11/24/14

THANK YOU FOR NOT MOSHING

TOQUE and ALIEN PATCH TEE brandy melville / DENIM JACKET and RIPPED MOM JEANS topshop / SNEAKERS converse / FLANNEL thrifted

I checked out Mudhoney, opened by Tough Age and B-Lines (two of my faves), this Saturday at the Rickshaw Theatre, a place that I've come to associate with slippery floors, beer cans a-flying, sweaty boys and girls, and really chill bouncers. It's also a place where I've moshed many times, crowdsurfed, and touched ground on stage, then hurried off quickly by a security guard because I literally had no idea what I was doing up there. The first time I went to the Rickshaw was a year and a half ago, for Apollo Ghosts' final show.
Let me tell you something, a real heart-to-heart, if you will: moshing must be obliterated, or transformed to include everyone who wants to participate. I've had my fair share of bodies slamming into me (and I'm short, too, so mostly it's elbows), shoes stepped onto mine, the domino waves of falling people from all sides, and the collective energy -- pure energy personified by dripping strands of hair, unpredictable arms and legs, and soaking wet shirts -- surrounding me, empowering me, and hurting me. I've never broken a limb, nor was I ever knocked unconscious, but one of my friends once had his shoulder dislocated, and back when I used to join the mosh pit, my boyfriend and I frequently came home with cuts and bruises all over. My toes would ache and I would think to myself, "Wow, that was a great time."
Now I see past the energy, and can connect my bodily pains to the source: aggression. Why is it that punk music creates such masculine, territorial aggression within the crowd? As a girl, I've fought like a boy for my territory in the front of the stage, or in the centre of the mosh pit -- because the mosh pit is often, if not always, at the front of the crowd. For this recent show, I chose to stand behind the mosh pit and dance. I isolated myself unintentionally from the energy that I was used to because I wanted to enjoy the music without conforming to the male-oriented culture that has excluded girls, unaggressive concert goers, and people who are too drunk to partake in the collective culture. As I jumped up and down, I noticed three girls who stood their ground in the middle of the mosh pit. They were performing the same actions as the men around them, except that they were more frequently thrown to the outskirts, and they always had their arms up, alert at all times.
Seeing those girls reminded me of Kingfisher Bluez Christmas Party last December, when a girl near me pulled my hands up and told me, "You are so tough". Something that I haven't thought much about until this weekend. Now I realize that I'm not so tough at all. I honestly enjoy the music, but I've always had to deal with other people's masked hostility in order to participate in this collective subculture of live-music-enjoying behaviour. I enjoyed throwing people around only because they threw me around first! And of course I didn't do much damage, seeing as how small I am.

Sometimes it's funny when two guys start going at it, trying to outdo each other, to prove themselves in the crowd of witnesses. They might laugh, smile, and make it into a joke. They might start off jostling. Maybe pushing each other hard, to create a domino effect throughout the crowd. Maybe some people push back against the two perpetrators, willing to participate, happily, or even angrily. But what's the point?

I used to think that moshing was what punk music was about. I hastily deduced that going to a live show leads to moshing. It's what we've been exposed to. It's like going to your first dance in high school, and expecting to hold your dance partner really close and shuffle through every song, which we all did really awkwardly. We didn't know how to express our emotions, our bodies, through dance yet -- we didn't know how to enjoy the music.

What I liked about this recent show is that a girl standing behind me dropped her drink onto the floor, and because it was glass, it made a loud shattering noise. I looked at her and she made a joke about the floor, how there's alcohol everywhere. I gave her a thumbs up. During the next song, we yelled stuff about ourselves at each other in lieu of an actual getting-to-know-you conversation. When the music got super energetic, she pulled me into the mosh pit and we held hands and spun each other around, while jumping up and down to the music, and it was really fun. Somebody pushed her and she fell down, right into the alcohol puddle. A few guys pulled her up and I pushed the perpetrator back, feeling completely annoyed.

We just wanted to express ourselves in a manner that was different from the self-proclaiming male-dominated punk culture. There's no room in the mosh pit to dance or touch one another without aggression.

That's all I wanted to say.

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1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, I love mosh pits, but if I go to a concert by myself, I find it difficult to merge into. However, it is exhilarating being a part of the pit. I once chipped my tooth in one lol. I would have totally praised you and the girl if I saw you at a concert. Spinning around in a mosh pit sounds super fun!

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