What Ruins Gigs For You? NME Writers On Their Live Show Bugbears

It’s one thing leaving a gig early because the band are simply having an off night. After all, life’s too short to stick around for the encore when the band you just shelled out £15 to see are wailing so hideously out of tune you walk out actually hoping your tinitus kicks in soon. But what about all the other stuff at shows that has you headed for the venue door? Here’s 10 non-musical irritants ruining gigs for everybody in 2014.

Rubbish attempts at political speeches
“I was at a Black Eyed Peas show. I’d gone to impress a girl I was dating at the time who was into them (SHUT UP ALRIGHT, WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE). The songs were bad enough – pop-rap abominations so sugary I thought I was contracting life-threatening diabetes just listening. But I could stomach those. It was the “political” speeches between songs that made me abandon ship barely halfway through. “There’s a lot of war going on in this world… it makes you wonder,” bleated one of the ones that wasn’t Fergie or walking personality black hole Will.i.am. “Why have wars when we could just all get along?” Someone tell the UN! Why had no one thought of that other option before now?! I barked some sort of excuse about feeling sick in my date’s ear and waited across the road in a chippy (SO CLASSY!) while her and her friends somehow enjoyed the rest of the gig. In case you’re wondering, no, it didn’t last between us.”
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.com

Bad setlist picks
“Seeing Neil Young live is always a gamble. As a long-time fan, I snapped up tickets for what was billed as Neil Young Acoustic in 2003. Some weeks after shelling out over 50 quid each for the tickets, the billing changed to Neil Young’s ‘Greendale’ Live. The show featured a relentless two hours of concept album-based entertainment; mostly, Neil shouting environmental slogans into a megaphone while a painter interpreted his performance. A lot of people left, understandably. But then, for the encore, he played a sublime 30 minutes of his greatest songs, as if to say, ‘Here’s what you could have won’. I’ve not listened to ‘Greendale’ since, but I have seen Neil three more times, and had three unforgettable experiences – for the right reasons.”
Dan Stubbs, News Editor

Idiot tough guys moshing
“I saw Royal Blood at The Great Escape back in May. I don’t have any problem with moshing and rough and tumble, but a load of Neanderthal pricks invaded the front of the crowd, physically dragging and shoving everyone out of their way, which alienated pretty much every woman from the front of the venue. It sucked.”
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor

Rubbish attempts at motivational speeches
“The last show I walked out of was a few years ago when Jessie J was first starting out. Going along to the Scala in Kings Cross (arguably the worst venue in London, though that’s another blog for another time) she played a set that was about 1/3 music and 2/3’s inane chat. I don’t mind the odd bit of between song banter but this felt like being trapped in a lift with a parrot who had just read a self-help book. I left with the mind blowing knowledge that you can’t love somebody else until you love yourself and with the chorus to ‘Price Tag’ stuck in my head. What a disaster.”
David Renshaw, news reporter

Hypocritical stage banter
“Terrible sound? Crowd acting like pricks? The band playing a bunch of unfathomable b-sides? My reason to walk out on a gig was none of those. It was recent, too. In fact, it was only last weekend, at London’s Wireless festival. It didn’t matter that it was on a bill in an outdoor space. I would have walked out wherever it was. And, no, it wasn’t Kanye’s 10-minute rant It was Pharrell Williams. His between-song comments seemed so hypocritical to me, I simply didn’t want to hear anymore. He spoke about how 2014 was the “year of the woman”, in some kind of faux-appreciation of the “laaaadies”. This while stood in front of a backing group of women dancers, and shortly before performing the objectionable ‘Blurred Lines’. If we wanted to be sending a positive message he wouldn’t be doing it with tired cliches and performing revolting lyrics. And before you ask: I had bought a ticket to be there.”
Greg Cochrane, NME.com Editor

OTT stageshows making you feel like you’re in a circus
“I almost walked out of the Miley Cyrus ‘Bangerz’ tour earlier this year because it was just too much. It was like eating 20 packets of Adderall-crusted Haribo while being water-boarded next to Tigger on a roller-coaster at an erotic nightmare version of Chessington World Of Adventures. Simultaneously hilarious while being the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
Lucy Jones, NME.com Deputy Editor


Idiots in the crowd chatting all the way through
“I went to see Wild Beasts, my most beloved band of all time, play an intimate gig at London’s The Lexington. They were playing their third album Smother, one of the most wondrous things the world has ever known, in full earlier this year. And it was great, except for one complete prat in front of me who would not stop chatting. Incessant chatting. Endless chatting. Chatting so banal and boring and distracting I nearly flounced. I stopped myself in the end; it was too special an experience to miss. But I can’t help but think it could have been just that little bit more magical if it weren’t for that annoying person nearby who, not content with being bored themselves, seemed unaware that their persistent buzz was marring it for the rest of us, too.”
Ben Hewitt, writer

Too big a guestlist meaning loads of annoying music industry dickheads
“I went to a Jungle gig earlier that year that seemed to be 80% music industry people. It kills the vibe a bit – with actual fans outnumbered by A&Rs, there’s not the same sense of excitement and anticipation.”
Paul Frazer, writer

People using iPads

“Nothing kills the magic and rock ‘n’ roll edge of being at a live gig quite like the guy next to you spending the entire thing holding an overpriced tablet in the air. Do you really need to film the show? And if so, do you really need a device the size of kitchen chopping board to do that? It drives me round the bend.”
Taylor Heathers, writer

General crowd gobiness
“One hot summer’s day last year I made the epic voyage to Finsbury Park to watch Stone Roses play one of their legendary reunion shows. I was a bit too eager, refused to take a peripheral position and got ‘involved’ with the crowd (mainly to try and get closer to Ian Brown’s mouth so I could make out what he was singing via lip-reading). Yes, I was doused in urine. Yes, I was heckled by crowd members and yes, it took two hours to get back through the crowds, into Finsbury Park tube station and safely on the train home. I only enjoy Stone Roses now the way I always did: in the comfort of my own home.”
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor