Yesterday was a long and exciting day at Hopscotch. You can read all about my Day Two adventures here. The takeaway is that I’ve seen Kid Millions three times this weekend, that Beach House sounded Great, that Beach Slang really impressed me, and that Diet Cig was my favourite thing of the festival so far. And it’s not even close.
As I’ve said, I really love the Diet Cig EP Over Easy, and I had already decided that I was going to see Diet Cig no matter what else happened. I had very high expectations, and they were actually exceeded.
Alex was bouncing all over the stage. She seemed to be bouncing higher than she is tall, and with an unbelievable amount of energy. I haven’t seen that kind of bouncing since the 1990s. She was clearly having a good time, and the audience was certainly feeding off of her enthusiasm. This means that the crowd was bouncy. And then a bit moshy. Yes. Another mosh pit broke out.
There was a lot of banter. At one point, she said that they were loving it here, and that she had eaten some shrimp and grits that changed her life. Later, she thanked the crowd for being so enthusiastic. She said something like “You guys are great because you know that moshing is cool as long as it’s safe”.
As their set progressed, and as Alex continued to bounce all over the stage, people were getting increasingly into it. Unfortunately, there were three bozos who were there together and a fourth guy who was by himself who were taking it too far. They were all about ten feet away from me. It was beginning to get rowdy. There was a lot of pushing, and it wasn’t the good kind. Bouncing and bumping into each other is one thing: incidental contact is just part of that game. Aggressively shoving people is quite another.
Then, I saw something that I haven’t seen since I saw Ian MacKaye stop a Fugazi show in 1996 to address some rowdy audience members. Alex stopped right in the middle of a song to specifically address those knuckleheads. She said words to the effect of “I like that you guys are having a good time, and I know I said I like moshing, but you’re being too rowdy. Don’t ruin it for everybody else”. The rest of the room appreciated that, and the ogres seemed like they got the message. Spoiler alert: They didn’t.
Only a few minutes later, they were at it again with the aggressive shoving and all that. The female bartender had had about enough, and she climbed up on top of the bar to deal with those miscreants. She grabbed the solo guy by his neck and gave him some sort of tongue lashing. Still perched on top of the bar, she got the attention of one of the three rabble-rousers, and she gave him some sort of lecture that ended with “Do you understand me?” She also got nose-to-nose with another one of the three. But she never did confront the biggest and most aggressive of the three. The crowd gave the bartender a big round of applause for her efforts. All the while, the show went on.
By the end of the set, the bartender had actually come all the way over the bar into the crowd, and was boldly standing right in the middle of those three troublemakers. One of them was trying her patience a little bit, but they remained pretty calm for the rest of the set. It looked like one of the guys actually apologized to her. The way the bartender handled that, I figure she must have a couple of boys at home.
At the end of the set, I did overhear one of those dudes mumble something like “What a bunch of pansies”
Those guys were selfish, and they weren’t even thinking about how their antics were annoying the rest of the audience. Not to mention, dangerous. Despite the distraction that those knuckleheads created, it was an amazing set, and I don’t think I’ll see anything better on Saturday.
The point is, you should have fun. But you should know that there are limits. When you’re preventing other people from having fun, you’ve gone too far. If a performer stops the show and addresses you specifically and asks you to calm down, you should calm down. And you should be embarrassed rather than indignant. If a bartender asks you to cut that shit out, you should cut that shit out. That rule applies any day of the week.