Danger in the mosh pit: No slam-dancing allowed!
One can survive a mosh pit and live to tell with a potentially strange fondness of the memories. Bands like System Of A Down have continued to incite uproarious excitement in their audience since the 90s. Yet other musicians, across different states and different decades, also draw in a frenzied crowd where moshing is a dangerous activity. However you cannot very well have control a place which has rules of it’s very own.
Mosh pits really are dangerous, this isn’t just something old people say.
I learned this valuable life lesson in 1998, when I was 16-years-old. System Of A Down(SOAD) had recently released their self-titled album and they were headlining at Irving Plaza Manhattan. I was there on a date with a guy named Matt and extremely excited. I had never been to a concert in the city without a parent.
According to law enforcement officials, dancing is a First Amendment right, but the behavior of moshing is itself a violation.
The first hit was my fault. I knelt to adjust my shoe and got a swift boot to the ear. I played it cool. I didn’t want to break mosh pit etiquette, where different rules apply. The second hit, part of a domino effect, knocked me in the side. By the time SOAD was on the way, I was ready for everything to be over.
My vision blurred and the room swayed. I was dizzy and sweating, my temples throbbed and the pounding in my head accelerated. I grabbed Matt to cling on, which prompted him to ask if I was OK. However, I blacked out and don’t recall my answer. The next thing I knew several people were hauling me into the loby and dumping me against the wall, and Matt was rushing to my aid.
I hadn’t heard from Matt in 14 years; but this past February he found me on Facebook. He told me how he had just returned from an SOAD show, and it was in fact, the violent mosh pit that inspired him to look me up.
Today I’m in Boston, where Police have enforced a ban on moshing and are cracking down on putting a stop to slam-dancing.
I’m not surprised that SOAD shows are still insane, but I never realized how nostalgic mosh pits make me or how much I miss 90s music and New York City.
SOAD moshing in 2011: