Venues across Belfast continue to play host to a wide variety of musicians all year round. As we approach the glittering summer season, the venues only get larger as the sun gets brighter, with music fans far and wide gathering in fields to dance to acts from Tiesto to Arcade Fire.
However, while we may consider our music tastes’ far from similar to those who attend different gigs, there is one thing over which we can all unite – witnessing these ten token individuals wherever we choose to go. Be it DJs or electric guitars, it can almost be guaranteed you’ll see more than half of these folk scampering around your much anticipated gig. Would it really be an authentic gig-going experience without ‘em?
1) The Ruthless Markers of Territory
These individuals, or united group of, will ruthlessly claim the front as their own. This is territory that has been earned, territory meticulously sourced and will not be given up. Perhaps they’ll pee right on the spot to mark it, perhaps handcuff themselves to the barriers. They become one with the barriers. These people do not need a drink, heck, they don’t even need urination (denying both certainly compliments each other). This spot has been delicately chosen and these folk aint giving it up for anyone or anything. Not hydration, not bowel movements, not the 5 ft girl desperately peeking behind them. Know your place, people.
2) Token Tall Guy
Hi tall guy or girl, please do not take offence to your inclusion in this list. We love token tall guy/girl. We love how your towering head becomes a point of reference for all. I mean, nobody can fault you, you’re just living your life, enjoying the gig. All one can do is adjust to fight the visual blockage. Trouble is when that sweet beat kicks in, or tall guy (or girl) is feeling that guitar riff and that head you so positioned yourself to avoid starts a-swinging, you’re back to square one. No criticisms here though tall sir or madam, we’re never going to get in height order in a crowd and chances are you’re one of the most likable people in there – so keep on swinging that head above everyone else, we will adjust accordingly just for you x
3) The Explosive Unnecessary Shouter
This one remains in the depths of the crowd, incognito, subtle and cunning. The crowd surrounds them, swallows our compromising individual, unaware and buzzing while they stand patiently waiting for their chance to strike. Then, when the gig hits peak level, past the support and to the anticipated headliner, our individual thrives. This kind of person typically frequents smaller venues, taking the role of token funny guy and assuming their yells replacing wit with decibels will be met with laughter and applause. Identified easily through shouts of ‘take your top off!’ or ‘I LOVE YOU’, during particularly delicate numbers if they’re feeling hysterical, this individual has minus concern for those around them. While many of us are prone to undying love for those who serenade us on stage, we typically know to refrain from interrupting acoustic songs to declare it so. Rein it in guys, for all of our sakes.
4) Those with Life Stories Essential to Share
We get it, gigs are a social activity. An exciting chance to meet up with pals you may have seen yesterday or you may not have seen in years. However, not even a millennium apart can justify interrupting the smooth acapella of those on stage to tell your long lost mate you had spag bol for dinner. There is nothing more infuriating than hoping to drown in a soulful rendition of a quieter song, only for a steady buzz of conversation in the distance to drown out any notes or guitar strings. Keep the conversations for break or lunch times guys, it becomes particularly embarrassing when the musician(s) ears even pick up on it.
5) The Steadfast Conductor Marching the Crowd to Lyrical Clapping Victory
This individual has a connection with a headlining set that we all admire. Their determination is unwavering, their lyrical wisdom is undeniable and their commitment to leading the crowd in every sing-along opportunity is admirable. We don’t look to these guys with dismay as their shouts fit like the cosiest glove to the timing of the music. Together, they create a delightful chorus of artist and audience, our guy the crowd leader and representative for all echoes and chants. This guy knows his/her place, and we happily and blindly follow. Props.
6) The Relentless Pusher
Often leaving behind a trail of upturned mouths, rolled eyes and aggravated hand waving, this less than desirable gig attendee has only one thing in mind – their exact spot, between which a moving crowd will not get in their way. Now, gig etiquette isn’t really a promoter of on your feet lose your seat so to speak, quite the opposite really. If a spot remains occupied by known others while you embark on the quest for the bar or toilet, then there your spot will remain for your speedy return. A simple ‘excuse me’ or exclaimed apology as you slip slip your way through an occupied, dancing crowd is all that is required. The crowd’s occupation enjoying the music they paid to see does not demand or at all warrant pushes, shoves, elbows or stomping – follow the gig etiquette and so you shall pass. Have you never read Lord of the Rings?
7) The Frequent Bar Visitor
This individual means no harm, they’re just here for a good time at the expense of no one, and we like that. Perhaps they’re just a good friend over a fan, scampering along for the craic (and beer…mostly beer) as opposed to the music. Or maybe they are a fan who also has a love for beer. Either way, you’ll catch them lingering in the darkness. Not quite away from the crowd, but far enough that a swift 180 turn will place them right where they need to be. There is no intrusion on personal space, no disruptive yelling, just excessive alcohol consumption. Beer guy/girl – we support you. Keep on drinkin’.
8) The One That Went Way Too Hard
For this individual feelings often shift from support for alcohol consumption to disdain. It should be said that alcohol and gigs are not mutually exclusive; one might even say they go hand in hand. However, what does not go hand in hand is a packed out venue and floppy limbs flying in the face of anyone in a ten foot radius (stretch Armstrong often attends gigs in Belfast, dontcha know). Hey, we’ve all been there. Probably too many times than we would care to admit. However, it’s pretty common knowledge that gigs and clubs are completely different evening activities. Nobody likes a screaming, crying or flailing person disrupting a good set. Let’s all try and keep the spirits to a tolerable level until our guests finish their set, please.
9) The Avid Video Recorder
This guy or gal entered the venue with a fairly empty phone memory, a phone memory that could never anticipate what was to come. Soon enough, the ‘storage full’ message becomes a cry for help, as terrible quality videos infiltrated by the screeches of those recording pile up. These individuals are determined to capture their favourite song on their very own video forever. They sacrifice revelling in the experience for a recording they can’t even bear to listen to because it turns out their singing wasn’t quite as quiet as they thought. However, will that learn ye? Probably not. You’re gonna need a bigger phone memory.
‘10) Better beat the crowd!!’-er
Time is rapidly passing, songs upon songs pile up in the memories of those around you and as the set couldn’t be doing anything but coming to a close – sweaty palms. Sweat travels to the forehead, beads dripping into eyes rapidly scanning the room for the most efficient exit route. At any minute now a sold out venue will all violently scramble for the only two exits available, two exits that will not allow for appropriate crowd flow. This individual is determined to beat the crowd, to beat the tumble for fresh air, determined enough to leave the often most hard-hitting, closing songs in the dust of their sketchers for an exit in a calm, collected fashion.