my right was a rather drunken woman who was swaying about, but she kept smiling at me. Her boyfriend looked disinterested in Maps, but you can’t please everybody.

About four songs into the main set this woman, who had been singing loudly (off-key) and rather gleefully, disappeared, presumably to the bar or the toilet. Immediately upon her leaving, this monster with a face that could crack glass pushed her way next to me. She started bouncing about like a mad lady and was, for all intents and purposes, bodyslamming me. Her singing involved lots of “la la las” as she didn’t know the words. I elbowed back a couple of times, wary that she had a full glass of red wine and I was wearing my favourite stripey t-shirt which has a lot of white on it. Eventually she stopped, but she was exhorting one of her friends to come stand with her. I could see the boyfriend who was waiting for the return of the lady who had been next to me lean in and say something. He probably said his girlfriend was coming back – which is fair enough. It wasn’t one of those shows where you snooze you lose. The crowd was not heavily packed in and, well, politeness dictates that if someone can get back then you should let them! This girl responded by berating him for standing with his arms folded and not dancing because apparently it is wrong of someone to simply watch and enjoy, if you aren’t dancing it’s not fair on the band. He ignored this. How can you tell someone else how to enjoy a gig? Eventually the girlfriend did return and they both had to move back because, well, they clearly weren’t the “Biggest Fans” and didn’t deserve to stand at the front.

This is the point where Elephant #2 pushed her way up and I got shoved into the nice girl to my left. There had barely been room for one person when Elephant #1 appeared. There was certainly no room for two people each the size of two people. But these two did not care, I mean they were the Biggest Fans in the room, everyone else could go to hell. I was at this point treated to loud screechy talking through the next 3 or so songs which involved, mostly, drunken screams of “He’s so hot! I am going to snog him! I am going to make him kiss me! He’s so hot!” directed at lead singer Peter, poor guy. Then they started trying to get his attention by shouting these things at him. It became “You’re so hot! I want to lick you all over! Come give me a kiss!” And exclamations of “He’s not listening to me?! He didn’t hear it! If he did he’d come kiss me.” Now, I’m pretty sure he did hear them because at one point he glanced over and actually grimaced. I mean, if he’d fled the stage at the sight of these two I wouldn’t have blamed him. He’d probably have preffered snogging the shirtless fat, sweaty guy stood a couple of rows behind me. I really wanted to tell them it wasn’t a Take That gig and could they please shut up with the talking as the rest of us were trying to watch the band, but I didn’t think it was worth the argument.

That is, it wasn’t worth the argument until the band started playing “Young Folk” and these two started bodyslamming me again, dragging more mates into a small space that couldn’t fit them, screaming “Where’s John?” (playing drums where he had been through the whole gig, you dumb fucktards!) and, even better, tapping me on the shoulder and going “Smile! You look like you’re not having fun.” (No, you asshats, I’m not having fun, I’m being bodyslammed by a pair of elephants who are shouting over the music and hurting my ears.) I glared at them in hopes they’d back off and went back to trying to hear the gig.

Then Elephant #1 lit up a cigarette. Now, I hate smoke. I really really do. When it was legal I tolerated it, despite chronic sinus problems and asthma. I no longer have to tolerate it because it’s illegal to smoke indoors. So I politely leaned over and said “Could you put that out please?” She responded with “No.” Excuse me? I pointed out she wasn’t meant to be smoking and she said “I don’t care. You can’t stop me anyway.” In that split second I had to make the decision between staying put just to piss them off and making more judicious use of my elbows to defend myself or humiliating her by sending security after her. I opted for security. Sure enough, he was in there straight away and took her cigarette. She may have lit up again the moment he left, but everyone in the crowd saw it happen and I think I made my point of – you can’t smoke and yes, I can stop you. Result.

The whole thing however left a sour taste in my mouth and although I could have returned back to where I was as The Ledge is very good at saving my spot, I figured I felt ill, I was tired and I didn’t want a fight with a herd of drunken animals.

The point? Why is it that people feel the need to make a spectacle of themselves in the hope of the band spotting them and branding them the “Biggest Fan?” Everyone there is there to enjoy themselves and everybody enjoys music in a different way, so why force your enjoyment on others, particularly when it spoils a gig for everyone around you? Most of the audience was in fact dancing without bodyslamming anyone or screaming like a slutty hyena over the band. So ladies, it’s time for you to learn some manners, to realise that you are not the world, and to develop some respect for both yourselves and for those around you.

Posted by JustHipper on 3rd November 2007 at 1:01 pm | comments (9)
File under gig etiquette,Gig-goer of the Week,manchester gigs,manners,mosh pits,peter bjorn and john,Rant.

Gig Goer of the Week part 8: The Wedding Present, George Best Anniversary Tour

Last night we took ourselves down to see the Wedding Present on their George Best 20th Anniversary tour. Now, I have a funny relationship with the Weddoes. I have seen them live repeatedly and always enjoy the shows, but I never listen to them on CD. So I’m an anomaly in the crowd in that I do genuinely love them, but I don’t know the song titles (with a few obvious exceptions) and I don’t know the words. Not that this has anything to do with anything though.

I tend to like Wedding Present crowds in that they’re all about 10-15 years older than me, they are rabid fans and even though the mosh pit is pretty intense, it’s also pretty friendly. Last night, when my friend and I decided to risk the barrier, we were taking this fact as a given. As always, however, there’s always one (or 2) idiots…. The girl stood to the left of my friend was so drunk before the first of two opening bands even finished that she could barely stand up and was slopping her pint all over herself. Nonetheless she demanded more and off to the bar her suffering boyfriend went. When she demanded another, while clinging onto him for her life, however, swaying and banging into my friend, he finally refused. A fight ensued and she stormed off. He let her go and we ended up getting eased into where she was standing by the crowd. Her boyfriend didn’t make a move to stop it. When she came back about 20 minutes later, still angry and with another drink (how she got served is beyond me), the poor guy ended up having to move back, from his really great spot, to appease her. Frankly, he should have told her to piss off, as there is no excuse for that level of inebriation that early in the night, and there is no excuse for letting your inability to know your limits ruin other people’s night. I can’t imagine she lasted more than 2 songs into the main event.

Naturally, the moment they moved a group of big guys replaced her. We were a bit worried, although I figured they weren’t jostling, so they’d probably be fine, just enthusiastic. And then their single female friend turned up with a bag slung across her front that I swear must have contained a small child it was so large. On top of this monstrosity she’d put her jacket because gosh she couldn’t affect her outfit by tying it around her waist. As The Ledge had abandoned us to chat to some other friends who were a bit farther back, we had no protection between our backs and heads and the world’s largest handbag. The thing is, moshing bodies aren’t so bad. People on the whole don’t want to batter you in a pit and most of the pushing is down to people landing funny and the dancing, not deliberate attempts to injure or remove you. But when you wear a bag while jumping up and down the bag flies upwards and outwards and pretty much batters anyone nearby in a way you falling against them slightly does not. So there we were as the band came on being beaten with a handbag that actually weighed more than I do. Luckily for us, the other physics rule governing handbags in a mosh pit was in our favour – bag on string gets caught between moving bodies and inevitably it goes in one direction while you go in another. So she didn’t last long.

This is where the fun really started though as the band launched into the start-to-finish delivery of George Best: we were suddenly swamped by men, much bigger than us, about as enthusiastic as a crowd gets, and all jumping up and down with gusto. Now, there’s nothing quite like the experience of being in a friendly pit and this was no exception. Hands came round us at the barrier as people tried to stay afloat, apologies and promises to make sure we didn’t fall, giants tapping me on the head to tell me how “hot” the bassist is, blokes screaming the words and punching the air. It hurt like hell but the number of people around me (and it was changing rapidly as everyone fell about) who kept trying to keep me on my feet is one of the things that makes the bad people and idiots at gigs stand out so much. The press during “Kennedy” at the end was possibly the most physically painful thing I’ve ever experienced at a gig (and I can feel it today as I type this, it feels like I’ve been kicked in the chest), but someone had hold of me the whole time, and after the show everybody around us was apologising for pushing and asking if we were ok, which makes a huge difference in the atmosphere and the quality of the whole night. When you’re in a crush by the barrier watching something that unites everybody in the room, why would you be a selfish fucktard when you can spread the good atmosphere by being friendly, aware of others, and part of what’s going on around you, rather than being there in spite of it?

It only takes a little consideration, some kindness to your gig neighbours and the realisation that everybody is there for the same thing to make the difference between a good gig and a bad one, and sets a really good fanbase apart from, well, a fanbase that no band deserves.