Don’t Get Me Started: Keep It Buttoned

Oi, you. Yeah, you. Stood by the mixing desk. Banging on about your irritable bowel syndrome. Wittering on about your loft insulation. Do you think you could shut up? Do you think you could do that, just for the next 35 minutes? Some of us are trying to watch an aspirant singer-songwriter spin gossamer tales of cruelly dashed love here. But it’s hard to immerse ourselves in her worldview when you’re loudly discussing your undescended testicle.

Look, I’m not necessarily saying that punters should have their mouths gaffer-taped at the venue door. Hey, this is Friday night. Feel free to whoop, chant, holler, heckle, howl and humorously request Free Bird. That’s fine: you’re responding to events unfolding on the stage. What I don’t get is the rise of the punter who forks over their entry fee, takes up their position in the crowd, then launches into a monologue about the best B-roads to take between Solihull and Sunderland. Why are they here? More importantly, why don’t they piss off?

It’s just about bearable during the more rocking songs, when the sheer grunt of the Marshall stack means that nobody can hear about Brian’s stomach cramps after trying that new Italian place on the high street. It’s in the quieter moments that the gobshites really grate. Y’know, when a performer leaves an emotionally pregnant, perfectly weighted pause before delivering the final payoff line – and some foghorn-voiced Brummie fills it with a complaint about the refund policy at Sofaland.

We come to gigs for escapism, not to hear your banal prattle. If you can’t pipe down, go to the pub. If you persist, then prepare to be gaffer-taped./o:p

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.