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Posted at 5:52 PM ET, 12/ 8/2008

Bouncer, I'm Only Dancing

By David Malitz

At the scintillating Love Is All show Saturday night at the Rock and Roll Hotel, something happened that bothered me. The second the spunky Swedish indie-pop band hit the stage and tore into "Wishing Well" (check it out on the December Mixtape, definitely one of the best songs of the past few months), one concertgoer started to get excited. Very excited. He moved up to within a few feet of the stage and starting bouncing around with reckless abandon, bumping into a few people, reaching over another couple of people to high-five some band members, turning around to face the rest of the crowd while hooting and hollering and generally acting like, well, someone who's a little drunk would act when witnessing a great band kicking it into high gear on a Saturday night.

He continued to pogo around, sometimes falling back into the stationary folk standing in front of him or beside him. Was it slightly distracting? Sure. Would I have been annoyed if I was one of the people who kept getting bumped into? Maybe, probably. This was a big dude after all, at least 6'4" and a couple of bills. If he leaned back on you, you'd feel it. This has happened to me plenty of times over the course of my concertgoing lifetime. There are a few ways you can deal with it. Push back is the first. And I don't mean in a violent way, just to let the person know what's going on. This wasn't some Rage Against the Machine mosh pit. This was just a guy overcome with joy and with a relative lack of limb control. He wasn't trying to start anything. He was just enjoying himself. As were plenty of other folks who were dancing up a storm, mostly on the side of the stage. The people he kept knocking into were surely enjoying the show, but were standing perfectly still. Some other people in his general vicinity were taking pictures (for Pitchfork, apparently) and shooting some grainy video that they will upload to YouTube and never watch again.

But eventually the tall, unruly rabblerouser was led away by a club bouncer. People actually applauded this. I scoffed.

Look, it ain't the opera. It ain't Strathmore, it ain't the Birchmere. I mean, the club is even called the Rock and Roll Hotel. And you're not going to let someone bounce around a bit while enjoying a show? Just so people can stand still and gaze at the band? And I say this as someone who is stationary at pretty much every show I go to. If someone likes to enjoy things in a more physical manner, I'm not going to complain. Does anyone remember Crazy Larry? How about the current guy (who can usually be found at all the post-punk icon shows) I call the Leaping Whooper? I wish I could enjoy a show on as primal a level as those guys and the dude from the Love Is All show. But apparently I'm in the minority there. Better be civilized and stay in your own little space. Or else.

-- David

By David Malitz  | December 8, 2008; 5:52 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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>Better be civilized and stay in your own little space. Or else.

If only that were actually the case 99% of the time. These kind of people are obnoxious and can't stand not being the center of attention. As a paying customer, and usually as one who has stood in line a long time to get and protect a good spot, I dislike anything that distracts from what I spent my time and money to see. People like this who are a _continuous_ distraction should be warned once and then removed, if necessary.

Posted by: USA117 | December 8, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with those who experienced annoyance. Picture yourself in the same situation, but 5'2" and female. I find overly boisterous people like that which you described to be not only annoying but sometimes threatening! I tend to try the push back method, but I've had drunk men over 6' turn on me, and it was not good. Staying in your space is definitely a good thing, especially when there are those who take up not so much space around you. Small people should get to enjoy a concert too - and no, I am not jumping into mosh pits!

Posted by: mb33 | December 9, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I was at the show (standing directly behind that Pitchfork photographer, apparently). The guy wasn't just bumping into people, he literally fell on one girl half his size and crushed her into the stage and the band's amp. And then he kept on trying to jump on that girl and her friend, until they got fed up and left. Dancing's one thing, but injuring other people? When they ejected him, he was also bothering the band and likely not far from trying to get up on stage or messing with their equipment.

Posted by: misere | December 9, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

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