This was a column I never really wanted to write but after events at a gig recently I kind of felt like I had to. It's about moshing.
Something I really love, probably as much as anything in the UK's punk scene is the high level of respect between the audience. Everyone is always polite and friendly. If there is a bit of rowdiness during a gig it's always done in a way that doesn't end up affecting people who are happy just to stand and watch a band. Sure people do get knocked accidently but nine times out of ten there is always an apology. This has always made punk shows feel like an enjoyable and more importantly safe place to go. The punk scene is a community and a community only works if everyone is together pulling the same way. It's something I'm extremely proud to be a small part of.
That brings us to the aforementioned gig. I won't say which gig it was as I think it would be unfair to sully what was actually an outstanding gig other than one incident that really made me sad and uncomfortable. This is what happened.
Emma and I arrived at the gig a few minutes before the opening band were due to go on. Neither myself or Emma had heard of the band before but as lovers of new music we were both looking forward to checking them out. We looked around the venue, which was a tiny one, before the show actually began we and noticed something we thought was a bit odd. We didn't recognise anyone. Normally at a show you can guarantee you will recognise a good 75% of the people there from whatever awesome punk show was on a week earlier. Early on in the night this definitely wasn't the case. We didn't recognise anybody. If it wasn't for seeing the merch table we would have wondered if we were at the right gig. Eventually more and more of the "regulars" did filter in but I constantly had the nagging feeling that something wasn't quite right.
Soon enough the headline act of the night took to the stage and the venue was now pretty full. The band were absolutely killing it and the crowd were getting very in to the set, nodding along and singing as loud as they possibly can. Then the "incident" happened. Some people decided to have a mosh. I assume most people reading this will know what moshing is but just in case you don't it's basically a form of dancing where you bump and bash into the people around you. I've taken part in some mosh pits before and it can be good fun but like everything there is a time and place for it and this certainly wasn't it. First of all the room was just too small and crowded to have a fun and SAFE mosh pit. It started out quite small with just some young guys getting a little rowdy until one guy decided to take it way too far!
From my view point he just looked like he was being plain violent for no reason whatsoever. All of a sudden there was a big circle in the middle of the room where he was bashing mindlessly into people. We were getting pushed back against the sides by people trying to get clear of this idiot with no respect for anyone around him. My first reaction to was to get infront of Emma so she didn't end up getting hurt. The thought of protecting somebody should never have to come into someone's mind on an evening out whatever you're doing in. I also noticed a few other girls clambering to get out of the danger zone so they didn't get clobbered by this tool. Seeing women having to run to the side to avoid getting hurt is not something that should be happening in 2016! It's completely unacceptable and really made me angry. It really has no place at a punk show or anywhere else for that matter.
Thankfully this moron was eventually restrained after a bit of pushing and shoving by some of the crowd. I don't know if he was thrown out or just decided to stop being a dick but happily that was the end of the trouble and the rest of the night was 100% fun!
It does make me ever so sad to write something like this and it is a very rare occurrence for something like this to happen. It should never happen. I'd never suggest that people shouldn't go to a punk show. Punk shows are a place for everyone. But everyone should be treated with respect. If you are a newcomer to the scene use some common sense and get a look at the lay of the land. If people clearly don't want to be part of a mosh pit, don't mosh it's pretty simple. Act accordingly. It's like going round somebody's house for the first time, you don't just put your feet up on the coffee table - that's rude. You respect the person whose house it is and the space in general. Basically the whole point of this rant is about respecting people and not being a goon at shows and making other people uncomfortable. It's not that difficult.