There are several types of "That Guy." There's the shlubby guy with a small role in every movie from your childhood, the prick with the gelled hair and the sunglasses who cuts you off in his purple BMW, or the lovable dunce who thinks he's a smooth cat in his Members Only jacket. But everyone who's ever been to a concert knows about the worst kind of That Guy. I'm talking about That Guy Who Yells for the Band to Play His Favorite Song All Damn Night. I have a serious beef with That Guy.
This particular That Guy is usually frat-tastic and, of course, drunk as a skunk. But the problem is not with the slovenly appearance or the alcohol he's consumed. After all, if you're at a concert in Charleston, there are going to be plenty of fat, preppy drunks, all trying to ignore this asshole and enjoy the show. The problem is one of self-perception, particularly the inability of this asshole to get a feel for the room. Even with an entire venue turned against him, our friend fails to sense that he should shut up.
It's time for artists and fans to set the standard for what is acceptable behavior at a concert and what is not. So, quickly: Wearing one of those tie-dye afro wigs to a jammy show is totally fine. Screaming that you want them to play "Kumbaya" is not.
The best method is for the artist to directly address him (oh yeah, it's always a him). When Jason Isbell recently performed at the Pour House, That Guy yelled for a song. Isbell quipped, "I may well play that song tonight, but it won't be because of you. You should be spending that energy trying to get laid." This drew cheers from the crowd and shamed the girlfriend-less offender into silence.
Unfortunately, not all artists have Isbell's wit or the self-confidence to tell off a fan who is, in a weird way, showing his appreciation. If this is the case, concert-goers should be encouraged to strike the bastard down, with poise and, of course, class. For instance, I've taken to saying (not yelling), "Play whatever you want" directly after any song-calling, just loud enough for That Guy to hear. It draws a chuckle from folks nearby and makes the object of everyone's scorn feel just like that.
There are other, less subtle methods, like physical intimidation, that are also effective but risk leading to another concert problem: drunk idiots fighting. So I challenge all you performers and concert-goers out there who are sick and tired of That Guy to come up with fun, snarky, non-violent ways to end his reign of annoyance.
Jared Booth is a freelance music writer and frequent contributor to the City Paper music section.