The 10 Worst Concert Buzzkills

All illustrations by Noah Van Sciver

By Dave Herrara
As vastly different as our tastes are when it comes to music, there's one thing we can all agree on, and that's our distaste for and subsequent amusement/bemusement/resentment with certain individuals who insist on behaving badly at shows. You know who we're talking about: the Talker (universally loathed by everyone), the Setlist Adviser, the Overserved, the Show-off, the Director. Not that we're judging here or anything. God knows we've all broken at least one of these supposed rules of rock. Have you? Check out our field guide of the 10 biggest concert buzzkillers to find out. Oh, and after you peruse the original list here, be sure to check out the 5 newest killers that have just been added to the lineup.

Noah Van Sciver

10. The Show-off
I think we can all agree that extroversion, as a trait, is a very important part of our existence. Without it, of course, we'd all be soulless drones, completely content to watch sitcoms and keep to ourselves. But this is more than that. These individuals aren't just there for the show -- they are the show. The attire of these bashful blokes varies dramatically depending on the person and the show, but it generally ranges from weirdos wearing life-sized, stuffed-animal getups and looking like liberated outcasts from a furry convention to others wearing, well, nothing, except for duct tape, a spirit hood and maybe body paint.

See also: The five new buzzkillers that have been added to the original lineup

Noah Van Sciver

9. The Overserved
We're not just talking drunk here. We're talking Otis drunk. I mean, sloppy and obnoxious. Oh, and loud. Did we mention that they're loud? There's no distinction between indoor versus outdoor voice here. Likewise, there's no discernible filter. These people say whatever the hell is on their mind at any given moment -- to any- and everybody within earshot. Best to steer clear when you see this individual coming, lest you be subjected to their unpredictable wiles. And by unpredictable, we mean one minute, they're slobbering on you, oversharing and all up in your personal space, and the next thing you know, it's all projectile vomiting and/or pissing their pants and in serious danger of being carted off to detox.

Noah Van Sciver

8. The Maniac
Occasionally, you'll run into this dude (and we say dude here because, well, it's mostly dudes) at the occasional indie rock or hip-hop show, but mostly, you'll find him at mainstream metal shows. He's the one with his shirt off, pacing like a caged animal, clamoring for the music to begin. And whoo-boy, once it does, look out! Hide your wife, hide your kids, as Antoine Dodson would say. It's like this guy's been suppressing his anger his entire life, just waiting for someone, anyone -- C'mon! Fucking bring it already! Grrr! -- to crush. This gent is not to be mistaken for those taking part in the time-honored tradition of expression, but rather, this über-violent steakhead is simply spoiling for a fight -- sweaty, adrenalized, all fists flying, and fueled by blind, misdirected rage.

See also: The five new buzzkillers that have been added to the original lineup

Noah Van Sciver

7. The Karaoke King
If this person's devotion to the band wasn't already evident -- from the tattoo (or multiple tattoos, depending on the level of adoration) to the freshly pressed vintage T-shirt to the fact he or she has staked out a spot in front of the stage at least four hours before said act even took the stage and hasn't moved a muscle since -- he or she will be kind enough to remind you by singing every word of every song along with the band. Some legitimately know every word. Most don't, but that certainly doesn't stop them from expressing their fandom.

Noah Van Sciver

6. The Setlist Adviser
You know what every band love more than anything, more than their moms, more than baseball, hell, even more than free beers in the green room? When fans yell out the name of whatever minor hit(s) they've had. While everybody else probably wants to hear those songs, too -- I mean, presumably, that's kinda why they bought a ticket, yeah? -- unlike everybody else, the Setlist Adviser is verbalizing this desire. And, no, really, the band love it. We checked. The guys say it lets them know who their true fans are. And so, anyway, when the band finally cave and play the request demand, well, you know where that came from. You're welcome.

See also: The five new buzzkillers that have been added to the original lineup

Noah Van Sciver

5. Sun-Blocking Giant
This dude (again, mostly dudes) is the reason big-and-tall stores were invented. We're not talking a little tall here; we're talking Andre the Giant tall. Like, when he stands in front of you -- which, naturally, he will -- he blocks out the sun. You're very cognizant of this because, well, not only is he towering over you, but he's also casting a shadow on the entire crowd. Somehow, despite all this, he's completely unaware of his giant status and chooses to stand in front of you -- all of 5-foot-nothing who sits on a stack of phone books just to drive.

Noah Van Sciver

4. The Director
Next to the Talker, these are perhaps the most baffling of the bunch. They go to the effort of coming out to a concert, right? You'd think it's for the live experience, you know, so they can see their favorite band in the flesh and all, but they spend the bulk of their time watching the show through the display on their phones, like they're watching TV! Worse, they shoot the show (or film it, as the case may be) -- the whole damn thing -- as though they're being paid. Evidently, memories just aren't enough these days. Fact is, they're not being paid. We've seen their photos, and they're shit. Worse, the videos -- oh, man, the videos -- and don't even get us started on the crackling audio. Tell me I'm wrong; surely you've seen their handiwork on Facebook and YouTube.

See also: The five new buzzkillers that have been added to the original lineup

Noah Van Sciver

3. The Selfie (Obsessed)
Facebook is a wonderful thing. I mean, how else am I supposed to know what my long-lost pal Kevin from Mrs. Montgomery's second-grade class thinks of Obamacare? More important, perhaps, where else is everyone supposed to see what this person looks like mugging with their arms around the besties at the Lumineers show -- I mean, of course, besides those of those of us who were privileged enough to be on hand to see them snap those adorable selfies. Sure, everyone in the place was momentarily blinded by the not-at-all intrusive iPhone flash, but it was so totally worth it. I mean, like, these moments just don't last, you know? You've gotta capture them when you can.

Noah Van Sciver

2. The Talker
Everybody hates this self-absorbed jackass, even friends -- or at least they should. Seemingly oblivious to everything and everybody else around, this person is in his or her own universe, a world that the rest of us merely orbit, evidently. Doesn't really matter what's happening onstage; could be a band playing or a puppet show for all they care -- makes absolutely no difference. They're not here for the music. They're here to drink and hang out. Like it or not, before the night is over, you'll know entirely too much about this person's life because they simply won't Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Not for you. Not for anybody.

See also: The five new buzzkillers that have been added to the original lineup

Noah Van Sciver

1. The Show Bro
This loathsome gentleman is perhaps the most cavalier and subsequently detestable of the bunch. You can witness him embodying all the traits here and more, engaging in similar deplorable behavior from all these species, often in the same night. After slamming viciously into his fellow patrons, this shirtless, towering hulk will often pull out his phone and take a picture of the band or himself and his friends, and then make his way -- drunkenly, of course -- to the middle of the crowd, where he'll obliviously chat up his pals about all the talent in the building before proceeding to come on to all the unsuspecting ladies in the joint. Occasionally, he'll snap out of his stupor long enough to either sing along tunelessly with the band or shout out his setlist demands. Yessir, this dude's a keeper.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >