I went to see Reel Big Fish at Colchester Arts Centre this week. The band was fantastic but I came away from the gig feeling quite annoyed. That was because of a few members of the crowd. Considering I was at a ska gig, a genre of music generally associated with unity and friendliness this was one of the most aggressive crowds I’ve ever been in. The pit was so bad I actually came away with someone else’s blood on my t-shirt. Obviously I wasn’t happy with this and it had me seriously doubting whether or not I want to keep going to bigger gigs in the future.
Obviously the bigger the gig the better it is for the bands as they are exposing more people to their music and ultimately making more money, plus when a band starts they aim to play to as many people as possible not just a few of they’re mates. I’ve found the problem lies within the crowd at bigger gigs.
Trying my absolute best not to sound like a snob or elitist but I find that at a bigger gig you get a more casual gig goer, someone who will go to one of the bigger festivals and maybe three or four gigs a year and don’t really know gig etiquette. First and foremost I find these people to be really quite rude. There has been many a time I have just been pushed and barged out of the way by someone trying to get past me in the crowd rather than just giving me a tap on the shoulder to let me know that they are coming through. It’s really quite rude and completely unnecessary. That brings me on to another massive bug bare of mine. The gig goer who only turns up to see the headline act and just spends all night at the bar ignoring the support act. That’s fair enough; spend the evening how you choose but if you want to get down to the front to see your favourite band you should get down to the stage early and not just push past the people who have waited at the front for the entire night, I guarantee they wouldn’t do the same to you.
Something else I’ve noticed at bigger gigs is that the pits seem to be far more aggressive and violent than at a smaller gig. Fair play you expect a bit of pushing and shoving in a pit but it’s all should be done in good faith and you should look after the people around you no matter how crazy it’s getting. Too many times these days I’m seeing people getting hurt in mosh pits because people aren’t look after each other. At the Reel Big Fish gig I was seeing people go down and people not helping them up straight away.
You never find any of this behaviour at a smaller gig, the atmosphere so far friendlier. Sure there is a lot of rough and tumble but it’s done in a much better natured way. Everybody there is your friend and will look after you. Many times I’ve hugged and high fived complete strangers during or at the end of the gig and have met so many wonderful people. This rarely happens at a bigger gig.
This is what I love about the punk rock scene. It is quite small but it is fantastic. It’s like my own secret little world and it’s full of the best people I could ever wish to meet. The selfish side of me doesn’t want my favourite bands to get bigger as more and more of the bad kind of gig goer will start attending shows and part of what I love about seeing those bands will disappear. This makes me sad.
Now listening to Fear Of The Routine by The Rocco Lampones