The Moment An Ulster Hall Gig Review Turned Into A Social Observation Of 8 NI Concert Goers

A NIGHT at the legendary Ulster Hall to see The Vaccines could not pass without writing this piece.

Normally any piece would involve a review of the band and whilst it was a noisy, energetic show that I thoroughly enjoyed, some might say inspite of my 41 years and not because of them.

On this occasion I decided against reviewing the band and decided to review the crowd.

Be mindful that this is no reflection of The Vaccines but a new found fascination of the types of people who go to gigs.

The Vaccines

I think it is safe to say that the same groups of people I will talk about here exist at gigs the length and breadth of every country in the world, I suspect without exception.

Firstly I’m leaving age out of this discussion as whether it’s The Vaccines, The Rolling Stones or The Foo Fighters, and I’ve seen them all, the variations in age will have no relevence.

Bring this checklist with you to any gig and I have no doubt you will find your own concert go-er to add. There is no order of importance attached to this list, just my observations from a noisy, sweaty, alcohol fuelled (following Drink Aware guidelines obviously) late summer evening.

My 8 NI Concert Goers:

1. The Taxidermist Dummy

This person will just stand there like a stuffed animal lovingly created by the said Taxidermist.
No matter what happens at the gig, swaying crowds, drunk people crashing in to you or people pushing past you to make it in time to the toilet between songs, they will remain steadfast on an imaginary plinth and not move a muscle for around 90 minutes.
Even the cries from the band frontman to raise your hands or jump around falls on deaf ears. “No I’m not moving” they say.
The worst bit for the Taxidermist Dummy must be that first step after the gig when rigamortis has set it.

2. The Muso

They are there for exactly that. The music and nothing else matters to them. No amount of lights, stage production or fireworks will impress them.
It’s safe to say they know everything about the band, every album, every song, every piece of both useless and useful information and if you had a day and a half to spare you too could know all this.
They will though be impressed by the iconic music venue mainly due to the fact it has been filled so many times by legends of the music industry including Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher, Def Leppard and Big Country but it’s just that and the music for them.

Music lover

3. The Headcase (A Northern Ireland term for someone who is somewhat over exuberant)

They are at every gig. Their mindset is that they are the only person at the show.
It’s a jump around, wave your arms, scream and shout and a blatant disregard for the other 1,499 people at the gig type of attitude.
We can all appreciate that like everyone else he has bought his ticket and is entitled to enjoy themselves as they see fit but when they crash into you for the seventh time and have spilt your drink on at least 4 occasions you are fully within your rights to question them.
You should note this should be undertaken with an air of caution as the reply is likely to contain a number of four letter expletives, a questioning of your parentage and a look that would bore a hole in a foot thick steel door.
My only advice is question at your own peril.

4. The “I Know Every Word” Fan

Having listened to the bands album 64 times they now know every word of every song which, for the person standing beside them especially, can ultimately only spell disaster.
You won’t ever hear the band’s singer singing because “I Know Every Word” is singing every song at the top of their voice and 9 times out of 10 it will be out of tune.
I admit it is a difficult thing to do to suppress the urge to sing along but save it for the bedroom mirror with a hairbrush, the shower or best of all the car.

people at concert

5. “I know Every Word’s” Kid Brother

I can’t pass without reference to this person. There are actually two of them.
One is called “I Know Some Of The Words”, who you will only hear singing along every so often which isn’t so bad compared to his kid brother “I know None Of The Words” who inspite of this fact manages to sing along all night with made up lyrics, wildly out of tune and at some 120db.
He is most definitely the most annoying of the “Word” siblings.

6. The Couple

Stuck to each other all night, smooching and generally paying little attention to the gig.
Will not separate due to the fear that if they do the singles will steam in and try to make a move on their partner.
They end up at the loo 14 times even though one half of the couple only needs to go twice (see fear detailed previously).
The Alpha Male also displays an aggressive nature should you venture within 3 feet of his woman’s airspace and by the time they realise the headliners are on they have just played their final song and the house lights (showing my age!!) have come up.
My advice?. Save yourself £70 on tickets, stay home on the sofa, visit the toilets separately and watch the X Factor.

7. The “No Chance I will Remember This In The Morning”

The staple of every gig the world over no matter who the artist is.
The plan is half day off work, hit the pub around 2, drink serious amounts of alcohol (obviously ignoring any advice given by Drink Aware) and by the time the band hits the stage at 9.30pm the said person is lying in a heap in the corner.
Next day he claims to have seen the gig and reckons it was the best show he has ever been at.

man at festival

8. The Face Licker

There was another unique concert goer that night. Seeing someone standing beside another person, sticking their tongue out and licking their face.
Not even sure if they knew each other other but it made me laugh. In a nutshell “The Face Licker”

That’s it.

No doubt other people will come up with a huge list of other gig goers I’ve missed, mainly due to the fact I actually went to see a band.

And for those interested in The Vaccines: