The Music is Mightier Than The Mosh Pit

There are many ritualistic behaviors that we have, especially in subcultures. As a Star Wars fan, you might be one to own a replica of one of the weapons like a lightsaber and engage in duels with your friends.

If you were a Halo or COD fan, you might be playing online every night with friends or strangers and rant online how imperfect the multiplayer in the game is.

I’ve been a Metalhead since I was 18, and only by the time I graduated high school and started college did I get to learn about the lifestyle during my down time.

People in the heavy metal subculture often engage in behaviors which not all of them I am comfortable with doing, or I think they are stupid. My point being, just because you don’t engage in one of or all of these activities, does not make you not a Metalhead.

Now, I’m not going to include sex, drugs and alcohol in this post because this is actually about the ritualistic behaviors that Metalheads do at concerts only, and because I don’t want to get into a huge rant why I am morally opposed to some of those things. So instead I will list the three most common behaviors I either rarely do or not at all:

1. Headbanging

This is one that I actually do, but not as often as you think. Let that hair flow and have your neck hurt like hell the next day eh? Most of the time when I do this, I’m alone. Wherever I’m standing at a concert there may not be enough room for me to do it.

If I was in the front row, then sure maybe I’ll do it a few times, but I prefer to be singing along and jumping up and down with my horns in the air. Call me simple, I still do it though.

2. Moshing: Bumping, mosh circle, wall of death, etc.

This is a big one, and definitely one that I’ve merged together to one section. I have never understood why people have to do this at a metal concert. Moshing can range from bumping the people next to you, to charging at one another. I have to say, when I go to concerts I go there to see the band, not ram into other people. I’m not saying this to be irritable, I’m saying this because I want to enjoy the show without my nose bleeding or my ribs broken.

Moshing, no matter what way you do it; it doesn’t just affect those who participate, it also affects everyone else in the crowd who just want to enjoy the show. If someone started a pit behind you, you might feel painfully squished, especially if you’re a small person like me. Not everyone wants to feel that discomfort if they don’t want to participate. My brother tells me that there are some people out there who don’t even go to the concert for the band, they just go to part take in such violent behavior.
I personally can NOT understand people who go to a metal concert to mosh and get drunk/high instead. Seems like a waste of money to me. What’s the point of going there if you don’t even know the band?

Most Metalheads might tell me to just shake it off and enjoy it, but no, after what I experienced from seeing GWAR; being crushed up against the railing after someone started a pit behind us….no it’s not for me. I paid for that ticket to see a band that I love, live in concert. I go to these things for the music, not to be crushed.

Some of you might also argue that participants look after each other when a pit is started, but what if that is not always the case? Some people could be drunk or high and unaware that someone might be injured. Sometimes this has resulted in more severe injuries, in fact I’ve heard some people have died at concerts due to the pits. HOPEFULLY those who are alert during these events, respect the fact that not everyone wants to part of the mosh pit. I wouldn’t want someone to pull me into it when I just want to enjoy the band live, or feel like I’m forced into it because of how big the pit near me is.

Nowadays after learning my lesson of where not stand at an aggressive metal concert, I usually just stick to the side or back of the venue if I’m at a concert for a band where a pit is highly potential.

Respect the fact that not everyone wants to participate, and keep it to a limit. Let everyone enjoy the show.

3. Crowd-surfing

Not as big as moshing but still risky in my opinion. In fact it’s very distracting. It may sound like fun but once it starts, it’s madness. If you managed to score the front row at a Slayer show for example, you just wanted to enjoy the show, and people were crowd surfing all the way to the front, wouldn’t you be annoyed if security kept having to reach over you to catch the surfers? It obstructs your view of the stage, and sometimes it can hurt you if they pass over you.

When I was in the front row, security was passing crowd surfers right over my head, and one of them was a big guy and it hurt my neck badly for the next few days. The worst part was, security didn’t give a damn when I yelled at them to implore a bit of crowd control. Even if it is an aggressive band shouldn’t they at least be aware that some people just want to enjoy the show? If I had broken my neck from them only caring about fetching crowd surfers, then I would have blamed it on them.

So those are my thoughts on the most common behavior I see Metalheads do, and sometimes I feel like the only one of them who either rarely or doesn’t participate in it. I don’t know, maybe I just prefer to enjoy this subculture a different way: Sober, smoke-free, and safe. The feeling that the music brings when I listen to it on my iPod or hear it live at a concert is what matters to me the most, and it is more powerful than anything else that keeps me alive in this particular subculture.


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