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A Basic Guide To Gig Etiquette

After the Kitty Pryde/Danny Brown incident earlier this week, the world needs a guide on how to have fun at a show without being a dick.
Ryan Bassil
London, GB
May 10, 2013, 10:00am

Earlier this week, Kitty Pryde took to the stage of the Irving Plaza and was greeted by a throng of over-stimulated vacuous teens chanting “SUCK HIS DICK, SUCK HIS DICK”. They were responding to Kitty Pryde's article, for this very site in which she defended Danny Brown and likened him, in her own words, to a victim of "sexual assault".

Regardless of "The Thing", I don’t know about everybody else, but when I greet females, the incantation of demanded fellatio is something that barely sits within the realm of Steve Stifler anecdotes, let alone first time introductions.

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How have we let it get to this point?

It was an introduction that shouldn’t have been served up by anyone, even if anyone means a crowd of misogynistic teens who probably went home to wank their sense of self-bravado off into Supreme branded synthetics.

The incident wasn’t Danny Brown’s fault, and is firmly pointed in the direction of the gig goer. Sure, going to a show nowadays doesn’t mean attending the reefer smoke filled shows of cultural importance that our parents led us to believe existed, and instead are more in line with blowing £27.50 on a ticket (plus booking fee!) and spending half an hour breathing in the stench of someone else’s armpit. But the rise in price and loss of comfort doesn’t mean we all have to act with the air of rudeness otherwise encompassed by a Veet sheeted frat antagonist or a salariat suburban rush hour type who channels his microwave and Metropolitan line lifestyle into malignant ignorance for the masses.

Instead, we need a new set of rules. A unifying global boiler plate for which the attendance of gig goers will use as a baseline for their tumultuous culture trips, helping them to be rational people, and to avoid being a dickhead. Since this is the internet, I’m young, and it’s my job to write about things, I’ve gone and created that template for y’all. Here it is.

Pre-Show

Unless you’re completely straight edge, you’re going to want to lubricate your loins with a little bit of liquid courage prior to the show starting. However, If you’ve spent the past three years “growing up” at university, where the only perk is cheap alcohol, then the price of booze at gigs is enough to send you into a pre-graduation flirt with debt-ridden suicide. The real world is expensive, but the corporate sponsored gigging world is even more costly. Do yourself a favour and pick up a two litre bottle of Strongbow from the Costcutter around the corner. Just because you’re old enough to attend gigs without your Dad, doesn’t mean you’re above off license 2-for-1 deals. Sure, you won’t be living the rock’n’roll dream of cradling four over-flowing pint glasses as you wormhole through crowds of disingenuous punters, but you’ll comfortably waltz into the venue with a wallet full of cash to spunk on post-gig comedown weed or a trip to Chicken Cottage.

If, however, you’re too stupid/proud/old to make a saving by boozing before the show in the playground around the corner, then the bar is probably where you’ll spend the support bands set. It’s a shame, because this place is a total fucking hassle. You’ll queue up. You’ll wait for fucking ever. You’ll get sandwiched between two burly lads. You’ll be too polite or too English to moan at them for pushing in front. You’ll get progressively angry and start to develop a vendetta against the bar maid who seems intent on serving everyone in their COMMES DES FUCKDOWN beanies before you. Finally, you’ll spend two hours wages on two brews. Painfully thinking about the dent that your alcohol thirst has left in next week’s gak budget, you’ll down them both with the intensity of someone who hates inflation. You’ll trawl back through the crowd, rushing to the bathroom to go for a piss. And you’ll repeat, spending half your night in a camaraderie carousel between the bar and the bathroom. Sounds like fun, right?

Unless you like spending half your night in the toilet (and if you do, and you’re not doing it for the purpose of ‘girl chats’, why?) then it’s probably not going to be any fun at all. Thankfully, if you’re attending a gig then it’s likely that you’ll have brought a friend or two along for company. If so, good work, you’re not a terrible person! Some people, however, choose to bring their significant others to shows. I understand that sometimes there’s a need to break out of the continuum of Ben & Jerry and Gossip Girl catch-up duvet dens and sometimes that break can be found in the solace of a FIDLAR show and that’s fine. Lather yourself in lager, forget that you hate each other and head down to Koko. But if you’re going to get annoyed when your girlfriend gets accidently smacked in the face while you try to forge a perimeter around her then you should probably reconsider the logistics of a post-cheating incident date-pology being located in the front row of a punk show.

If accompanying your other half to their favourite show is a pre-requisite to them accepting your apology for “accidently” fingering a girl in the corner of Alibi and otherwise non negotiable, then fine. But, please, remember PDA rules (That’s personal displays of affection, folks!). Because, unlike George Michael’s fashion choices in the video for “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” PDA needs to be banned. If you’re George, then you could probably get away with sucking a girl’s face in the centre of XOYO because you’re marinaded in sex appeal. But, George wouldn’t do that, because he likes men. And you shouldn’t do that, because you’re not George. The important thing to remember here is: If you’re not George, then you should be go-go-going at it at home.

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During The Show

So, you’ve curbed your heavy weed intake and bailed on last nights office drinks in order to comfortably slot the first London gig from a hyped new band from Sheffield into your calendar. You probably love them more than you love your unborn grandchildren. So, show it! I’m not saying that you need to punch a ticket tout in the face with your glowing hand of fandom, but for too long now the patrons of London’s venues have attended shows with the exhilaration of a bored salariat queuing at the post-office.

Before nu-metal came around and ruined everyone’s lives, someone decided that snow ploughing their body into someone else’s organs was a good way of showing appreciation for music. It happened for a couple of years until everyone shrugged, got bored and decided never to go to Reading Festival again. Recently, though, Jay Z and Kanye West discovered that circle pits were a real thing and the “trend” of moshing has seen something of resurgence. I’m not suggesting that you need to delve into the depths of a mosh pit to have fun, because frankly, the idea sounds cringe-inducingly awful to anyone over the age of sixteen. However, I am saying that if you like something, don’t be afraid to show it by flailing your arms and hollering your lungs hoarse until the lead singer of whatever non-descript indie band you’re watching realises that you’re totally dedicated to his cause and sleeps with you because of it. Just don't suck his dick on stage, because if the guitar 'n' TopMan world is anything similar to the rap game, it'll cause a flurry of easily re-posted news stories which will provide a week-worth of crop for content farmers who don't deserve to be running a farm on the Internet, because it's a place for thought, not copy and pasting, mass produce. In short, keep it at home.

If you’re trying to have fun with ten tins of Fosters and a packet of Mr Porky in your system, then it’s going to get a little hot and sweaty. You’re going to want to take your shirt off and thrust your pectoral mecca into the patronage of a Beady Eye concert while floating down to earth on a headspace soaked with “lager, lager, lager”. But, just like how taking your shirt off on the London Underground “because it’s really hot!!!” would be totally disgusting, the same goes for a gig. It’s important to have fun, but it’s also important not to force the person behind you to digest an evening’s worth of your sweat as they rest their forehead on the nook of your back.

While you’re at the show, busy having fun and not making out with your girlfriend or queuing at the bar, you’re probably going to want to film a couple of shots of the band to watch on the train home. Old people always moan about this one. But, old people didn’t have a social media presence to uphold. Instead, when they die, there will be nothing left but a gravestone and a funeral in a church that they didn’t believe in. They’re just jealous because when you finally hit the hay, your offspring will be able to relive Daddy’s tumultuous gigging lifestyle at the NME Awards Tour through Instagram. So, go ahead and film everything like it deserves to be captured and stored on your phone for you to watch while you’re engaging in a post-gig, pre-bed, toilet session.

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Post-show

So, you’ve watched the best gig of your life; you’ve saved all of your money by not drinking the overpriced beer sold inside; you’ve avoided engaging in PDA and still kept your relationship intact; you’ve had a lot of fun. What are you going to do now?

IDK, whatever you want. You're at home now so feel free to drag your sweat-encrusted arse up to the shower or soak yourself into the sofa until your ears stop ringing.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanBassil

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