The video above is a music video for Desolated’s song ‘End of the Line’. A quick view will expose you to a side of hardcore you may or may not be familiar with. Certain audience members who are embroiled in the video’s various mosh-pits adhere to an attitude known as “crowd kill” where the audience members go out of their way to hit other moshers in a rather violent fashion. This is achieved with back-hand arm swinging and high-kicking as opposed to your standard pushing and shoving.
Before we address why this is obviously wrong, let me say that I understand that moshing can be an enjoyable and cathartic experience. Heavy, aggressive music like hardcore is bound to provoke an aggressive reaction and this is why mosh-pits are a regular occurrence at heavy music shows. Typically this takes the form of the aforementioned pushing and shoving which is a reasonable, controlled expression of aggression that makes sense in this environment.
A lot of bands actively promote the message that if someone falls in the pit then it should be a priority that you pick them up which is a responsible and caring attitude to share with the people who are passionate enough about your music enough to jump into a mosh-pit. Moshing can lead to injury if you don’t care for your fellow moshers and bands should do more to spread awareness that if they’re going to do it they should look out for each other.
What Desolated are doing is the complete opposite. This video promotes violence towards other moshers and the band have clearly got a strong enough following for this to become typical behavior at Desolated shows. This sort of behavior is no longer moshing; it’s violence and if it wasn’t happening at a hardcore show it would be difficult to argue that the audience weren’t acting with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. That’s an offence by the way.
So what needs to be done? Bands like Desolated need to take responsibility for their audience. It doesn’t take a couple of minutes to explain to your audience that if you want to mosh then you should treat your fellow moshers with respect. These people came to your show because they cared enough to support your music; show them that you want them to keep coming back.
I leave you with an amazing example of how this can be achieved. Back in 2011 Foo Fighters played the iTunes Festival in London. The show was brought to a halt when a fight started in the crowd. Dave Grohl took an active stance to make sure that the audience member who started the fight was ejected from the venue because his behavior was not welcome. In doing so he made the experience far more memorable for everyone attending and it’s considerably more likely that these people will continue to attend Foo Fighters shows.
Going to live shows should always be about enjoying music and supporting the artist; after all that’s why people pay to go to them. It’s time for crowd kill behavior to go away so we can welcome more people into heavy music shows.