Words and photos by Sam Taylor
A mosh pit is common occurrence at a gig. You’re bound to see at least one at a gig, particularly in the alternative scene and they can take place in many different variants. Anything from a simple “push pit” or “circle pit” where a bunch of people just run around pushing each other in a circle. But, there’s a more violent variation of moshing otherwise known as “crowd-killing”. This blossomed out of the ‘90s hardcore dancing style, “crowd-killing” is where people perform UFC style moves and have no concern about their surroundings and go out of their way to harm people in the crowd.
Recently, at a recent Utah show by hardcore band Code Orange, one attendee was struck by another engaging in “crowd-killing”. She suffered a broken jaw and further injuries, alleging that her assailant was wearing steel toe-capped boots. (you can see the original post here). The fallout of this incident led to a huge uproar across social media and opened the floor for discussion on whether venues should ban pits or whether people should suck it up and expect it in forums such as UK Pop Punk which can be read here as well Code Orange themselves making a statement on the subject promoting safety as being one of the most important motives of their shows.
I am stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to this argument. I don’t believe pits should be banned. A gig is a space where people in attendance should be allowed to express themselves and a form of self expression at shows is moshing. So, by banning them it this becomes a massive issue with censorship. Moshing is to be expected at most shows (i say most, as it is very unlikely you will see a wall of death at a Little Mix concert). Certain styles of moshing go hand-in-hand with certain scenes such as hardcore and metal and to take that away, is to take away the identity of people within that scene. So if you go to a hardcore show you’re most likely going to get knocked around. Don’t go to a hardcore or heavy show and be angry when there are pits occur. By policing what occurs at these kind of shows, it puts a negative light on the associated genres and harms venues who put on these shows, bands playing and people in attendance.
However it’s clear to see that there is a huge issue when it comes to hate moshing. No one should go to any show and leave in an ambulance with life changing injuries due to a mosh pit. People are increasingly taking no regard for others in attendance, it’s common sense that if you’re going to pit and windmill your limbs around don’t do it in close proximity of people and get some awareness of your surroundings. Bands should start using their platform to call out this shitty behaviour and nip it in the bud before the problem grows. It’s got to come to a point where people start to put safety of all in attendance above their expectations of their “scene”. I’m all for having a good time at a show and accidents do happen but get some gig-etiquette so you don’t spoil someone else’s good time.
Listen to this playlist to get you in the mood for some pits: