All week we've been talking about talking at shows and all this talking has compelled me to weigh in with my own two cents. Like many of our other commentators, I need to admit a bit of guilt first -- I have been known to say a few words whilst someone is playing -- but just a few (oh, and once or twice I have heckled, but only when the act was truly terrible and when I used to be a much bigger dick than I am today). Now, having admitted my own minor guilt, let me say this about talking at shows: shut the fuck up. Pretty simple, huh? After the jump, I'll outline a simple rule for talking at shows and share a few horror stories, but whenever you are in doubt, just zip it.
As you probably surmised from my simple take on talking at shows (i.e. don't fucking do it), it's a real pet peeve of mine. At least twice at major shows I've nearly come to blows with other patrons over this. The first time was at Red Rocks for Radiohead. Some drunk jerk next to me was trying to impress a drunk girl with tales of how awesome all the other
Radiohead shows he'd been to were, completely denying me (and others within a ten-foot radius) the opportunity to enjoy the one we were at. I asked him nicley once. Then not so nicely again ten minutes later. Then again. Finally, I told his slightly more sober friends that if they didn't shut him up, they were going to have to carry him out of there and miss a day of work later to testify at my assault trial. One look into my eyes convinced them (despite the fact that I am a tiny wisp of a man) and they dragged him off, leaving me and my friends to enjoy the show at last. I don't condone violence -- ever -- but at that moment I was dead serious about knocking a couple of his teeth out to shut him the hell up. I hadn't spent over a hundred bucks to listen to this dick ramble about his greatest concert moments all night and if I was going to miss out and have a miserable night because of him, he was damn sure going to regret it.
The second time was at a Ween show at the Fillmore. The two guys behind me were carrying on a long, detailed coversation about something and I finally turned around and asked, "Hey, this song isn't disturbing your conversation at all, is it?" They got all huffy and for a minute I thought I was going to get my ass kicked, but then they apologized and offered to get me high (and more importantly, they shut up), so it all worked out.
Both times the hostility could have been avoided with a little bit of consideration. Sure, everyone has a quick question from time to time, or wants to make a brief comment, and really, that is okay. It's just when it goes longer that my (and others') nerves start to fray and things get tense. Here's the simple rule: if you have to have a conversation of more than thirty seconds, move away from the stage.
Crazy huh? In every venue, there is an out of the way spot you can have a conversation without bothering anyone. At Red Rocks, there are the aisles and the areas near the bathrooms. In the smaller to midsized venues there's the bar, or really anywhere
not directly in front of the stage. The other people there paid to see the band, just like you. Have some consideration for them. If you're just that big of a dick that you have no consideration for others, have some for yourself and that pretty-boy face of yours: remember that the scrawny guy behind you with murder in his eyes might be willing to weather an assault charge in order to shut you up -- it's a real possibility.