Friday, March 11, 2011

The Five People You Meet at Gigs

When I tell people that I was at a gig last night, the first mistake they usually make is that they assume they must have heard of them. They cock their ear, eager for a forthcoming musical discussion that alludes to that time they went drinking with the Coronas. Unfortunately, they haven't heard of the band I went to see, because more then likely, I haven't heard of them either. Even more likely is that I have no business being there at all, and that I was brought along by a friend, or a friend-of-a-friend of a band. For this reason, I find myself nursing cheap cider at half-filled venues rather a lot.

There are two types of gigs you attend: gigs you want to be at, and gigs you have to be at, because social protocall compels you to. There is very little crossover between the two audiences. People at a Mumford & Sons concert never feel like they have to be there because otherwise Marcus will feel rejected, and people at a Mopey Young Female and The Apathetic Three gig are not there because they think they'll have fun. At the second type of gig, you seem to meet the same people over and over, and the following are the ones that bug me the most.

The "Band" Photographer

By and large, I find it incredibly difficult to respect photographers. It's not a popular opinion, but to me, photography is one of the least inspiring art forms. It is very seldom that I see a photograph and marvel at the artistic direction that was required to create it. Don't get me wrong, I know some talented young photographers who take their work seriously. However, (and I know I sound like a cretin) but a lot of the photographers I seem to meet are people who hang out in otherwise arty, talented circles yet fail to possess a tangible talent of their own. Rather then work at this and instead settle for being The Funny One, they buy a ridiculous camera. With a giant lens. And a huge leather neck strep. And if their presence wasn't made clear enough, a large padded shoulder bag. For their equipment, you see.

That's all very well when they're taking pictures of birds and crap in their own time, but when they do it at gigs I find it immensely irritating. They always seem to go out of their way to let people know that they're the photographer and need to get things from interesting angles. This means that they will crouch and hop about in stupid ways, ask to stand on your chair and generally be a fucking nuisance to everyone.

The Friends of The Support Act 

Nobody feels good for the support act. As much as nobody is really interested in the main act, people are even less bothered about whatever the support act (generally a guileless singer-songwriter) has got to say. So the support act will generally drag some friends to the event, and these will generally be the kind of people who don't attend gigs very often, and think it's the height of glamour that their friend has been asked to play one to begin with. Mostly these guys will blend into the background, but occasionally you'll get lairy types who think they're doing their friend a favour by shouting their support so loudly it borderlines heckling. You hear a lot of childhood nicknames going on here. Expect "G'wan DAME-O!" to feature heavily. Think of it as supportive booing.

I was saying "Boo - Urns"
The Hardened Locals

As indifferent as you are about being at this gig, there are people in the audience who are visibly pissed off about it. These are the people that drink at this venue all the time and are thoroughly disgusted by the idea that someone might be using the same place to further their creative ventures. Cue filthy looks at the stage, complaints about the noise to the barman, and loud, repeated "Who the fuck are these guys?"

The WAGs

Maybe I'm just being a bitch now, but there is often a common air of "total cow" around the girlfriends of musicians. Bear in mind, some of my closest friends are WAGs, so this is by no means a blanket term. But bitchy WAGs at gigs are as easy to identify at gigs as they are at soccer matches.

They embody a sighing quality, and you often suspect that the only reason they're even there is to prevent a fellow hipster chick from preying on their bass-playing boyfriend. Who they've decided is absolutely irresistible, and must prove this by cooing at him throughout soundcheck.

The Smug Barman

There are two kinds of barmen that work at bars with venues. There's is the enthusiastic, music loving barman that is eager for a chat about the band in question, and then there's the smug, horrible kind. The smug horrible kind will spend the whole gig leaning bored and cross-armed against the bar, occasionally nodding or tapping his foot to show that he understands rhythm. He will talk to the band like they are unruly children. He will be intensely patronising and refer to the band as "lads" once to often, while raising an overgrown eyebrow. He will not offer to help with the amps. He will look kind of like Dave Grohl.

Dave Grohl Barman Judges You

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