Ten Rules of Mosh Pit Etiquette

All illustrations by Dave Watt.
By Jack Spencer

In my years attending punk and metal shows, often as the only one with a pen and pad in the middle, I've noticed that there are a few unwritten rules when participating in a mosh pit. The seemingly amorphous fits of aggression that explode from the center of certain crowds have some unspoken guidelines to keep in mind if you wish to engage properly with the spirit of violence.

Here are our ten rules of mosh pit etiquette.

See also: Top Ten Rules of the Rave: A Guide to Underground Dance Party Etiquette

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How Not to Interact With Female Musicians

Dear Josie & the Pussycats: Do you write your own songs?
[Ed note: Robin Edwards is a frequent contributor to our sister paper in Denver, Westword. She has played in several bands. Her solo project is called Lisa Prank.]

Sometimes I wonder what it was like before bands had Internet presences. Did creepy dudes just send their vaguely threatening messages to female musicians through the mail with locks of their hair? I've been thinking that might not have been out of the question ever since I received a Facebook message from a guy who went to one of my band's shows. He asked if he could be my stalker and added a goofy emoticon and a few "jk"s. I assume that was a way to hedge so that when I responded, he could pull the old, "I was joking! Don't be crazy!" card. Unfortunately, violence against women, which can certainly start with stalking, is a very real concern in our society, so it's not something you should joke about, especially with a complete stranger over the Internet.

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How to Not Get Groped By a Frat Guy

Timothy Norris
Ladies, let's not stand for this.
Recently, this disgusting letter was sent to Georgia Tech's Phi Kappa Tau members to teach them to hook up with drunk co-eds at parties. With lines like, "if anything ever fails, go get more alcohol," it reads like a date-rape manual.

But while frat parties have long been gross, the reality is that girls will keep showing up to such events as long as there is EDM and blue UV vodka. And so we offer step-by-step suggestions on how college gals can respond to this stupid manual -- and shut down these smug, collar-popped asshats.

See also: Guys, Predatory Dance Floor Boners Are Not OK

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How to Smoke at Shows Now That It's Not Cool Anymore


As legislatures all across the city and the state consider smoking bans of all size and scope, we thought it might be high time to remind smokers of the etiquettes of smoking at gigs. As someone who smokes, I'm well aware of the many social pitfalls of my death-inducing pursuit. I'm not Captain Buzzkill here from the Planet Square, but have some respect, eh?

See Also:
- Missouri Rep. Kathie Conway Proposes Penalty for Cities With Smoking Bans
- New Smoking Bans? City of St. Charles Now Considering "Smoke-Free Air Act"

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How to Behave at Quiet Shows: Shut Up and Put Your Phone Away

Meagan Puetz
Maybe give the guy a minute, yeah?
Now, we all know concerts, quite aside from genre, come in varying degrees of loudness. There are the kind of gigs (has anyone here seen Unsane?) where, even if you shout as loudly as you can directly into your friend's ear from an inch away, they will not be able to hear a word you're saying, due to the blood trickling from their ears. There are the medium-level gigs, like a pleasant indie band or a rock band that doesn't quite rock, where you can make yourself heard over the din.

Then, there are the quiet gigs, where the stillness is kind of the point of some, if not all, of the music. The sort where if the noise stops, it's an artistic break in the song, not the end of the song. Yet, I find myself more annoyed at these concerts than at almost any other concerts. These are the gigs where the loud, obnoxious idiot really comes into his own. Take a loud, obnoxious idiot (LOI for short) to a Slayer gig, and not only will he be utterly drowned out, if anything he'll add to the overall atmosphere. Take him to a Sigur Ros gig, though, and he will be a person for whom a new circle of Hell needs to be invented.

See Also:
- The Ten Biggest Concert Buzzkills: An Illustrated Guide
- The Top Ten Ways to Piss Off Your Bartender

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The Top Ten Ways to Piss Off Your Bartender at a Music Venue

bartender opener.jpg
Rob Boudon
When I'm not raking in the millions writing for music blogs, I, much like many of my fellow artsy-fartsies and anti-professionals, have to earn my dough in the service industry. Working directly with customers in any job can be a trying and frustrating experience, and especially in the bar industry where these customers are often carrying a small solar system of booze in their bellies. Even more difficult still is tending to these folks in a loud venue with a band playing 8 feet away. Every bartender wants to get you your drinks quickly and accurately -- working for tips, it's in our best interest to do so -- but the customer is not always right. Sometimes the customer is a big god damn wrong pain in the ass, in fact. Here's my top ten ways to get on our bad sides.

See also:
-The 15 Most Ridiculous Band Promo Photos Ever

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Six Tips On How To Be an Awful House Guest: Musician Edition

Two words: bathroom etiquette.
Editor's note: This post is half of a two-parter! Please read its companion post as well, Six Tips For Hosting Dirty Vagrants (Also Known as Touring Bands).

Musicians are selfish, entitled bastards. The most insidiously horrible ones tend to take their acts on the road, so as to gleefully mooch off the kindness of strangers. In a foreign land, they'd be burning through their earnings with motel fare or else trying to power nap in Wal-Mart parking lots if not for the kindness of unsuspecting strangers.

These musician leeches depend on promoters to book shows, open-minded patrons to buy records and wonderful people to house them. We have housed and been housed in our time, so we know full well that being a bloodsucker is no easy task. We're here to light the trail. Follow these breadcrumbs on your road to success at sapping your sanctuary of its owner's sanity.

See Also:
-Six Tips for Dating a Musician
-Six Tips for Dating a Musician: Female Edition
-Here's Why You Never Get Booked as an Opening Act

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Pitchfork Writes Lazy, Cynical, Dickish Thing: Surprise!

Shine on, you crazy blogging diamonds.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is playing the Old New Rock Festival in Ekaterinburg, Russia next month. The Springfield band will also -- at the request of the festival's organizers -- visit a school as part of an ambassador program. So that's a thing that is fairly cool. Not the most noteworthy thing SSLYBY has ever done (this won't be its first Russian show, even), but also not the least noteworthy, I suppose. But wait, guys: Did you know this band has a former Russian President's name in its name? It does! Boris Yeltsin! Pretty goofy, right? I'd make jokes about that coincidence, but Pitchfork's Larry Fitzmaurice already did it so well I hardly see the point.

See also:
-Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and Elsinore At The Firebird, 11/4/11: Review And Setlist
-Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin at Art Hill: Video
-Girl, Hold Me: Dragon Inn 3 Knows a Good Thing When it Sees One

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To The Asshole Who Sat Behind Me At the Springsteen Show in Kansas City

Photo by Mark Gilliland. Full slideshow: Bruce Springsteen at the Scottrade Center, 10/25/09
1. Yes, I know tickets are expensive. Especially to arena shows. But you know what the great thing is about these arena shows in this marvelous Internet age of ours? When you buy your ticket -- unless, of course, you got it from a scalper -- you can look at a little diagram of the arena that shows you where your seats are! Did you notice that section 222, where your seats are, is in the outermost of the three tiers, farthest from the little box marked "Stage"? That should be a sign to you that your seats are up high.

See also:
-Mind Your Fucking iPhones
-Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Do it Right: SXSW 2012
-Bruce Springsteen's evangelical nation baptized me in St. Paul

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Mind Your Fucking iPhones

Image via
For as long as tattooed cool kids have piled onto stages and jammed their little hearts out, there have been jerks in the crowd spewing bad vibes and threatening to ruin everyone's night. Whether it's the grown man who throws elbows at teenagers to get to the front, the drunk couple who's dry-humping and/or fighting throughout the set, the person heckling the opener for no good reason or the guy yelling at the solo performer to play that one hit from his other band, there will always be that self-absorbed idiot who lacks concern for anyone's show-going experience but his or her own.

But it's 2012, so those inconsiderate showgoers have smart phones. These amazing, near-magical devices that allow us to check-in, Tweet our friends to find them at the show and sometimes even pay our tabs, can not only make our lives easier and more fun, but allow us to record and document every minute of our mundane existences.

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