An etiquette guide for losing your mind
Can you really consider yourself a true resident of Victoria if you haven’t spent a Saturday night in a mosh pit, getting pushed around in some random, sweaty basement while a mediocre band ruins your eardrums?
Sure you can. But to me, it feels like a quintessential experience of being young that everyone should try at least once. Even if you don’t enjoy the kind of music most people mosh to, hearing it live is a whole different ball game. The energy that a good band and crowd brings together can be intoxicating.
Nothing that I’ve experienced quite matches the catharsis that comes from a good moshpit. I’m probably not alone in feeling a lot of anger towards the world. I’ve tried a lot of different ways to get that anger out: running, lifting weights, doing art, writing angsty poetry. While I enjoy all these activities, none of them give me that feeling of true release.
But the second I step into the pit, all those emotions start disappearing. Any anger or frustration is transformed into physical energy, and by the end of the night, I’m undoubtedly left with a smile on my face. I’m not thinking about the people around me. Who are these people? I really don’t care. I constantly crave anonymity, and this is one of the best places to find it. I’m no longer an individual, just a small part of a larger hivemind. No thoughts, no worries, no stress, just a group of strangers coming together with a shared goal: to dance, be themselves, and push each other around.
Moshing can be very scary, especially if you’re new to it. I’ve seen enough bloody noses to know that one bad experience is more than enough to turn someone off of it completely. If you’re wanting to try it out for the first time, I have some advice on how to make it a positive experience rather than a traumatic one.
First of all, you need to find the right environment. I’ve found that while rap concerts can have some great moshing, they also usually consist of 15-year-old boys with little to no social awareness getting drunk for the first time. A bad mosh pit can quickly turn from unpleasant to downright dangerous.
As we saw with Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert in 2021, bad event planning and too many rowdy young people can unfortunately turn deadly. I suggest looking for underground punk and metal shows if you’re looking for a real moshing experience to try out. Follow @gigtoria on Instagram to stay up to date on local shows. While so many of the clubs and dancefloors in Victoria are overrun with thirsty guys just looking for the next girl to bother, I appreciate that these shows seemed to be filled (for the most part) with people actually looking to enjoy the music and the experience.
But even if you find a good band, a good crowd, and a good venue, all it takes is one drunk person to ruin the experience. The second piece of crucial advice is to listen to your gut. If the vibe seems off, take a step back. If you’re so wasted that you think you might fall over, then it’s definitely time to go home and not jump into a mosh pit.
You know yourself better than anyone else, and you know what will make you uncomfortable. The sad truth is that some mosh pits will have that one guy that’s there to start a fight. And that segues into my next point: a mosh pit isn’t an excuse to hurt people. You’re not there to hurt anyone, you’re there to move together as a group.
If someone falls over, it’s also your responsibility to stop and help them up. If it’s an all-ages show, don’t go pushing the 14-year-old as hard as you can. It’s just like life: treat people with the same respect you would hope to receive. But with that said, when you step into a mosh pit you are signing an unwritten agreement that you are okay with some aggressive physical contact from strangers.
So if you want to do nothing but move and dance with a bunch of strangers or just an excuse to push your friends around, then maybe it’s time to give moshing a shot. Some of my favourite experiences have left me bruised and battered for days afterwards, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But remember, bruises will always heal, your hearing cannot. Please, wear some earplugs.