There you are at a gig.

It’s intense, atmospheric, stripped down and quiet.

Someone stumbles over and starts yak-yak-yakking and shouting down your ear what do you? their spit lodges on your cheek and their dull, slurred semi sentences are drowning out a key moment in the set, it’s agony- you were floating away with the gig and now you are trapped back on earth.

At the same gig you can hear  a pin drop. The music is taking you away again and a couple of people are talking loudly about mobile phones in front of you…what do you do?

No-one wants to be  a wanker and tell them to shut up…that’s just not British is it! so what’s the solution to this awkward moment. One argument is that you pay your money then you get to do what you like- the other is that they should shut the fuck up…afterall no-one sits in front of you talking crap at a cinema (well not often) but then music is full of people who don’t like music and prefer the sound of their own voices to the genius atmosphere coming off the stage.

So, readers, what is the answer to this?

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Joe Whyte is guitarist with punk rockin' Johnny Cash tribute Jericho Hill and reformed 70's punks Reaction. He has formerly played with End Result, Reverend Snakehips Country Messiahs, God-Fearing Atheists and many, many other failed attempts at rock notoriety. Joe also writes for Vive Le Rock and Louder Than War magazine. He lives in Glasgow and in his other less glamorous life works in mental health.


  1. People who talk at gigs! shut the fuck up! music lovers- what do you do?: our man is pissed off httpss://

  2. People who talk at gigs! shut the fuck up! music lovers- what do you do?: our man is pissed off httpss://

  3. I give them my best ‘I’m a psycho and I WILL kill you’ look and hopefully they move away. Works sometimes. :)

  4. This happened at a Patrick Duff gig once and he jumped off the stage and sang in their face! he seems to have calmed down a lot now though so can’t see him doing it again anytime soon.

  5. The solution, and I’ve seen it done and it works, is for the promoter or compere to announce at the start of the show and between the acts, “If you want to have a conversation rather than listen to the music, go into the other bar or wherever.” Then the audience feel entitled to shush anyone who forgets and starts talking or answers their phone.

  6. I tell them they should stay at the bar if they want to talk, don’t see how that makes me a wanker. I also tell people to stop filming the gig & just enjoy it if they’re holding their phone in my line of vision. Real music fans don’t talk at gigs, you could’ve heard a pin drop at Thurston Moore last week.

  7. I don’t mind people saying something between songs (as they might be reacting to what they’ve just seen)….but I have suffered some tedious wankers. The other night at Villagers I had gone really to see the support act Stealing Sheep and lots of folk were chatting in front of me. More tedious was at a quite bad gig by The Fall in Birmingham it was made worse by two pissed middle-aged sorts shouting at each other about punk music for the duration of the gig….Generally, all chatting should be done elsewhere or before/after the bands have come on…Not that I really like that Dead Can Dance/Low-style reverance….

  8. Last time I politely tapped them on the shoulder and pointed out that there was a perfectly good bar downstairs where they could chat in peace! Of course they then stated that they knew the band which somehow seemed to make it OK to chat through the set and proceeded to ‘overenjoy’ the rest of the gig. Mind you at least they shut up.

  9. A band should be powerful enough to shut up the crowd (saw Antony & the Johnsons once and this is what happened). Being quiet is not the issue, people who just stand still ‘being cool’ or just pointing their phone at the band is a much bigger issue. Audiences seem to afraid to let loose these days. Just my opinion of course :)

  10. It’s a pet hate of mine. The whole Blur set at Hyde Park was ruined for me last year because of it. The sound wasn’t great to start with and any chance to listen was blown away by a group of about 8 people next to us all talking loudly about some new IT system at work and ‘Janice’s boyfriend’ and why does she put up with him? When ‘Tender’ started up i lost my cool and shouted at them “Can you kindly shut the fuck up for one song at least?! I came here to hear this, not you!” They all went silent for a bit until one of the girls said “I don’t even know it!” then they all started talking again. When ‘Song 2’ started the same girl said “Ooo I actually know this one!” and started jumping up & down to it. It was the only time any of them took any notice of what was happening on stage. What was the point of them being there? They could have had exactly the same night down the pub, but ruined mine.

    • You are all a bunch of fucking losers!!!!! I will talk as loud as I want!!!! Fuck off you English Bastards. You guys are lucky the Nazi went to war with the Soviets cause you all would me talking Germany!!!!!

    • This. Every concert with one main stream act attracts these normies. They talk through or hate on the bands they’ve never heard of, and dampen the experience for those of us who actually enjoy live music. They are inevitably at every show, and I have started to avoid large concerts with mainstream acts because they suck the life out of the space around them. Like concert demons, sent from hell to ruin music.

  11. I went to a much looked forward to, very expensive Leonard Cohen gig last year. Our seats had a wide aisle behind them which people thought was a good place to stand and chat, very very loudly. One bloke was incredibly distracting and the lady in front of me got up once and went and asked the stewards to sort him out, but 10 minutes later he was at it again. By this time I was getting pretty cross myself so I leapt up to where this bloke was shouting at 2 stewards and asked him to bloody well shut up, to which he replied drunkenly that it was the stewards fault which enraged me so much that I stuck my face in his and hissed ‘IT WAS YOU!’ in such a menacing way that he left quite quickly! I hate to be a killjoy but particularly at gigs when the artist isn’t the noisiest thing in the world I want to be able to concentrate on them and enjoy the music.

  12. Depends very much on the band and the venue. Rock/punk type thing at the Academy, I’ll do what I like. Folk thing at the Bridgewater hall, STFU. The imposition of your quietest diktat at gigs is just as bad on the odd occasion though.

  13. Richard Hawley quickly sorted this out in Leeds the other months, just stopped playing, gave them a quick glance and asked them to shut the fuck up and stop acting like cun*s. Perfect!

  14. The other thing that hacked me right off at the same gig was that it was all seated and through his entire set half the audience were constantly getting up to go to and from the bar which meant being asked to move time and time again to let people in and out in the dark with drinks being spilt in your face and the noise and spoiling of the moment that getting in and out of the row produced! /rant over

  15. Some people are selfish. If you’re standing then you can move otherwise clap really loudly to the song with your hands level to their ears…annoying and they’ll get your point.

  16. This kind of behaviour annoys the crap outta me. It’s rude and disrespectful to both bands/artistes and audience members alike.
    I have, on a few occasions, had to tell people to be quiet.
    Unsurprisingly, it’s usually the drunken assholes who are the worst and who usually have the worst reactions to being told to zip it.

    I don’t mind people singing along and (as someone else mentioned) discussing what they’d just seen on stage after a song has finished but to talk all the way through a gig is just so fucking wrong.

    I recently told a group of people to quit chattering away through the ‘quieter’ songs being played on stage and explained that I’d paid a lot of money and waited years to listen to the singer playing live, NOT to hear a bunch of fucking monkeys sreeching down my ear’oles.

    Another instance was when I went to see some ambient artistes playing some live sets. Most of the tracks being played were atmospheric / quiet tracks and hearing groups of people talking over the music was just plain fucking annoying.
    What was more annoying was that each time the person on stage finished one track, the annoying assholes stopped talking and started clapping, as if they’d enjoyed listening to what was being played, then as soon as the next track started, they set off chuntering again. Wankers.
    And don’t get me started on the tall, lanky assholes who always stand in front of you recording every fucking track to upload onto Youtube when they get home without actually watching the gig live while they’re there.
    Rant over.

  17. Wife and I scared off some douchebags at a Springsteen show who seriously didn’t know the difference between RICK SPRINGFIELD and Bruce. We went off, angrily, and they left. The first four songs were a lost cause but then they left so we were good. ;)

  18. Go round to their’s and shat in their Doritos while they’re sat watching X-Factor like the selfish morons they are. Just a suggestion, like . . .

  19. Tell them to shut up or piss off. Saw Miles Hunt acoustic show a few years back and he stopped and told them to shut the fuck up. Same applies at football matches when people are talking about anything bar the game in front of them.

  20. Talking at gigs really pisses me off. Save the chat for later, you’re here to experience some music. I saw Damien Rice once stop a song to ask folk to shut up and he was applauded for it. If ye want to talk, go outside, the rest of us want to listen, sing along, cheer .. but not chatter

  21. It seems you’ve struck a chord with this topic! I had to speak up last week at an accoustic gig when two drunken arses pushed their way to the front mid-way through and proceeded to talk and fall about onto everyone around them. I spoke to one of them, who then tried to start a conversation with me, but eventually gave up. They continued to be annoying and needed another prod or two from people around them, but all in all it was worthwhile telling them.

    You’re right it’s not a very British thing to do, but on the occasions I have spoken up, sometimes people have congratulated/thanked me afterwards – obviously too timid to say something themselves. Speak up guys, and don’t just sit there seething!!

  22. Talking and updating chuffin facebook drives me mad. Last year at the stranglers some chavvy bloke started to chat me up during the concert – he would not get the hint at all, in the end I said to him “Why have you come to this concert when you are not bothered about watching them” he just said “Its my mates stag night” Jeez.

  23. You get a very firm grip on the persons collar, then drag them out of the venue, kick em in the bollocks and leave them to wallow in the kerb.

  24. If you hear people talking the PA needs to be louder.
    I can’t stand people who Shhhhh their way through a show or give people their most ferocious look (which makes them look like a dick). Really, maybe you should stay home and put on a live dvd.

    • Spoken like the shallow, the world revolves around me, life form that you truly are. A concert is for listening. Is that simple enough for you?

  25. I normally turn to them and ask if the music is ruining their conversation. Only once did they not get the hint and that was because they were not English

  26. Its never going to stop. Human nature remains as always. Some people are selfish twats and always will be. Whether they are at a gig or not. Unless you want to become Gig Police its how it is sometimes.

  27. I was working at a gig a few years ago where there were two guys stood behind me nattering incessantly through a particularly atmospheric set. In typical British fashion the best other audience members could manage was a few dirty looks & some shuffling away, so it fell to me to intervene.
    “Excuse me, did you actually pay to see this show?”
    “Yes. Why?”
    “Well like most people here I want to hear the band, not your inane babbling. How about you either shut the fuck up or walk over to the bar behind you & have your conversation there, you inconsiderate wankers?”

  28. A few years ago at a New Model Army acoustic gig Justin Sullivan asked for people at front to shut up or go outside or he would leave. They didn’t shut up, the band walked off and the gig was over. Maybe a bit drastic but the point was made and the culprits were left to face some very p*ssed off fans.

  29. People will always talk and they’re ignorant cunts because of it. You just have to hope they shut the fuck up. We had the misfortune of standing upstairs at the O2 Academy in Bristol last year behind a couple of talkers. They had a prime spot against the barrier too, so not only did they talk most of the time, but they took a decent spot to do it. The ultimate ignominy.

    The other pisser for me is when people get on other people’s shoulders and completely block your vision. This happened at Hyde Park Calling in 2006(?) when Aerosmith headlined. Some bitch got on her boyfriends shoulders – I left them to it for maybe 2 songs, then went up to them and said “do you want to get the fuck down? I paid £65 to see the band not your fucking arse!”. She got down too. Plus there was no retaliation which I was quite pleased about. When I got back to my spot, the people around us actually applauded me!

  30. You pay good money to see your favourite band, you’re in a good spot & someone starts yacking – you can either put up or move – therefore have a choice, however if you’re unfortunate to be in an all seated gig (why oh why) & the people either behind or in front start yacking your choices truly are limited!
    We once asked a couple not to chat & were verbally abused for it to the point of wishing the floor would open!!
    Alcohol at gigs is great until people get so pissed they forget they’ve paid money to see live entertainment!!

  31. I once told a whole group of women at a WOMAD Festival to shut up as they were ruining a gig for everyone else and if they didn’t like the music, which as they were being abusive to the singer (Natacha Atlas, they clearly didn’t. I finished my rant at them by saying ‘so why don’t you all fuck off’, I got a round of applause from everyone else and they did indeed go away. I’ve been at a couple of gigs recently where people talking was a real problem – Bat For Lashes & Noah & The Whale, which was actually hard to hear because of the general natter. These gigs weren’t one or two people chatting but loads of people, I don’t know why they were there. As a performer myself, I have never had a problem in telling people to shut up or fuck off. I think it’s down to performers to do this rather than other audience members. This along with trying to see the stage through a crowd of mobile phones is making the prospect of going to a gig less enticing than it used to be. Even at nearly 50 I can still cope with being elbowed in the ribs and having my feet stamped on but talking and mobiles are just intolerable!

  32. it’s incredibly rude. i hate it.
    i’ve been thinking for a while of getting a special gig vest printed, to be revealed at an opportune moment: ‘please STFU! i can’t hear the band’ printed on the back, and ‘THANK YOU!’ on the front

  33. Comes down these days to some people not being music fans. They are there for their Facebook moment I like to remind them them that an Artist is working in front of them it’s called “A performance”

  34. Just had the modern day experience of this at the Stone Roses last weekend in Finsbury. Group of ‘I dare say ‘kids’ as i’m fast approaching late 30’s spent most of their time shouting at each other and taking pictures of each other almost oblivious to the Roses playing. Moved away in the end and enjoyed the gig away from them. Made me think, did they go as they were fans or just to be the hip kids that were there?

  35. People standing silent like penguins at energetic gigs is weird to me and kills the atmosphere. As a performer I’d prefer people to be partying, dancing and communicating, best gigs I’ve been to have had this and the most tolerant people. Hi-fi and 4K is ther for quality private viewing.


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