No proper blogs for YONKS, then 2 in a couple of days. This one’s about crowdkilling.
Okay okay okay, this isn’t a blog hating on people who like going to hardcore metal shows to beatdown. If I had the gumption (and was 20 years younger), girl or not, I’d be in the pit throwing shapes. I love hardcore bands, I love going to hardcore shows. I hate seeing soo many heated discussions on my social media timelines about crowdkilling with the odd fucking eejit trying to defend it though. Everyone’s got an opinion, here’s mine.
As a photographer it’s the visual elements of a live show that grab my attention, both ON stage and OFF it. A musician going down the pit barrier, climbing on top of the crowd, climbing up speaker stacks, stage diving, whatever, the crowd going apeshit. All of this, to a photographer, is GOLD. And I get right in the crowd often to try to capture these moments, cus wide angle full stage shots (from audience or stage) that include action going on in a pit are my favourite kind of live photos, and quite frankly the rowdier the action the better the photo. And the more I’d enjoy the show.
I’ve been to hundreds of hardcore and metal shows. I know what to expect. I’m disappointed when there’s no pit action. I know that if there is and I go too near to the front I’m likely to get smacked with a flying fist or get a foot to my face. This won’t be because the person throwing down in that pit is TRYING to smack me. I’ve been to enough shows where I’ve seen people smashed out cold in pits, or with bloody ears and faces, being picked up and man hugged by the person who did it once the set is done. There is a definite sense of camaraderie in any mosh pit. If they fall down you pick em up.
Crowdkilling isn’t this. It’s the few who come to these shows with the intention to hurt someone, those who choose to forget that they’re (often) part of a minority. They choose to involve people who don’t want to be involved. The people around the edge who want to just watch. The ones staying away just enough to not be involved. The ones who don’t expect a 14 stone bloke to come crashing into them after being flung across the pit by another 14 stone bloke, or to be randomly punched in the face. Crowdkillers push it to a different level.
I’ve got a bit of a problem with this. I’ve got even more of a problem with the people who do this because it also gives those throwing shapes in the pit a bad name. Cus all those people in the pit are in there fully knowing what’s going on. They know they might get a whack to the head. They stick to that area. They don’t involve anyone who doesn’t want to be involved. They’re not TRYING to actually destroy anyone. They’re just fucking having a good time, and expressing their appreciation for the band playing on the stage.
I also have a problem with people who crowdkill and then try to defend their actions by saying ‘anyone at a hardcore should expect it’, or ‘well if they’re in the pit and get hurt they deserve it for being there’. This could be partly true if the people being hurt are actually in the pit, you know like standing AMONGST those flinging their arms and size 12 feet around. They’re not, they’re the people standing, bobbing their heads, giving the occasional hand gesture, appreciating the band playing on the stage, AWAY from the pit.
NO-ONE deserves to get bashed at any show. There’s nothing anyone can say to me to defend an act that is premeditated and involves inflicting physical harm on someone else.
Live music isn’t elitist, it’s not an exclusive club only cooool people can join. I know plenty of people with a very diverse taste in music who could just as happily go to an acoustic show as a hardcore one. I know people who’ve been to their first or second hardcore show and intuitively known it’s probably safer to stay away from the front (although where the fuck does it say you should eh?) and STILL come away with an injury they neither asked for nor expected. Of course it’s going to put them off going to any others, and that’s definitely just what the UK music scene needs right now.
Fair play it’s not just guys though. I was watching a band playing the Jager Stage at Warped in November when 2 girls who looked like they’d just finished school for the day (pigtails, backpacks, stripey socks), started swinging each other round in circles, forcing everyone to move out of their way and knocking violently into one girl who was obviously just minding her own watching the band, before heading swiftly my way. They just frowned then smiled dumbly when I told them to pack it the fuck in, and went off again, knocking into yet more people who just wanted to watch.
Maybe more people just thinking a bit about how their actions can impact on others, and respecting that it’s the right of EVERY person at a show to be able to just stand and watch a band if they want, without fear of being hurt, might help improve the turn outs at all shows in the UK in general? Just a thought.