Okay, let’s start with real talk. I’m old to like the music I like. I’m almost 30.
This isn’t me yelling at “these kids today” because (a) that’s baloney, and (b) I still kind of feel like one of those kids, even at the aforementioned age.
I went to two amazing shows this past week, and was struck by the differences between them. Saturday we saw Attila, and on Tuesday I was lucky enough to see The Ghost Inside, Hundredth and Architects (lesser importance: Every Time I Die). Differences between the two shows were striking.
Attila is a band I’ve written about before, because I’m conflicted about liking them, a conflict which increased on Saturday. Attila is sexist and frequently awful. Before the band even stepped onstage, there were three bras draped on the microphone stands; throughout the show, the lead singer kept asking for bras and yelling he “needed to see some titties.” Before the band’s encore, he lamented “all I wanted today was a blow job, and there was a stripper backstage ready to give me one, but I heard you yelling so you better make this worth it.”
Tuesday’s show was a completely different story onstage; I love TGI because they write about social issues and are fairly positive; its this band that started me on the positive hardcore path. Most of their songs encourage their listeners to show bravery and courage, to keep fighting, to contribute to society and fight injustice.
The crowds at the two shows, to me, did not match what was onstage. Attila had more girls and women in the crowd, that I could see. Attila’s pit was less organized, but also less violent. I danced around a bit (not easy for an old biddy) and wasn’t punched in the face. I fell down and people helped me up.
I decided that Tuesday’s pit was more violent because the fans take themselves and the band more seriously. I only saw men in the pit (an anomaly these days) and the dancing was more what I see these days – an open pit, with spinning karate kicks, wild punches from side to side. I saw three people fall and not get helped up (a serious breach of etiquette). The people on the edges of the pit (usually my favorite place to watch a show) weren’t smiling; they had strong arms straight out, attempting to keep the dancers moshing at bay. This wasn’t a place to be with your own kind of people, go off a bit, and enjoy an amazing band. This looked like a grudge match. This did not look like fun – it looked like serious business.
I want my favorite bands to take a cue from 7 Seconds, or NOFX, or Stick To Your Guns, or any of the dozens of amazing punk and hardcore bands who have wild, uncontrolled mosh pits, but make a point to encourage their fans to take care of each other, have fun and be mindful. The first goal in a mosh pit shouldn’t be to kick the shit out of someone – it should be to let out your aggression and frustration, while allowing people in your tribe to do the same.