Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Has this shortarse been to his last standing gig?

Last night I went to see Esperanza Spalding at Koko. She was good. However I fear that unless I have a belated growth spurt this may be the last standing gig I go to. The last time I went to Koko was to see M.Ward. He played sitting down which meant that there was no chance of me catching sight of him at all from my position on the floor.

This time I got there earlier and I was on my own which meant I could find a niche up in the Gods where I could see the stage. The problem was that as more and more people arrived they took up positions on the stairs in order to get a view and I was hemmed in, unable to move forward, backwards or sideways. Theatregoers or football fans wouldn't remain standing in the same place for 90 minutes before the entertainment begins. Why do music fans put up with it?

Some of the best gigs I've ever been to were at old theatres like Koko but that was in the days when I hadn't been up since six in the morning. The experience was still novel enough for me to put up with the discomfort. I'm not sure I'm going to do it any more. I spoke to Esperanza Spalding this morning. She explained she played venues where they could get enough paying customers in to enable her to pay her 12-piece band. That makes sense for her. Nonetheless this short arse resigns.


  1. I'm not a short arse but I agree completely. Last gig I saw was Sigur Ros at Ally Pally. I'm 6'1" and found it hard to see - simply for want of a raked floor. When you're paying £30 (at least) and upwards you should expect a venue thats 'fit for purpose'

  2. I do think the stage at Koko is too high, which doesn't help matters. But I too find standing gigs a trial, what with the nitwits recording gigs on mobiles (and now iPads!) and those constantly nipping to the bar and spilling half their lager over you on their return. And pushing their way to the front with confidence, even though the rest of us have been there for ages.

    I bit the last bloke that did that.

  3. Joe Strummer used to get all you short arses to stand at the front and the big boys (and girls) to stand at the back. Bless 'im.

  4. It is a struggle at 5' 4", but I usually manage to see something. It is annoying when I can hear an instrument but not the musician, or I can't see areas of the stage so i don't know how many people are in a band.

    Worst football game: when Arsenal beat Spurs 5:0 I didn't see any of the goals.

  5. I'm 6'1", and 51 years old. I always make the supreme effort to get to the front at gigs, but the combination of both my height and my obvious age means that on several occasions in the past I have been asked (usually by teenage girls) if I would move and let them get to the front. I always say no. I say it politely, but I say no. Whenever I tell anyone this after the event, I get looks that range from shock to out and out disgust, but my argument is that if at my age I can still be bothered to get to the venue early and queue up in the wind and rain in order to get a decent viewpoint, then it's not my problem if others are stood behind me. Once, while waiting for Primus to come on in Manchester, I watched someone pay a young couple a tenner each to allow him to move from his 'second row' standing position to their spot at the barrier, a total distance of at the most ten inches. Is that what it's come to? Not only do the well-off now have the option of buying their way to the front row of seats via eBay, but they think they can now do the same at standing venues as well? I don't even know what point I'm trying to make with that one...