The Universally Acknowledged (Albeit Unwritten) Gig Code


I saw my first (real) live concert when I was eighteen. A bit of a latecomer to the wonderful world of music shows, I was nevertheless bitten by the bug. I had to have more, experience more; in short, I was hooked. There’s something about the live music scene that is just heart poundingly exhilarating. The volume, the way the bass thumps through your chest, the atmosphere; it all makes for an awesome experience. You could almost say there’s nothing about live music that is bad. Almost. See, the problem with concerts is the people that attend them. At every gig I’ve ever been to, I’ve either been injured (like the memorable time I got intentionally elbowed in the face during a Pierce the Veil gig), groped (like the Kingswood concert a few weeks ago), or stuck behind an impossibly tall douche (every gig ever). It’s like some people just go out of their way to be total dickheads and in doing so, totally disregard the holiest of holies, the Gig Code.

The Gig Code is an unwritten, unspoken, but universally acknowledged set of rules for attending concerts. The rules are simple and designed to ensure that everyone has a good time. They are as follows.
1. Don’t be a jerk.
2. Be polite.
3. Ignore your phone, unless you’re checking in with friends or taking photos.
4. Enjoy the music.
5. Don’t be a fucking jerk.

Despite this, there are always those few people who want to ruin it for everyone else. And that’s when things gets ugly. Under the first rule, its against the code to intentionally hurt someone else. In a thumping, jumping crowd, you expect to get jostled about a bit. That’s normal, and part of the experience. What isn’t normal is to get punched in the back of the head, shoved to the ground, spat on, elbowed in the face and/or have a drink poured on you. All of these things have happened to me at various gigs I’ve attended over the years. All without provocation and all because people didn’t follow the Gig Code. There’s no call for that kind of thing, and drunkenness is not an excuse either. If everyone agrees not to be a douche, live music would be infinitely mote enjoyable.

Then there’s the second rule. If you’re seven thousand feet tall, don’t intentionally stand in front of us short people. Your height gives you an automatic advantage over the rest of us, you don’t then get to muscle your way to the front. I’m not saying tall people don’t deserve to see but have some respect for the shorties. In addition to this, if you DO want to make your way through a crowd, be as polite as you can. Don’t just shove through and knock people over because you’re an inconsiderate plebian. And for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t be a creepy pervert and hit on every girl in the place. We are there for the music, not for your clumsy attempts at flirtation. Go away.

Then the third and fourth rules. My best friend told me that he went to a gig the other night and couldn’t help noticing the guy near him who spent 90% of the time staring at his phone. That made me mad enough but then he proceeded to tell me about the two guys in front of him who played on their phones for three songs and left. They left?! Why pay money for a ticket and travel to a venue to not even pay attention?! Phones are a great tool at gigs to take photos and film your favourite song, and send the odd text to a friend who will appreciate how much fun you’re having. But so often I see people just standing there, staring at their phone screen or just complaining that they don’t want to be there. So let me get this straight; you have awesome musicians rocking out for you on stage and you don’t even have the decency to watch and enjoy? You might as well just go the fuck home.

I guess, being such a fan of live music myself, I don’t understand how you could in good conscience break the rules of the Gig Code. It’s supposed to be about people who may have nothing else in common, coming together in mutual appreciation of a certain band and music in general. I’ve said this before because it’s true. You go to a venue to rock out, listen to some great tunes and have a good time. But those dicks who break the rules just kill the buzz and ruin things for everyone else. That ain’t what it’s all about, man. If you’re not there for the music, then don’t bother showing up. We don’t want your douchebaggery clogging up the place. Frankly, I think they should put signs up in every live music venue with the Gig Code on it. You break the rules, you’re out. That simple.

3 thoughts on “The Universally Acknowledged (Albeit Unwritten) Gig Code

  1. As a fellow short-ads I feel your pain. I’m like a homing beacon for tall dudes. You missed one though: doing endless stinky farts. Just because no one can hear you, doesn’t mean I don’t want to stick a broken bottle into whoever dealt that stink bomb. Unacceptable, yet happens at every gig I go to.

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