When we awoke on the first of January 2015, we could have been forgiven for expecting hoverboards and flying cars everywhere. Sadly this was not the case. Instead, we’re clearly going to have to find our own exciting things to do in the new year, and that’s what we intend to do…..
We are currently commissioning a new website for This is Turin that will include a blog section containing thoughts and stories from musicians and people close to the band. The website is www.thisisturin.com and whilst this is being built I thought I would get the ball rolling on a subject that seems to be drawing a lot of attention in social media lately – the pit.
When discussed in passing, the pit is often seen as quite a simple being. A group of over excited individuals sharing a common interest during a performance who let out their energy through frantic movement. Whatever you decide to use as your definition of a ‘mosh pit’, you will probably end up with more questions than answers.
The more you take a step back and think about it, the more strange and perplexing the idea of the pit really is. I myself see the pit as everything from both powerful and emotive, through to embarrassing and unnecessary. Some of the greatest moments of my life have involved both the viewing of and involvement in a crowd of people rebounding off each other like a swarm of wasps. I’ve seen it all. Everything from being put at the top of a pyramid of people at our show in Sunderland, through to fearing for my life whilst people were dropped like flies around me at a Hatebreed set in France. As powerful as these moments have been, I can’t help but think about what the pit must seem like from the outside and wonder how crazy the ‘uninitiated’ must think we really are.
Where else would you find a group of people go from being so aggressively physical with other each to suddenly stepping away and smiling at each other? The only thing that comes close is how competitive fighters can go from such a pugilistic battle to raising each other’s hand as a sign of respect and victory on both parts, regardless of the outcome. This is where I think the pit becomes important to those in extreme music. In its own strange way, it becomes a vessel for the feeling of belonging and accomplishment.
I didn’t choose to be into extreme music. If I’d of had my way I’d have fell in love with indie rock and made a killing playing weekend shows that pay you to play even if the door entry is free. The promise land. The reality is that for some strange reason I fell in love with extreme music. As clichéd as it sounds, like many others, extreme music has served as a release for me. It has also made me feel part of something special that I can share together with others. It is hard to explains the emotions I feel when I see a pit open up at one of my shows. What I will say is I feel proud that people are making the decision to share that time with me and hope they feel some of what I do.
Recently there has been a significant increase in crowd unrest at shows due to some of the behaviour occurring. This has lead to certain ‘types’ of crowd and certain ‘types’ of bands getting somewhat of a reputation. It is a situation that must be dealt with carefully by both bands and patrons. I remember many years ago when one of my all time favourite bands called Stampin’ Ground were told under no uncertain terms that if a pit was to break out in a Glasgow, they would have their set pulled. What band or patron really wants to be back in that type of situation?
The fact is that there is no reason to complicate the matter. There is a minority that take it too far. They are not the majority.
The last thing we need is more stereotyping and segregation between fans. We don’t need promoters questioning the validity of putting on a show for something so meaningless. A show is an opportunity for people to come together as one. It shouldn’t be twisted into anything more sinister. I won’t get into semantics because we should know that is right and what is wrong. A bit of heated action inside the pit is right. Lamping someone whilst waiting for a beer at the side of a crowd is wrong. No discussion necessary.
Bands need to be aware of the power they hold on stage. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learnt that the hard way. Patrons of shows need to think about why they are at a show and why they listen to them – the music. I love the fact that my music collection is eclectic to say the very least. It includes everything from Pornogrind through to Straight Edge Hardcore. It something I am proud of. The reason my taste is so broad is because I love the music. The materialistic tendencies and cultural ways of each sub genre is an afterthought.
So what is there to take away from my ramblings? I’m sure that those involved in extreme/alternative genres will have their own positive and negatives feelings towards ‘the pit’. What I will ask is that all turn their attention to what is important and support their scene by keeping the energy positive and focused on the music. Walk away from any gig with your head high knowing you have done no unnecessary harm. Do not take yourself too seriously.
Get in the pit, commit and make sure you pick each other up at least!