Picture the scene: two walls of human beings stare one another down in a muddy field at Download Festival, writhing and ready for the crushing breakdown, where heavy guitars form the soundtrack of flailing limbs and the sweaty collision of the infamous ‘Wall of Death.’
Now, simply imagine a gaggle of three friends, pushing each other somewhat in time to the chorus of your local pop-punk band’s smash hit 300-Spotify-listen banger in the guitarist’s dad’s garage.
Both are moshing. Both are brilliant.
If you really wanted to, you could mosh at a Gary Barlow gig, given enough willing participants, but moshing is truly at home in the alternative scene. Pop-punk, rock, metal and everything in between forms the perfect backdrop to the most accessible dance form.
Pits get a bad reputation for being dangerous, and can certainly seem daunting for first-timers, but in reality, this is far from the case. The pit functions like it’s own micro-community of like-minded fans. Simply put, if you see someone fall, you pick them back up, dust them off and slam back into them once they’ve got their bearings again. Moshing is only as dangerous as you make it. If you keep your eyes open, your elbows at a reasonable distance, and avoid the greased up guy with his top off, you’ll be fine.
At a live show, there’s nothing like it. Where else can you externalise everything that your favourite songs make you feel in such an energetic, frantic and frankly therapeutic way? What’s going on in the pit can really shape your opinion of the show. A sizable pit, full of people really letting go is usually the sign of a classic gig. Nothing says audience connection like a hundred fans united in their enjoyment of a song, punctuating each chorus with a display of violent appreciation.
Some will tell you that ‘crowd-killing’ is the true form of moshing, others will die on the hill of ‘push-moshing’, and many would argue that moshing ruins a show altogether, but really none of this is true. There’s no true way to mosh. Moshing is a form of dance, stress relief and most importantly, self expression. Just mosh to a song you love in whatever way feels right for you (so long as you’re being reasonable and not just out to maim).
Moshing is great. Yes, sometimes you’re going to get hurt. I’ve woken up after shows with countless bruises; but you just have to think of them as souvenirs. Moshing isn’t for everyone, though, and nobody should feel like they’re having a worse time for not getting in the pit. Moshing is a community, where friendships are made for an hour or so, and fondly remembered when you think back on some of your favourite shows.
So next time you’re at a live show, and a sweaty kid in a beanie flies into you, give moshing a go; it might just change your gig experience for life.