Chris Cote presents... An Idiot's Guide to Rock Show Etiquette

Rock shows bring together all types of people, from the drunken frat boys to hipster hotties out more to be seen and less to hear … the show that is. Well, besides the “rules” that many clubs post (No moshing, no crowd surfing, no grab ass), there are some unwritten rules that should be abided by when attending a rock show. Most of you probably already know these rules, but some of you obviously don’t, cause I’ve seen you people doing the dumbest shit at shows lately. But this isn’t about me; it’s about the rule breakers and the luddites that just can’t seem to get it right. Here is a short list of some of the infractions that can make YOU, the dumbass of the night.

1. Tallness
This rule isn’t your fault to begin with, but when you use your tallness in the wrong way, it becomes an issue. I understand that you may want to stand front and center with your belly button rubbing against the barrier, leaning and grabbing at the singers ankles with lustful long arms. But come on man, let someone short squeeze between you and the stage! Not to be creepy, but wouldn’t it feel better to rub and be smashed against a warm body instead of a cold piece of wood or steel? Tall people need to stand at least one or two people back from the stage—that’s just common courtesy.

2. Drunkenness (this rule is for 21+ only)
I’m the last guy to tell you not to get drunk at a show; in fact, I’m usually “that guy” at the show. But I know, that if you’re gonna be the drunk guys at the show, find the other drunk guys and gals and do your sloppy freakouts next to them, not the sober kids trying to enjoy a sober show in peace. Drunken people should watch shows in packs, it’s more fun for them and causes less of a disturbance for the designated drivers just trying to enjoy a song or two. Maybe the clubs should employ some kind of animal pen for the people like me, who want to drink a lot and dance like idiots right up front. “Excuse me did you buy tickets for the drunk section?” “Yes sir (slurring), yes I did.”

3. Heckling
“Play Free Bird!” Shut up. Yelling between songs is a favorite pastime of mine, but I’ve had a lot of practice, so if you’re a first time show yeller, follow these rules with the rule. If you want to get the band’s attention, do it with positivity, yell something like, “You’re playing fantastic tonight!” or “Man that last song was great!”—you’ll get the band to thank you, and you won’t be creating a nuisance. If you are yelling super obscure songs choices from the band’s B-sides just to prove you’re a real fan, the band will probably hate you. Yelling “Freebird” is possibly the dumbest most cliché thing you could ever yell at a show, rookie.

4. Clothing
This is more for the guys in the band than the people in the crowd. In my humble opinion, wearing your own band’s shirt is really lame. It’s tough though cause I’ve seen guys in the Rolling Stones wearing their own band shirts as well as the guys in Slayer, and you’d think that if people that cool do it, why can’t you. Well, that’s up to you, but if you ask me, wearing your own band’s shirt is akin to wearing a sign on your shirt that says “Yeah, I’m rad, I’m in a band.”

5. Singing
Again, I’m not good at abiding by this rule, and this is probably quite hypocritical to say, but if you want to sing (shout) the words to songs, you should probably know the words. I had a guy behind me at a recent Black Lips show shouting nonsense right in to my ear. I could tell he was trying to replicate the words being sung by the band’s singer, but nothing matched, and nothing actually even sounded close, sounded like, “Aaah sahrona waah blather gargle moaah.” When the words were, “O, Katrina! Why you gotta be mean?” If you wanna be the guy that sings the loudest, at least make an effort to try to learn how the song goes.

Posted Aug 23, 2012 10:15:12 am

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