One fine morning after my very big, little brother—a seasoned expert on the art of moshing—came home slightly exasperated after an eventful night out with his gang of merry men. Exasperated because of the total lack of courtesy and generally consistent asshole-like qualities displayed by his fellow moshers.
The night was off to an unpleasant start when one of the gang of merry men, let’s call him Max (because that is his name), had a glass thrown in his direction in the middle of a mosh pit, consequently hitting him clean in the face. Talk about a rude awakening.
Max now had a slightly sore and stunned face, but all was well for the unbroken glass; another fellow standing in front of Max managed to catch the glass as it ricocheted off of his face and proceeded to throw it back into the crowd with a jovial ignorance and complete lack of fucks to give as to where it may land.
Unaware if the flying-glass would reappear, the boys bravely continued moshing. This time the surprise was on Big Little Brother, as he felt a hand rather abruptly place itself on his lower back. Assuming that it must just be The Dav (real name, David) messing around, he moshed on. However, the hand began to gingerly work its way down to his left butt cheek, at which point he looked at The Dav, only to realise that both of The Dav’s hands were otherwise occupied.
In a panic, Big Little Brother turned to see a confident young woman attached to the groping hand. Big Little Brother became quite uncomfortable and decided to do the only reasonable thing that one could do in this situation: he pretended that he had no feeling from the neck down. That’s 21-year-old, male logic for you.
Big Little Brother would like me to let you know at this point that he has a girlfriend, that he is not a prude, and that had he been single, the confident arse groping would have been totally welcome.
Though the flying glass did not make another appearance, the group had to battle through flying slurs and people being pushed their way. While giving me a run-down of the night Big Little Brother managed to detail at least another four occurrences in which the merry gang had to band together in pack formation to beat the crowd.
The trials of merely battling the crowd at a gig is not all we will be discussing here though. Below I give you the ten rules of mosh pit etiquette, as gifted to us novices by my Big Little Brother and his gang of merry men.
RULE 1 – Don’t Mosh Before the Pit Has Formed
If you decide to mosh without an existing mosh pit circle you’re guaranteed to piss off everyone around, and your sudden burst of energy could hurt yourself or others. Be considerate of everyone else around you and read the energy in the room—if no one else wants to mosh, don’t mosh. You paid good money to be there, make sure your uncontrollable adrenalin rush doesn’t get in the way of you seeing the headliner.
RULE 2 – Don’t Congregate Around the Lollipop Men
While most of the lollipop men can be friendly, they are also off their chops and thus their happy demeanours are also ignorant ones and can land you in some trouble. Beat them by joining them or avoiding them, it’s that simple.
RULE 3 – Don’t Attempt to Stop a Mosh, Mid-Mosh
If you find yourself unwittingly stuck in a mosh pit do not attempt to stop the mosh, it will not work, and others will get angry. Instead you can leave the mosh using one of the following two tactics:
THE SAFE OPTION – Carefully back your way out of the mosh pit and become a part of the barrier of people (The Wall) dividing the mosh pit (White Walkers) from the crowd surrounding it (Westeros).
THE RISKY OPTION – Attempt to cross the mosh pit before the drop hits. Supposedly during a set there will be moments in which the mosh will dissipate before a drop, giving you a window of hope for escape. Now all you have to do is run Forrest, run. Sounds easy, right? Well, apparently not.
The first issue with this is unfamiliarity with the song. If you do not know when the drop is going to hit, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be caught off guard, and then you’re fucked.
The second issue is that running into the middle of a dispersed mosh pit can make you look like you’re trying to be ‘King of the Hill’. This is likely to result in you being ‘Sniped’ (or rugby tackled back into the crowd, for those of us that don’t speak mosh pit slang).
RULE 4 – Don’t Turn Your Back on the Ocean
Face inwards, towards the mosh. Do not face outwards, towards the barrier. Like the ocean, the mosh is a cruel beast that will pull you back in if you are not watching. You will disappear and you may die.
RULE 5 – Throw Elbows, Not Punches
Big Little Brother could not explain this one in any more detail for us amateurs, but one can assume that not purposefully punching anyone would be a good place to start. However, for those in the know, apparently, ‘and Excision said let there be elbows’ will mean something to you.
RULE 6 – Don’t Be the Overprotective Boyfriend
If some other bloke is creeping on your girl, just chill out, there’s no need to flare up like a fucking frill-necked lizard. You look like you have Imaginary Lat Syndrome. Don’t be a wanker. Your girl can take care of herself, I assure you. If you feel like you need to ‘mark your territory’ do so by standing by her, not punching the poor guy who hit on her.
RULE 7 – Don’t Fall Victim to the Fake Drop
If you don’t know the music well, then follow the crowd, don’t get ahead of yourself and jump into the middle of a mosh pit on a fake drop. If you do so you risk looking like the ‘King of The Hill’ again—see Rule 3, ‘The Risky Option’.
RULE 8 – Do Not Enter the Mosh with a Drink
This is self-explanatory really. Unless you thoroughly enjoy wasting your ridiculously expensive drink, just don’t.
RULE 9 – Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Though a mosh pit often looks like a heap of super aggressive idiots trying to beat the shit out of each other, most of the people involved are actually there for fun, just like you. So, if you do happen to fall down, someone will always be there to pick you up, whether they know you or not. In the spirit of mosh pit etiquette, please return the favour.
Please do keep in mind however, that while the mosh pit is all in good fun, you’re basically playing human bumper cars. Be aware of your own size and that of others around you. If you’re big, don’t throw your full body weight into the little guy. Dick move.
RULE 10 – Dance to Suit the Scene
You wouldn’t do the waltz at an ACDC concert or the Macarena at a heavy metal concert. So don’t try to rinse when you’re surrounded by a huge crowd of people, you simply take up too much space. You don’t get a lot of personal room in a mosh pit, so in order for this to work, everyone needs to avoid flailing their arms and legs about in every possible direction.
Though you should not dance like a washing machine; dancing like a wobble board, with your legs unmoving and arms stuck to your sides, forming a single snake-like creature, is also creepy as fuck and should not be done. Find a happy balance.