Being The Tall Guy At A Gig

I’m a big fan of Noisey, I always have been. They make great documentaries, and their series ‘Noisey Atlanta’ rivals a lot of the non-fiction on television today. A couple of days ago though, an article came up on my timeline saying ‘Hey Tall People- Stand At The Back So We Can See!’. Granted this article is from 2015, but it isn’t the first time that I’ve seen an article of that nature. In fact I once saw an article suggesting that tall people should actually be made to stand at the back as part of a new set of rules for the venue. Fuck off.

The last time I checked, I’m paying the same price as ever other person at the gig to be there. If someone else has paid £25, then I’ve paid £25 too. It’s not as if tall people pay a discounted fee and then push to the front where they don’t belong, they pay the same as everybody else. If I attended a gig where every single person happened to be a foot taller than me, and I ended up stood behind all of them and couldn’t see, I’d probably conclude that I should have shown up earlier for the queues so I could be further down the front- it’s really not that difficult. In the same respect, if you’re five foot four, and find yourself stood behind someone that’s five foot nine (A height that by today’s standards, probably isn’t considered ‘tall’), then you’re not going to be able to see very well. If you can’t see because someone taller than you is further forward than you, it’s probably because they thought to show up to the gig earlier so they could be closer to the front. Perhaps you should do the same in future. The irony of all of this is that, 9.9 times out of 10, a tall person will let those smaller than them go in front of them at a gig (As do myself and my tall friends). If they don’t let you past, then they’re probably a bit of a dick. Perhaps if a rule is going to be enforced, it should be if you’re a dick head you should stand at the back? You can be short, and still be a massive dick at a gig. Yet, if tall people were made to stand at the back, you’d have what would most likely be large amounts of perfectly nice people stood at the back, while those that are arse holes and just happen to be short as well, would still be allowed at the front. That’s surely worse, right?

Recently I attended a gig at a venue that I won’t name out of respect for anonymity and what not. One of the support bands took to the stage and immediately a mosh pit broke out. Now, I am one for enjoying a bit of a rowdy gig, but if there’s anything I’ve learned growing up as someone that is far taller than everyone else, it’s that you absolutely have to be careful- and I always am. The same goes for my friends that are similar heights to me, and those that are even taller. You have to be careful. The fact is, with a mosh pit it doesn’t matter if everybody in there is the size of The Eiffel Tower or the size of an ant, people are going to get knocked over and on the rare occasion, people do get hurt. Again, I cannot stress how careful I am to make sure that I am not involved in this. If anything, I actively seek to help up those who fall over, and even had to help stop a fight from breaking out during The Hives at Y Not Festival. In spite of this, I had been reported by said support band to security for ‘kicking’ and ‘moshing’. The complaint was initially ridiculous because, well, I didn’t kick anyone- that’s absurd. But it was also ridiculous because I was one in maybe twenty/twenty-five people moshing at that point. I can understand that, some people are highly sceptical of a mosh pit and are worried that people will get hurt. When someone is hurt at a venue, it makes the venue look bad, and when it happens during a band’s set, the band gets a reputation. So if the support act had an issue with the mosh pit, that’s understandable- but why me, of all the people moshing? When I asked the security what lead the band to think that I was somehow causing trouble, but not anyone else, his response was “You haven’t done anything that anyone else wasn’t doing- you’re just tall so it’s easy for them to pick on you”.

I saw a Facebook post last week of a girl who had gone to a Code Orange gig (Check them out, their latest album is sickkkk). One of the guys at the concert had deliberately kicked her in the face with his steel-toe capped boot and had subsequently caused some pretty serious injuries to her face. Some people are far too violent at gigs, and some people seem to be going to gigs with the intent of hurting people like that. That’s a serious problem. We now have Girls Against, a truly fantastic group of people doing incredible things to ensure that sexual assault is stopped at gigs. I can only hope that they continue to succeed and receive the constant exposure in the media that they currently are- we’d be lost without them. The fact that there are people going to gigs and having their nights ruined by someone who can’t keep their hands to themselves and doesn’t recognise consent- that’s a serious problem. The point I’m essentially trying to make here, is that live music, whilst being incredible, is facing a lot of problems in the modern age, problems that we all need to unite against together and stop. Let’s not target an entire group of people on the sole premise that they’re blocking your view a bit- if that’s the case then just move to another part of the venue, buy a seated ticket or just simply ask the person if you can move past them- they’ll almost always say yes. After all, they’re there to enjoy the gig just like you are. Let’s instead focus on the real problems facing the gig scene at the moment, and let’s all have a good night.

Words by Samuel Rhys Adams.

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