NWB - Community Blog


How do you cope with drunks at gigs?

Filed Under : Rants , Other

Posted By : The Wes Paul Band | Comments : 30

And if they try to invade stage or interupt show...?

I'm sure it's probably happened to everyone but what do you do when there is an annoying/out of control drunk in the audience who is getting in the way of the show? Where do you draw the line? And what do you do when they try to get up on stage, grab a microphone, or fall over drunk into your monitors/speakers???

Maybe it's just the kind of places we're playing, lol, but surely this has happened to other bands too?

It's happened to us twice in the last three gigs - one time a girl came round from the side and grabbed my hat off my head, then proceeded to fall backwards onto the floor and roll around on her back. Our lead singer stopped playing/singing the song, left the stage, got the hat back then came back and we started from where we'd left off!

Then the worst one was when this drunk guy had been dancing in front of us for like the whole show - which was fine no problem. The problem came when he tripped up over his own feet and fell into our stack of speakers, knocking them over and almost killing our lead guitarist who instead of trying to catch them just dived out of the way whilst still playing and never missed a note!! Luckily the speakers were OK, but on that occasion our lead singer said over the mic "we don't mind people dancing but don't come too close to the stage, this is expensive gear and we don't want it to get broke" etc etc or something along those lines.

How about you guys...? Any good/bad stories?


# Posted by Andy McCormack - 18/03/2011, 22:32 (GMT)

Very important this I reckon. My brother who is a brilliant musician won't play in a band as this is the type of thing he dreads. He's a powerful ex forces bloke but doesn't want the situation and it annoys me that this stuff happens and we're meant to cope with it.

Thankfully most people are just drunk and you can see it for what it is. Unfortunately some places individuals are out of order. Sometimes girls who can't handle their ale and think they can do what they want as they're untouchable. Sometimes blokes are PITA's but you can send them away eventually. And then there's cocaine and the type of w*****r that produces.

For me personally it has to be treated as water off a ducks back as the situation we put ourselves in gonna bring this type of thing. What gets me is when venues allow it to happen and don't intervene. They're not supposed to serve people who are obviously intoxicated but it increases their profits so they do.

If it got out of hand I would have faith in us getting out of the situation but why should I. If you have family members in the band it get a bit sticky and I would gauge every venue individually. Either get the venues assurance that no person of the calibre capable of causing such an issue would be permitted to enter, mention it to the bouncers or don't play there. It's not worth it. Maybe concentrate on clubs and corporate events.

This may not be what you were hoping for. I've had a beer and other people may have more constructive info.

# Posted by Pandemic - 18/03/2011, 22:53 (GMT)

Take them round the back, and beat the living shit out of them....

# Posted by The Wes Paul Band - 18/03/2011, 23:01 (GMT)

@ Andy. You made some interesting points there and I agree with you...it's just one of those things that comes with the job, however annoying it may be.

I think if it gets to the stage where an audience member is being disruptive to the show or causing a potential threat to the band's equipment, then the venue should take steps to ask them to leave, or to calm them down/remove them from the playing area. That's all I would ask really. I wouldn't want to put a downer on the night and stop people from enjoying themselves or expect people not to get drunk.

# Posted by Jez - 18/03/2011, 23:27 (GMT)

ffs!! whatever happened to rock and roll!!! Lets have seated pubs as well as arenas!! Facepalm ;0(

# Posted by Off The Rails - 18/03/2011, 23:44 (GMT)

We have had two incidents. On one night two fights broke out with in minutes of one another right in front of the guys.They just carried on playing. The other was when a drunk was dancing and falling over on to the monitors I just stood in front and pushed him off. With being a female you find that some guy in the audience will come and help you out without the band getting involved. I always stop with the mixer because no matter what some dick head will move your setting if you leave the desk.


# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 18/03/2011, 23:47 (GMT)

@Alec - unfortunately those drunks are usually very shy when it comes to paying for any damage caused. Falling over...fine, invading the stage I can live with until the end of the song providing they are well meaning. Grabbing the microphone - no feck off, that's my job I don't go to their work and clean their shithouse!

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 18/03/2011, 23:50 (GMT)

In my former band I had quite a few unpleasent incedents usually with Rangers supporters. Luckily Mrs Cottonhouse was able to growl at them to warn them off! Like Carole said it is much easier for a girl to do.

# Posted by Bass Bloke - 18/03/2011, 23:51 (GMT)

Drunks and how do i cope ? well someone has to play with my bandmates !

# Posted by steve c - 19/03/2011, 00:01 (GMT)

was it? the band played on, sorry ive just watched the titanic film starring kenneth more

# Posted by On The Edge - 19/03/2011, 01:27 (GMT)

had this a few time, once on a solo gig which is hard when im playing drums and cant kick the fucker off. its pretty easy to be honest because you have the mic. stop the the song dead, and say over the mic HAVE I SEEN YOU ON TELLY???? yes thats right fuckin interference NOW FUCK OFF. the landlord or landlady should be there by then to bar the dick.works every time.xxxx sorry for the swearing but needs must at time like these.

# Posted by NIGHT TRAIN - 19/03/2011, 01:52 (GMT)

you should get a scary bass player like we used to have...no probs whatsoever :D

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 19/03/2011, 02:16 (GMT)

You're right there Alec, I played a charity do at Darwen Library Theatre a couple of weeks ago (organised by Darwen markets) and he was sat on the front row. I certainly thought twice about jumping into the audience!

Great visuals by the way.

# Posted by Mick (ex Bad Horsie) - 19/03/2011, 03:01 (GMT)

We make them part of the act. When your 20 stone singer says "fuckin hell, you're more pissed that me!" over the PA, it tends to confuse dickheads. :oD

# Posted by 5th Element - 19/03/2011, 09:59 (GMT)

Ann deals with them in a way that tends to reduce their confidence!


# Posted by Steve Blease - 19/03/2011, 11:41 (GMT)

This should be always down to the venue to keep an eye out for. In the Old Market Tavern, the land lord just frog marches them out.

The bar staff should notice if someone is pissed as a fart and not serve them more ale.

Better still if people would take responsibility for themselves.

# Posted by LAST GANG IN TOWN - 19/03/2011, 11:59 (GMT)

Alec...too true mate...

As a Punk band we're hoping to attract Punks to our gigs...Alcohol + Punks + Nostalgia can lead to chaos and we've had many drunks or over-exuberant punters stage diving, grabbing the backing mic etc..we even had crowd surfing at the Avenue in Leigh recently...all good fun and it doesn't really bother us as it's what used to happen back in the day so we half-expect it...none of us are shrinking violets and we've not really had any major trouble or damage yet...although it does get a bit mental at times...for us, it goes with the territory...

# Posted by NIGHT TRAIN - 19/03/2011, 13:33 (GMT)

@ CottonHouse

He only looked scary...he was a big Leonard Cohen fan :D
PS You should have jumped out, he'd have joined in with you!

# Posted by Duke Bocks - 19/03/2011, 15:40 (GMT)

I'm with the Pandemic option..pmsl

# Posted by The Kerbcrawlers - 20/03/2011, 12:20 (GMT)

In my old band, if anyone used to come past the monitors, we all stopped dead straight away and just stared at them. Worked a treat.

At one place we used to play, we had one particular w****r that turned up and made a prat of himself at each show we did. It was just a case of waiting for him to turn up and make a d**k of himself. He liked to dance like a dervish in front of us, then fall into the monitors / PA. Our least favourite incident involved him soaking our guitarists floor board in lager, which set it off on a most impressive lightshow of its own and ruined the gig and cost us money. The venue did nothing even when we complained about him.

We cancelled the remainder of our shows there and never went back, after another w****r came up in front of the stage while we loaded in and set up and he started saying "OI BRIAN MAY....." over and over again. Which, as I'm not called Brian May (and never have been), I ignored and carried on with what I was doing. After which he walked on stage and grabbed me by the throat and put me up against the wall. After saying whatever was required to get him to let go, we told the landlady he went or we did. He threatened to find our cars and trash them all as he was escorted out, as well as getting his mates and waiting for us afterwards. Salford. Lovely.

# Posted by MICK NASH - 20/03/2011, 13:09 (GMT)

Kids and booze eh! They love it!
Some of the worst piss-heads I've had to deal with were my own band members (are you reading this Bootleg Slade?) and I'm still waiting for the day when a drunk says or does something funny or clever. Some gigs, especially late ones, will always attract dickheads. Stage invaders are usually attention seekers who don't get out much. Girls are usually the worst because they know you can't do anything about it; they can be really gobby when they've had a few alcopops and are best ignored if possible. Fast-forward a couple of hours and they'll be walking home (because they've drunk their cab-fare) with their trendy shoes in their hands staggering through broken glass and other peoples' puke, or sitting in a drain in a puddle of their own piss.
Enduring image.
I'm looking forward to checking you guys out as soon as the opportunity presents itself... I'll try to stay sober.

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 20/03/2011, 22:54 (GMT)

@MN - you've been living in Blackburn too long!

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 20/03/2011, 22:58 (GMT)

@Alec - by some amazing coincedence, Pete was at my sisters birthday do last night! He's a real character, I was sat with him for most of the night and we won a bottle of wine through being totally nuts! We made up for the sensible people on our table and drank the wine before he fell off his chair....three times! lol.

He didn't look too frightning when he was dancing to the Court of King Caractacus!! Neither did I...erm..I mean I wouldn't have....

# Posted by NIGHT TRAIN - 21/03/2011, 11:05 (GMT)

Hahaha...his wife has a stall on Darwen market, jewelry and stuff....fell off 3 times eh? Now you know what we were up against :D
Court of King Caractacus? Just wait till I see him....used to be court of the crimson king :)

# Posted by Face It! - 21/03/2011, 16:48 (GMT)

It's unusual to not face such problems at a gig for us sadly...however the majority of the time it's hilarious. Most recently we had a guy go on one of the backing mic's for our encore "Won't Get Fooled Again", he didn't know any of the words so he just stood there swaying...took out a cigarette and a lighter (yeah what a maverick) but didn't light it and just ambled off at the end.

If you stay cool and use cunning humour that most pissheads won't understand I find it usually ends up being a funny story to talk about later on rather than it turning into something more rowdy...there's a fine line though and it's sometimes hard to resist telling someone to fuck off when they're asking you to play Kings Of Leon after you've just played a 2 and a half hour set.

# Posted by MICK NASH - 21/03/2011, 22:29 (GMT)

@ Face It!
I like the pun: 'It's unusual to not face such problems' wish I'd thought of it. 'Stay cool and use cunning humour that most pissheads won't understand' whenever possible. Once had a hugh stage invasion at a corporate gig, (corpoarate crowds can be bad, in-experienced drinkers letting their hair down) about 20 drunks all over the stage climbing on the gear etc (no exageration!) so the frontman smiled and said quietly off the mic, 'I'll just wait for you all to go before we start the next song' and it worked, couldn't beleive it.

# Posted by Face It! - 22/03/2011, 00:14 (GMT)

@ Mick Nash

haha thanks it was unintended so I wish I'd thought of it too! As for that corporate gig sounds nuts. Have innumerable stories of drunks as I guess any band playing the NW pub circuit does...the week before some bloke had been told by his friends to ask us to play 5:15 by The Who...now it was the end of a long set and we don't do it anyway, and I'm pretty certain he didn't know the song but his friend was just egging him on. Anyway so this is how the conversation went:

Him: Play 5:15

Us: Nah sorry we've gotta finish now etc.

(repeat 25 times)

Him: I'll tell you what, I'll buy you all a jagerbomb.

Us: Nah we're alright gotta drive back etc etc

Him: You don't want a jagerbomb?

Us: No

Him: Do you want a jagerbomb?

(repeat 5 times)

Painful...needed a lot of patience.

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 22/03/2011, 00:20 (GMT)

@Alec - Court of The Crimson King Caractacus! lol

# Posted by Mark bassist in Piggery Bandan... - 22/03/2011, 08:51 (GMT)

Hahaha - ask 'chris from Blaze of Jovi' what Im like with drunks coming on stage.... We were at the alley in lancaster and one piss tank tried getting on stage.... The pisstank, his mate and chris were the only punters there!

Pissed punters is an occupational hazard .... good frontman is always the answer....

Putdowns are the way .. get the crowd hating him .... John Bishop the comedian playing in manchester when one guy heckled said "thanks for that mate ... I'm a scouser playing in front of mancunians and normally i would be the enemy .... but now they all on my side hating you!"

# Posted by THE STORIES ,The very best! of... - 23/03/2011, 01:02 (GMT)

LGIT ! good comment ! we expect that sort of enviroment at a stories gig BUT! you have your limits & a good front man should be able to be be strong & handle the crowd as its him they are looking at ..the band may be fantastic but its the front man they are watching who gets all the hassle ,,its nice to have good bar staff & doormen if they are about (we always look for that at a venue ) ..live & learn so to speak ...the worst ever one was at a home gig believe it or not & a guy (who was scottish) was stood behind our our soundman & was pissed & touching up the women in the venue & making lewd suggestions & basically making a complete twat of himself & then he starts for some reason flicking our soundmans ears while hes on the desk ...that was it our soundman was in there ...so i jumped in inbetween a pistols number & to be honest the guy must have felt really sore the day after (good job there was no cameras about) ...we all have our limits .........give me a girl who just wants your tambourine any day ..ive lost about 8 now but well worth it ...(she just gonna wake up & think whats this doing here lol) .

# Posted by Andy Mack - 23/03/2011, 12:49 (GMT)

I have thrown someone from the stage in the past- and on saturday i faced this lot


ended up putting one of them against the floor strongly too!!

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