Concert Etiquette – 13 Lame Things You Should NOT Do at a Show

Photo: Big Swig


A couple months ago I had asked our Twitter and Facebook friends, “what are things that fans do at shows/concerts that really fuckin’ annoy you?” Naturally, for being such a hot topic with show-goers, I received a huge response of funny replies. Some were a bit ridiculous, while others were dead on. After averaging all the replies and talking to a few of our music buddies we came up with the sassy list below.

If you’re like me and have been going to shows since you were a pre-teen (some 17 years now … old fart), I’m sure you’ve been guilty of one or more things below. I ain’t gonna lie, I know I have!

If you have any more annoyances to add to our list, please comment with them below!

Concert Etiquette – 13 Lame Things You Should NOT Do at a Show

  1. Chatty Cathys – Damn, this has to be the worse thing to endure at a concert: people running their mouths as though they were on a talk show. Not only is it rude to the performers and those around you, but also you look like a fuckin’ dumbass that shouldn’t be at a show in the first place
  2. Annoying Photogs – I’m not talking about the actual photographers that are covering the show, but the annoying kids that are constantly taking pics! Just like the Twitter whores, it’s all in moderation. Get a few snaps here-and-there but don’t make it your point of the entire show to get a zillion MySpace-like photos of you and your friend throwing up peace signs while the live act is your backdrop. And p.s. – Kill the fuckin’ flash!
  3. Karaoke All-Stars– It’s really annoying when you’re at a show and the person behind you is breathing down your neck with loud lyrics (and bad breath). We want to enjoy the show as much as you and probably want to sing-along too, but unless the band is asking you to sing-along with them, or if you’re shouting out a chorus here-and-there, please keep your singing to a quiet tone that doesn’t block out the singers’ vocals. We came to hear the musicians sing, not your all-star karaoke act.
  4. B.O. – I understand that some shows get beyond hot and sweaty, but please remember to shower and wear deodorant before entering the sweat pits. There’s nothing worse than having a great spot but the dude (or chick) next to you reeks of spoiled onions stuffed in gym socks. And p.s. gum goes a long way too!
  5. Bulldozers – All right, I understand we all want to be right under the noses of our favorite musicians but don’t rudely push your way through the crowd like a wild boar. An “excuse me,” or light hand on someone’s back goes a long way. Unless you’re in mosh pit or pushing the posers and douches out of the crowds, there should be no need for bulldozing your way through fans.
  6. Road Blocks – You make a better door than a window! I’ll never forget the tall Amazonian chick that was bulldozing her way to the front lines at the Black Keys show a few months back at the Palladium. This chick was seriously almost 7 ft. tall. My head was up to her hips! If you’re this tall, you should have no problems viewing from a bit further back and especially don’t park yourself in front of a shorty. (UPDATE: If you’re a giant and got to the show super early to camp out your spot, that’s fair game. Thx to @starbright31 @psst_jenn for the insight)
  7. Crybabies – Okay, this one may somewhat contradict our bulldozer clause, but when you’re throwing a fit about being pushed or butt-humped at a wild rock show, you need to get the fuck out! If the show calls for some serious moshing, crowd surfing and chaotic dancing, I suggest you get a balcony seat or hang out in the back. Some of us actually like to bust-a-groove here …
  8. Twitter Whores – You know who you are: the show-goers that are constantly on their space phones (iPhone, Droid, Crackberry) tweeting away and texting while they should actually be watching the show. I understand when some tweeps send two or three Tweets about a show (even a few more if you’re actually covering the show), but when I come home and check my Twitter feed and you’ve sent about 10 + Tweets, it makes me question your credibility. In the words of Frank Zappa: “You should be diggin’ it while it’s happening...”
  9. Suitcases – Girls that sport those ginormous designer (most are fake) purses that are so big you could put a midget inside of them, really should be paying for two tickets. Your purse is taking up the spot of another body! Ladies, please switch to a smaller purse when you’re headed out to a show.
  10. Hecklers – It’s really shitty when crowds heckle, boo or worse yet, throw unwanted things at a band. If you don’t like the band or didn’t dig their performance, there’s no need to be an asshole about it while they’re on stage doing their thing. Save the hating for your blog, Twitter, Facebook or word-of-mouth communications later.
  11. Guest List Dramatics– If you run any type of media, we’ve all had this happen to us at least once (but more so numerous times): your name is not on the guest/press list! Yes, it’s a totally downer but if you’re making a huge scene about it, you’re only making yourself look like a mega-douche and setting yourself up for failure. From actors at Coachella to small music blogs that think they’re “somebody,” I’ve seen the worst of temper tantrums due to guest list mishaps. Shit happens ….
  12. Ankle Breakers – I’m all for dressing cute and stylish at a show and even wearing comfortable heels every now and then, but there’s a time and place for 5” ankle breaks. I once got stabbed in the toe at Coachella while wearing flip flops (like everyone else) by a girl that was wearing some big ass stilettos.  Thanks goodness I was a bit “under the influence” and didn’t feel the excruciating pain of my big toe’s nail getting ripped in half.
  13. Squares – You don’t dance, cheer, clap or even smile. Are you even breathing? As much as we love a band with a huge stage presence and crowd interaction, bands love and deserve praise. Get out of your comfort zone and clap those hands or sway those hips.

Words: Sandra Burciaga

31 thoughts on “Concert Etiquette – 13 Lame Things You Should NOT Do at a Show

  1. TMW

    Space hogs at outdoor concerts “saving” space for all their friends (and I’m talking a party of 20 people) that haven’t shown up yet, but, we have and we can’t sit on that spot because it’s “saved.” Listen up people there is NO saving on the lawn…first come, first served! We paid the same price as your friends and we got there first, so too damn bad that are now sitting in your “saved” spot.

  2. Pamela

    My 2 Pet Peeves: Ringing Phones & Their Ensuing Conversation!!!
    Y’all forgot the idiots who don’t put their phones on mute on vibrate. It makes me cringe when some dumb chick or opiniated redneck dude (I love in Texas – a lot of those around) behind me gets a number of phone calls back & forth with friends (or worse – their mother or other family memberr. Then they talk & talk about the concert, how bad or good traffic was getting there, complain about how expensive parking was 3 block away & talk as if walking 3 blocks is killing them, & express their disappointment loudly when their seat isn’t where they thought it was. Then they go on to what they did that day, who was a pain in their ass at work or how bad their professor or class assignment sucks, traffic congestion on the road home from work or school or whertever, where they went to dinner,before the concert & what they ate & act like they are food critics & their opinion counts for something. Then they talk about the cute guy (or girl) they hope to meet & their strategy for doing so or share with all of us about what’s going on with their boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse/partner. Lastly they go on & on about their plans for the weekend & name every individual that will be there. Sometimes they go on about flight arrangements & either talk about what a good deal they got or complain about the cost of their flight & hotel ((geez, you would think these people would check Travelocity, Trip Advisor or Kayak, etc.). I have had this happen at numerous concerts (& I think I got the flow of the conversation right). Their conversations can go on upwards of 30* minutes.
    I turn around & ask them to take their conversation to the lobby as it’s annoying, rude & ruining the concert for everyone around them & we don’t care particularly to hear thier soliloquy about their life right now & to please take their conversation to the lobby, & when they come back, I ask them to put their phones on vibrate. If the person doesn’t comply with our wishes, I get up, & go to the lobby to ask for a manager to come talk to this rude person or even remove them from their seat. We pay exorbitant prices for tickets these days for most concerts & a Chatty Kathy is surely NOT appreciated.
    However, if you’re a doctor on-call, or parents talking to the babysitter (short chat). I can understand.

  3. fat hater

    I dislike concerts because people are fatter, smellier and ruder than ever. People love to fork out big $ for tickets than not watch the show Rather they scream, fart, talk and tweet the whole time.

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  5. Elise

    Thank you, thank you !!! I have been a concert goer for many years … And have yet to mind the “space invasion ” of the front row… For me it actually enhances the vibes when everyone is crowded together having a great time … ; but I’ll never forget the one recent experience front row at Brandon Boyd in February …. This girl kept looking back at me giving this deflating balloon sigh , shaking her head and asking me to back up . Mind you , thus was a small venue and most of the crowd was extremely (bleh) mellow , so no one was crowding , not even me . I was a good 6 inches behind her . She was freaking out that I was too close . Are you kidding me ? Excuse me , but do you realize you’re front row at a concert ?!!! So annoying ! She finally left , and I was to enjoy Mr. Boyd once again w my fellow front row-ers. So , PLEASE people ; if you don’t like crowds, dancing and life in general … STAY OUT OF THE FRONT ROW!!

  6. Graham

    Keep your clothes on. It’s so bizarre to me when you’re at a show and someone takes their clothes off, especially pants. And I think Suzanne brought up a valid point, don’t yell for your favorite song. It’s very rude.

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  8. carlos

    by far, i am bothered by chatty cathys. this was examplefied earlier this month at the other lives show at the el rey. i told husshed them several times (almist btwn every song), but those fucken cunts keep yelling at each other. i posted a pic on instagram with the other lives hashtag, and random people stated that they knew who i eas refering to cos they were standing near me. i don’t mind you takling to your friends at all, but if your insignificant gossip is decipels louder than the band, FUCK YOU!!!
    also, why are LA crowds too fucken cool to dance/move/sway even a little? couple years ago at an M.I.A. show (dance music, not sigur rós stuff) everyone around just stood there, arms crossed the whole time! why?!? i respect that you paid your admission like i did, but fuck. the crowd’s energy really affects how one experiences the show. i like hoing to shows in SD or SF, their audiences are much more expressive.
    other than chatty cathys and dead crowds (at dance/rock shows), to each their own…

  9. Jaymes jeager

    I think the idea for concert etiquette is great though I must admit that some of the stipulations that y’all have listed on here is just shit that you Have to expect at a concert.

    Bulldozing your way through the crowd is totally acceptable unless Everybody around you is holding a drink they paid too much for and waited 20 mins to get.

    B.O. Is quite irrelevant cause c’mon your a little fish in a sea of people.

    Sing your fucking heart out if you know the lyrics because the band fuking loves it !!!!!!!!

    Peole shouldn’t get on the stage. Period. After what happened with DimeBag, that shit is just too risky.. Even if your just gonna stage dive, I’ve seen too many people not get caught because nobody will catch your fat ass

    If somebody falls you pick them up.

    And most importantly Don’t be afraid to tell somebody to fuck off.

  10. suzanne

    You forgot yelling for your favorite song through the ENTIRE show, including the songs. The band can’t hear you (even if you’re in the first few rows). If they’re going to play it, they will, if not, maybe next time. Everyone around you would like to hear the show not you howling for whatever song you want to hear. I don’t understand why anyone would pay today’s prices just to hear one song (which is all you’re going to hear if you keep yelling like that) and it’s really rude to shout over what might be someone else’s favorite song.

  11. Josh

    I’d like to add Unnecessary Roughness as a counterpoint to Squares. If you are the only person pushing and shoving (in a rocking out kind of way, rather than a selfish bulldozing kind of way), then you need to chill the eff out. I wish there was more movement at shows in general (especially in the LA area; you’d think the “hipsters” wouldn’t be so square) but there is little worse than when _one_ moron can’t feel the crowd and starts moshing.

  12. I Love/Hate LA

    I have a Twitter and go to a lot of LA shows. I can tell you right now who Tweets way too much. Are they really watching the bands or just touting the fact that they go to shows 3-4 times a week? And to top it all off they’re not even covering the show for any blog or mag! Sometimes I just want to call them out or walk up to them and throw their phone away. 

  13. Drewtheyours

    So so true! All these sad but true fact we must deal with while at shows. Good stuff… get it…haha 🙂

  14. Alex

    Oh yeah! I got my flip flops packed for Coachella! Boom! Actually might get festival freaky and wear Tevas for shits and giggles.

  15. Alex

    I like when chicks dress hot at shows! Nothing wrong there with the heels. Unless they are those tall ass STRIPPER heels. That’s just sorry Hollywood BLVD status.

  16. Sandy Post author

    @ Trina, I don’t think Jan mentioned “rock shows.” Although if she had, I’d agree that it is pretty weird to wear flip flops at a “rock show.” Unless you live in a coastal beach town where venues are practically on the beach, such as the Wave House in Mission Beach, SD (there is literally sand through out the venue, or even Winston’s and Dream Street in Ocean Beach, SD. City vs beach living is very different and I’ve lived at the beach for most of my life as opposed to the city. So I’m pretty down with the cute gladiators and Havianas (especially at warm music festivals like Coachella).

    Ankle breakers are ridiculous. Unless you’re at a seated show or at a fancy event/show where your “invite” calls for dressy attire.

    There’s a time and place for everything.

  17. Big Swig

    i always scout a spot early so i can be up front. it’s easier with a camera to make my way to the front too.

  18. Trina

    And I agree with Jan; flip flops have no place at rock shows. Not only is it impractical/unsafe, God it’s kind of tacky. I literally cringe whenever I see someone at the Viper Room, Spaceland, The Roxy…ANYWHERE wearing flip flops.

  19. Trina


    And I think that chicks who wear ridiculous high heels to shows and are walking like their toes are broken before the opening band is even done are stupid. Retarded, even. People like you give women a bad name. I know we’re in LA and being cute is important; being comfortable and able to walk at the end of a long night is better.

    PS: When you’re hobbling and complaining to the cute guy how much your feet hurt…cute points dissolve but quick and are replaced by “this stupid chick” ones.

  20. Sandy Post author

    @Jan B. have you ever been to a music festival in Southern California? Everyone wears flip flops and sandals (not heels). Grass! Unless you like have stinky feet in sneakers through hot festival heat … eww

  21. Jan B.

    If you wear flipflops ANYWHERE besides the beach or places where one might swim or shower, then you deserve to have your toes crushed.

  22. Darlene

    Nice work Sandy! I agree with Alex. Either that, our every venue with an email list should send this post as part of their newsletter! There would be less tools for sure at concerts!

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