I’m a big fan of twee (Twee As Fuck, as they say) and so I’m probably spectacularly unqualified to comment on the “moshpit tendency” in music, but that never stopped me before …
Euugh. This about sums up my reaction to blokeish careering around in front of a stage. As a spectacle it’s appalling (a bit like football terraces in the seventies and early eighties, just with extra drumbeats). Exhibitionism, homoerotic machismo, onlookers being challenged and deliberately brought into the maelstrom. Great fun!
Some of the smaller gigs can’t cope with it at all. Non-participants have nowhere to go and get pressed against the walls desperately trying to save their drinks. Even if the moshing is more or less non-injurious, you end up with a yawning hole as the top-dogs patrol their space and the atmosphere switches toward self-protection. The music’s just a half-forgotten backdrop by this stage.
Or maybe I’m missing the pure euphoric joy of it all and I need to get in touch with my inner rugger player. Taken to an orchestrated extreme it assumes a crazed, kamikaze beauty: check out this orgy of slam-dancing, stage-diving and testosterone-fuelled rampaging (including, if my eyes don’t fail me, someone wearing a PiL t-shirt, those well-known exponents of extreme physicality).
Back in the 80s I confess I may have indulged in a little Death Cult-related “chicken dancing”, but this was gentle goth stuff. No physical contact! When the barrel-chested, topless lads moved in I … er, moved out.
The excellent Armitage Shanks sum up the rancid machismo underlying all this with their timeless classic “Shirts off”. Do you want some fucking shirts off or fucking what?