Allow us to begin with a disclaimer: we're all for people enjoying music in all its weird and wonderful forms in their own unique way. You are all special music-loving snowflakes.
However, without telling people how to enjoy themselves or being a Negative Nelly, there is a line to be crossed – and the older we get, the less tolerant we are of the various irritating people that you see at gigs.
If you're a fan of live music, you'll have encountered most, if not all of these people over the course of your gig-going career.
Allow us to present The 7 Most Annoying People You Always See at Gigs:
1. The Tallest Man in the World
You can see him from the corner of your eye: The Tallest Man in the World. He's at a safe distance, though, and you're happy with your spot – you have a clear-ish view of the stage in a packed venue. Suddenly, the band come on stage and the crowd shift: TTMITW is now standing directly in front of you. It's happened to all of us. The campaign to introduce 'Tall person zones' at gigs starts here.
2. The Amateur Documentarian
A curse on camera phones. Whatever about taking a photo or two to remember the occasion – we've done it ourselves many a time – there is always an Amateur Documentarian who thinks they're the next Anton Corbijn or Vincent Moon and insists on recording songs in their entirety (or if you're unlucky, entire gigs) on their phone. They reckon that it'll get millions of YouTube hits, but in reality, 8 people will watch their crappy, blurry excuse of a video (including them) - and they'll ruin your gig too, with the light from their shitty phone.
[True story: we were once sitting at a gig (U2's gig at the 3Arena last year, to be exact) when a fellow journalist took out their laptop and spent the entire gig with it open, filing copy for the duration. You think a phone screen in a cinema or at a gig is distracting? Try the Close Encounters-style glare of a laptop.]
3. The Pusher-In
AKA 'The Late Arrival'. You're at a gig you've been looking forward to for a long time. In fact, you even made sure to get there early to get a good spot and stood through the shite support act to hold your spot. The lights go down, the cheers go up.... that's the cue for The Pusher-In. If you're lucky, you'll get a insincere 'Sorry' (they're not sorry) as they push in front of you, grasping a full drink (because they always have a full drink, sometimes one in each hand); if you're not, they'll land in (with ten of their mates) and plonk themselves aggressively and unceremoniously in your eyeline. Sure, you can ask them to move, but they are knobs and they know it. We hate you, Pushers-In.
4. The Phantom Farter
The only benefit of pre-smoking-ban gigs was that at least the smoke masked peoples' expulsions of malodorous flatulence. We've all fallen prey to The Phantom Farter, who will either nonchalantly let rip and then either be the first one to put their hand to their nose as a sneaky diversionary tactic, or else wander off to the toilet or the bar before anyone has copped what's happened. If you've never experienced a Phantom Farter at a gig, that means YOU ARE THE PHANTOM FARTER.
5. The Superfan
We're 100% in favour of singing along to your favourite songs at gigs – it's one of the greatest joys of live music, hearing the band or artist interpret the song for an audience and joining in with them for a heart-bursting communal experience. However, there are some exceptions to this rule – the most notable one being when it's a quiet acoustic gig. The Superfan wholeheartedly disregards this unspoken rule because they want you to know that THEY KNOW ALL THE WORDS AND THEY'RE GOING TO SING EVERY ONE OF THEM BECAUSE THEY'RE THE BAND'S BIGGEST FAN. The Superfan also occasionally doesn't know all the words, but decides to sing along anyway. We're not sure which is worse.
6. The Heckler
All The Heckler needs is one nod or word of acknowledgement – just one – to go full-thrust in their assault. There are usually two types of Heckler: they're either abusive and hilarious in their own mind in their attempt to elicit a reaction from the band or artist, or they're a close relation of The Superfan and take pleasure in screaming out random song titles between songs (the more obscure, the better). Either way, don't be that guy (or girl).
7. The Conversationalist
Ohhhhhh boy. This is one of the worst ones of all. Give us a Phantom Farter or a Pusher-In over a Conversationalist any day of the week. It takes a very specific type of person to be a Conversationalist. The Conversationalist will go to a gig just to be seen at the gig, or so they can say they've been to the gig. They might know one or two of the band's songs (at which point they'll temporarily morph into The Superfan), but mostly, they're there to catch up with their mates and aren't shy about holding full-blown discussions about work, what they were up to at the weekend, who they scored last night, who their mates scored last night, what they're doing this year for Christmas, the football, Coronation Street, their kids. If the artist in question has the 'nerve' to tell them to be quiet, they'll shut up for a song or two, then start huffing about 'paying money for a ticket' and resume their conversation once again.
Listen, don't get us wrong: of course we've chatted to friends at gigs before. HOWEVER, it takes an enormous lack of respect for your fellow gig-goers to ruin their experience by talking loudly through it. Don't be a dick and move to the back. Better still, leave. Thanks.