I Must Be Getting Old - 03.06.98

Two summers ago, I moshed for my last time. I didn't stop because I hurt myself or because of any other strange reason, I simply did it because it wasn't fun anymore. It had completely lost everything that I enjoyed about it in the first place, and had instead become a big display of testosterone and idiocity.

The particular show that I realized this at was the one/two lineup of Matthew Sweet and Soul Asylum. While both of these groups have some good, harder songs, I didn't think that there would be much activity in the crowd besides some swaying and grooving. With this assumption, though, I was completely wrong. Even before the first notes had been played, I could feel the mass of bodies start to sway where I was standing. When Sweet took the stage and tore into his first several songs, the crowd went completely bezerk (or should I say, "some members of the crowd").

There were people falling to my left and right and some smaller kids about the age of 15 or so were getting severely pummeled. About this time, someone that was crowd-surfing starting kicking his feet and booted me in the side of the head. I was starting to get a little pissed-off, but my thoughts were more concerned with staying on my feet. On the fourth song, Sweet slowed the tempo down a bit, and the crowd seemed to dispell some of its energy. It was already really hot and I could see some shorter kids around me were starting to feel it.

At that point, I decided that I would sort of be the mosh-pit regulator. I told the little kids around me to grab onto my shirt if they felt like they were going to fall and I chatted with a friend of mine, who was also getting upset by the behavior.

As soon as the tempo cranked up again, I felt the crowd start to sway and about four sets of hands grasped onto me. My shirt was stretching all over and I was trying to pull kids up from getting tromped on. Just as I had gotten one kid to his feet, another fell on the ground after body surfing and I could see him getting stepped on. I grabbed his arm and yanked him up to his feet.

I looked overhead and saw a girl bodysurfing. A guy just ahead of me starting groping at her breasts and I could see that she wanted out of the situation. My friend also saw this and took the opportunity to heave a shoe he had just found on the floor. It hit the guy in the back of the head and he fell forward.

By this time, I was getting fairly tired and decided to take a bit of a reprise. Once the music had slowed down, I made my way back out of the masses and stood where I could get a good view and not get a foot in the skull.

My problem with the concert wasn't that there was moshing, but that there was no mosh pit etiquette (and yes, you heard me right). What I'm speaking of is a bunch of unspoken rules that one must go by when in the mosh pit. Until that concert I had seen them for the most part abided by. They include:
1. Help someone up when they fall
2. Don't kick your feet when body surfing
3. Don't shove (or cheap shot) people just to be tough
4. Don't grope girls just because you think they'll never find out who did it.
5. Don't be an asshole in general.

Although they were sometimes a bit rough, I've been to concerts in which the above rules were followed by almost everyone. The problem with shows now is that too many people have gotten out of control. The best show that I ever went to was at a small club about 5 years ago at which the Mighty Mighty Bosstones were playing. There was some major- league stage diving (by both band and audience) and the crowd was completely hopped-up for the entire 1.5 hours that the band was on stage. There wasn't one point during the night where I felt threatened by idiots and I had an excellent time.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, concerts have simply become another place for some people to let out their pent-up aggression on someone who is unsuspecting. Instead of swaying around in close contact and enjoying the band, many feel the need to see how many people they can knock down or hurt in one evening. In the end, it's not that I dislike moshing, I just dislike the idiots that ruin it for everyone else trying to have fun.