Why Are there So Many Douchebags at Dallas Shows? A Simple Guide to Etiquette

Remember, those are fellow humans you are crushing over what appears to be broken snacks.
Remember, those are fellow humans you are crushing over what appears to be broken snacks.
Ian Witlen

It occurs to me that, at Dallas gigs, there are a greater than average number of people whom I would politely refer to as rapscallions. That is, they seem determined to waste the time, energy and patience of the average gig-going person like you or me with a series of tiresome antics. None of these people have the self-awareness that should be necessary to be allowed into heavily crowded public places.

I almost feel like some sort of test should be required. It could be a very simple test, using questions like "Given the idea that a person is standing directly behind you, is the appropriate course of action a) to throw your beer straight up in the air and shout 'WOO!', b) to jump around in the manner of a 5-year old who has had far too much Mountain Dew, c) consider switching from iPad to iPhone when recording the events occurring directly in front of you or d) to briefly consider their presence when performing an action that might inhibit their experience?"

A couple of examples I have witnessed in the area include a man simply trying to punch everyone in a Dillinger Escape Plan moshpit at the Prophet Bar (with a kind of whirling-arms motion and a glazed look in his eyes) before charging the stage to remonstrate with the keyboard player for playing a slower number. No, really. He reckoned without the DEP being double-hard, unfortunately, and the keyboard player tore his shirt clean off before throwing him back into the crowd. At that point the culprit was "escorted," shirtless, out of the venue by four members of the crowd, before the gig continued unabated.

My wife nearly got in a fight at the Palladium seeing Primus, after a particularly enthusiastic girl decided that the optimum place to jump and down would be her poorly protected foot. Rather than apologizing, the girl simply started shouting back, then hid behind her boyfriend. One friend of mine has got into fights that he didn't start at two Trees gigs in a row at which he was simply trying to stop other fights. Also at Trees, I saw one guy get punched after he took the somewhat questionable decision of dry-humping a large, hairy man who was leaning on the stage at the front. I have gone into circle pits simply to make them stop after they get out of control, I have had my view blocked by a million iPhones, I have sat next to people who talked loudly at plenty of seated gigs and I have had many, many drinks spilled on me. This is not to mention the people with the divine right to stand farther forward than you, who just simply push until you get out the way, and then stand directly in front of you.

So Dallas, what gives? Are all cities like this? Is my experience far away from the usual? Every time I go out, I know something like this is going to happen. I could be a magnet. And how do they work?

In honor of all the douchebags, there is a quick etiquette guide on the next page, so you too can not be a bastard.   Refrain from punching someone for just one evening

All you have to do is not hit someone. It can't be that difficult, otherwise you'd definitely be in jail by now. If you feel like you're about to get a bit punchy, punch the air in appreciation of that live music you, and everyone else around you, paid to see.

Wait until after the gig to discuss non-gig matters

While there might indeed be some shocking work gossip, or you may not have seen someone for a while, the hours before and after the gigs are ideal times to discuss these matters. Talking loudly throughout the experience you are attending, which coincidentally is also expressed aurally, is something that gets more ridiculous the quieter the gig. By all means, shout in your friend's ear at a metal gig, after all, they're the sucker that has to put up with your insight of "this gig is loud!"

Stop recording the entire goddamn show, you goddamn bastard

Yep. There's a light show, and some sounds, and you have a device that cannot competently capture either of these things. So, why not distract yourself and everyone around you by creating a permanent record of the event which you will never watch? It's not so bad if you record fifteen seconds, just as like a "holy shit look at this gig I went to the other day!" sort of proof documentation thing, but recording entire gigs, as I have seen a few people do, is just the worst. Bonus points for talking through the gig and offering director's commentary.

Try not to smash or crush others while jumping around

Look, everyone likes a good jump up and down to exuberant music. Also, I'm much younger than I sound right now. Nevertheless, if you are going to do this, try to remain vaguely aware of the location of your limbs during the process, and if you feel like you're going backwards, check to make sure there isn't someone there who has no escape from your thunderous advances.

If you're tall, be vaguely considerate

I am tall myself, and it is undoubtedly a blessing at pretty much every gig. But I always try to remain aware of people I am standing in front of, and to at least give them an angle to see the stage. My wife, who is pretty small, has had entire gigs where all she can see is the ceiling. Sometimes I go down to her eye level to see what I can see. It's bad news. Worst of all is when some tall guy with incredibly expansive hair stands four inches in front of her. At that point she may as well be listening to a really loud CD for all the experience she's having. Just remain aware of who's around you and remember they're just as special as you, okay?

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