How to Behave at Sold-Out Shows: Stop Treating Humans Like Shrubs

Now, I'm no fireman, obviously, but it seems to me that when some standing room only venues sell out, they really sell out. I mean like you couldn't fit another person in there with a really big shoehorn. Sometimes these experiences can be traumatic. Other times they can be fantastic. Maybe you can make the difference. Here's how:

See also: -Music Etiquette archives -The Smashing Pumpkins Ruined My Joy, Again, Last Night at The Palladium

• The band's just come on stage. Due to a mix-up in going to the bar timing you find yourself at the back, stuck behind a now even more compact audience. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?! Do you accept your fate and stand at the back with your newly acquired drink that you now hate? Do you go around the edges of the crowd, looking for an acceptable avenue in or a decent space to stand? Or do you start at the back and push through people into no obvious space, delivering the odd pointed elbow to the ribs? If your answer is the latter, you suck. "WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!" is a question I often find myself hopelessly asking people at gigs as they push me aside to go to the special space I cannot discern among the throng of packed-in bodies.

• It is not acceptable to use this as an opportunity to fondle the person next to you. If you are a fondler, it's only fair to allow your prey at least one avenue of escape should they not enjoy your particular technique.

• Try not to stand in front of people much shorter than you all the time. Consider letting them go in front. It won't affect your view very much, and after experiencing your kind and well-rounded nature they may be more open to a quick fondle.

• On the security fence? Cling on for dear life and hope that you have a bladder of steel. Directly behind someone at a security fence? Don't, as I witnessed as one gig last year, pretend to dry-hump a stranger leaning over the fence, as he will almost certainly turn round and punch you. Then you'll both get thrown out. Mutually assured destruction!

• Put your empty cup on the floor. Don't fling it forward. Imagine if it hit a big burly guy, showering him in beer. That wouldn't go well for you.

• Don't try and form your own one-person moshpit! Two people are enough, though. Grab a friend and shake him to give the impression of a pit.

• If you find yourself unwittingly trapped in a pit you did not volunteer to be a part of, you can either stand and fight or get the hell out of there. Your decision might depend on the ferocity of the band and how quickly this pit formed. Three seconds into Cannibal Corpse? Get out. Now. Eight songs into Matchbox Twenty? How did this even happen? Stay so you can say you were there.

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Gavin Cleaver
Contact: Gavin Cleaver