Bish-Bash-Mosh

Ed isn’t a fan of mosh-pits. Here’s why. 

Although the Warped Tour has grown into one of the most recognisable touring festivals in the world, and was originally set-up to showcase punk bands with punk ideals, on the most recent tour, there were banners on the stage warning against moshing and crowd surfing, reportedly due to the danger of Warped being sued by people who get hurt. For some, this will be another way for overzealous health and safety officers to ruin people’s fun, but I’m not so sure. For those not in the know, moshing (or “slamdancing”) is a form of dance where people generally push or slam into each other, which is common for metal and punk concerts. Although it can be done individually, pits are formed when a multitude of people start moshing together. It’s also a ridiculously stupid and dangerous part of what are otherwise fun events.

Those who enjoy or are in favour of mosh-pits are quick to point out that, because mosh/circle-pits tends to occur at the centre of the crowd during a concert, those who don’t want to be involved have to stay away from the front or centre of the audience to avoid a potential pummelling. For multiple reasons, that’s utter bollocks. Unless there’s a balcony area, no-one’s truly safe, as being on the sidelines still means that you occasionally get some twat barging into you, either intentionally or due to said twat having been thrown or pushed there by those in the pit. The front or centre of any venue will almost certainly be the best place to see the stage, so why on earth should the majority of people who don’t want to take part in a pit be forced out of the best spots? Why should we let some dickhead have the best parts of the venue to not listen to the music or watch the band, but instead purely to cause harm and damage, not only to themselves, but to people not in the pit? Why would the “fun” of a minority be more important than that of the majority?

Due to my own delusions that I’m a “proper” writer, I did a bit of research about mosh-pits. In doing so, I discovered a website called Moshing.com (which oddly refers to itself as a book), which is basically a “what’s what” for mosh-pits. It appears good-intentioned and by someone who seemingly just wanted to write a manual for people new to concerts and, for the most part, it does just that by giving advice no matter how obvious about multiple aspects of live performances. One of the major problems with the “book” is that the author assumes that standing at a concert is a non-verbal agreement to participate in mosh-pits. How absurd. It would be like suggesting that the very act of going to the pub is tantamount to agreeing to fights with aggressive drunk people.

I’m fairly sure there will be some criticism regarding my viewpoint, and someone will probably point-out: “We live in a free country and I’m free to mosh at a gig if I want to,” which is both childish and ridiculous. If it’s a free country, would I not have as much right to just enjoy the music without risk of injury? Do I not have a right to go to a concert to purely enjoy the music, rather than having to constantly keep an eye out for ballistic metal heads? There’s a lot of shit on the Internet about people saying being anti-mosh is being anti-rock/metal, as if the two are automatically linked. If this is the case, why are people such as Joey DeMaio from Manowar (potentially the most metal band in the world) anti-pit? This video below of his ranting against them is an endorsement that is pretty hard to argue against. It would be like telling Jesus he’s somehow misinterpreted Christianity.

Earlier this year I went to see Soilwork for the third time, a band I’ve been into almost since I first started listening to metal, but while the other two gigs were amazing, this latest one was really disappointing. Although the muddy sound was partly to blame, the main reason was due to my absolute refusal to leave my spot near the centre of the venue, meaning I was right next to the pit when it formed. Retard after retard kept slamming into and around me, and I’m still proud of myself for not retaliating whenever some uppity cunt came right at me. Although the mosh-pit probably only had ten to fifteen people at most taking part, it affected almost all of the several hundred people in attendance and it meant that, instead of being fully able to enjoy the music, I had to keep an eye on the pit to make sure I could move out of the way. I’m sure some of you are just thinking that I should have moved, but as I’ve previously said, why the hell should I? Why should those ten or fifteen people in the pit dictate where the three or four-hundred other attendees should stand?

Accidents DO happen.

Accidents DO happen.

Although it may not sound like it, I have no problem with moshing in theory, but only if it’s consensual. If a group of friends all want to smack the shit out of each other, carry on, but not if it affects people who don’t want to take part in what is essentially just violence. People have been injured and even killed at concerts due to mosh-pits which just got ridiculously out-of-control, so where does the responsibility kick-in? If it doesn’t fall on the bands themselves, some of whom regularly instigate and encourage pits, surely the venues or organisers should take punitive action, like Warped Tour have, to make sure no-one gets hurt under their supervision? Maybe instead of blaming the bands or hosts, we should focus upon the people in the crowd themselves. If someone smacks someone and hurts them, they should be held responsible for their injuries.

But who needs to think about stuff like that? You go ahead and stick your heads in the sand, ignore all of the reasons that pits are a bad idea, and carry on with your moshing. When you tell the families of those who’ve died that it was because you were just “venting” or having “fun,” I’m sure they’ll be completely understanding.

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