No matter how you feel about moshing -- whether you gawk from the civilian sidelines, or are guaranteed to tear your shirt off like a Hulkamaniac, scream "Let's tear this place apart!" and plunge headfirst into the melee -- there's no denying it is an integral (see also: unavoidable) component of the live music experience.
People can -- and will! -- mosh to anything!
Even today, right now, at this very moment, someone somewhere is moshing to Dubstep.
I have wasted a shameful amount of my life on live music. And as a young male in North America (not to mention the freak incubator that is Florida) with an interest in rock music, I must admit that I found myself, on more than one occasion, caught in a mosh.
Later, I would go on to write emo-anarchist zine articles about why the practice was part of hegemonic power structures and blahlahblah. These days, I still abstain, but have a thorough appreciation for the group theatrics and intense displays of physicality underlying the pit.
In keeping with this ability to appreciate Da Mosh from a distance, here are a bruised gaggle of entertaining memories from when I used to count being bashed and thrashed during live music exhibitions as a hobby.
Caught in a Christian Mosh
My first live music experience -- excluding a 1994 production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Jackie Gleason Theater, and a dress rehearsal for Gloria Estefan's New Year's Eve 1999 fiesta at the freshly erected American Airlines Arena -- was the Y2K edition of mall-punk summer festival-maximus, the Vans Warped Tour. I parked my double extra large JNCOs front at the heart of the crowd, waiting for Christian pop-punkers, MxPx, to take the stage. From the very first half-second of the first Protestant teen-angst anthem, I was swallowed whole by a furious push-pit, during which I was chewed-up-and-spit-out by the collective meaty might of hundreds of shirtless bros donning visors and studded belts ramming the ever-living-crap out of each other.
Hey, ya gotta start somewhere. It's not like the Earth Crisis Face was born with straight-edge sideburn tattoos and mad sick pit moves. Homey most definitely ink-scarred his primary jabrone zone (his face) one tat at a time, and spent all of his free-time reviewing the music video for Sick of It All's "Step Down."
Hardcore Dancing For Dummies
The first time I ever witnessed strapping young men dance to metalcore like cage fighting Kung Fu masters was when Until the End, Eulogy Records' flagship tough-guys, opened for post-Misfits Goth skate-punks AFI at Spanky's in the fall of 2000. My Dad drove the hour-plus to West Palm and hung out inside the bar while I gleefully allowed myself to be pummeled on the back patio by full-regalia Hot Topic punx and Palm Beach County weekend warrior skinheads. FYI, At this live music exhibition, I purchased an extra large AFI T-shirt that toted the pre-hipster ironic slogan, "I Hate Punk Rock."