December 6, 2011

The Mosh Pit Rule

I totally lucked out on winning tickets to an intimate concert of Chevelle, one of the best rock band in the world  from the Chicago area.  I give thanks to 95 Will Rock for not only know being the only modern rock station in the Chicagoland Area now (R.I.P. Q101) but getting tickets to me and some other awesome people last Tuesday.

Mystic and I attended and stayed on the second level.  Mystic doesn't like big groups and even though the Subteranean is a great intimate setting, second level was a bit better if you just wished to spectate.  Which we did, and Chevelle put on a fantastic show, and we got to hear a song from their new album (and coincidentally, that album comes out today, so I guess go crazy and buy Hats Off to the Bull right now!)

There was another show we could watch--the mosh pit.  I've never been in one myself but I fully support the idea of this controlled chaos.  There are a lot of people out there who scoff at the idea of a mosh pit being one of the friendliest things you can do, but it is!  There's a little system to it, like it's own law, that everyone in the pit understands.  Well, everyone who wants to stay in the pit, that is.  I'm sure some of you out there have had different experiences but these have been mine.

There are three different positions you can have in a mosh pit.  Two of them actually involve being in the circle.  I call them the Smashers and the Statues (terms I literally just made up, so don't think this is official lingo).  Smashers are the ones who go all out, looking for people to run into.  It's hard, yes, but it's not to injure.  They'll usually use the sides of their bodies, and not do a lot of limb flailing, instead just running around like pinballs in a machine.  Then you have Statues, who are not necessary for  a mosh pit but they add a little umph.  They'll stay in the middle of the mosh pit, solid and secure, and push any Smasher that bumps into them.  The one I saw used a little bit more arm than any of the Smashers, but you can also just make it a torso thing.  Smasher want to bump into everyone.  Statues want to show how solid they are.

Finally you have the people standing around the pit, which as a collective I refer to as the Boundary.  People in the Boundary are responsible for pushing Smashers back in the circle, keeping the mosh in one singular place and making sure it doesn't spread too far.  People in the Boundary don't necessarily want to be dragged into the pit, and that usually isn't an issue.

With the position are some simple rules.  You keep the pit in the pit.  You do not drag people into or out of the pit.  If someone falls in the pit, you pick them back up.  If you get smashed into, you do not take it personally; the pit is there for the enjoyment of horseplay and you should know that going in.  No weapons in the pit.  And do your best not to be drunk in the pit, because that is a great way to forget about all the other simple rules previously established.  Like I witnessed one guy do...

I can determined if he was drunk since he was a story beneath me, but I could see he was a trouble when he decided it would be a fun idea to pull the Smashers out of the circle while he was part of the Boundry.  He was this tall guy picking fights, and decided to really mess with one Smasher.  The Smasher almost gave him a fight but other people part of the pit pulled them away from each other, giving security at the club time to keep things cool.  After that the pit was back in action for a while.  The tall disrupting guy almost came back to start another fight, this time with anyone in the pit.  Security took him aside ASAP.  Mosh pit continues, with smiles and awesome music in the background.

It's just funny how something so violent can actually be an example of spontaneous governance.


  1. Ah, man, I remember the days. I fluctuated between Smasher and Statue, mostly (good terms). Me and my buddy's GF used to always start mosh pits at the shows he and his bandmates played, even if it was just the two of us. Good times.

  2. Interesting dynamic. I love the phrase "spontaneous governance" too.

    Last time I participated in the controlled chaos was something like.... oh, man. 1985? Yikes. I don't even think we called it a mosh pit back then. We "slammed."