This month we presented our Facebook followers with this quandary:
He’s had too much to drink, he’s shouting and distracting you from performing. How do you handle the audience member from Hell?
Some of you chose confrontation and some of you chose composure. This discussion highlighted some gender differences to which approach is best.
Iain Roy Orbison says:
“If I’m not playing a guitar I step off the stage into the audience… that messes with their heads.”
Mark AG adds:
“You say ‘hello, wow I remember MY first pint of alcohol too!’ Ha ha.”
Linda Baker on the other hand took a more discreet approach:
“I’d walk over to the opposite side of the stage, and if he’s still a problem, I’d give the ‘stink eye’ to the bouncer.”
And Pat Hamer took the diva approach:
“Turn up your microphone!”
Sometimes it is not possible or appropriate to take action so focus is the name of the game. Elena Izguiedo Martin recalls:
“I had one such person stand right in front of me (like 6 inches in front of my keyboard) playing air keys for a whole set. I just kept looking past him. It was really hard to sing!”
Kathy Alexander agrees:
“When an audience member goes crazy, I try to keep cool and hope the problem will go away or someone else will deal.”
Unfortunately audience disruption is something that most gigging singers can relate to. Sometimes the approach should be ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’, but if you are lucky enough to have a venue manager or security guard on hand, perhaps let them take care of business, unless you are a bona fide rock star! Thanasakis Pantognostis playfully reminds us of:
The Sebastian Bach way! Anyone who has watched him handle audiences knows exactly what I mean!