There’s precious little that I love more than live music. Oddly enough, I’m really not into crowds. When walking through the busy streets of Hollywood, its all my comrades can do to keep up with me. I walk fast, weaving in and out of the tourists, freaks and working broads. If I get stuck behind a shell shocked family from the mid-west, its pretty hard to restrain from elbowing through them. I usually choose to battle traffic and the demonic cyclists off the sidewalk, in order to save the family from getting bruised.
In the pit, its no holds bard. The freedom to kick, elbow and even pull the occasional straw colored hair, (not that I ever have…) is all there. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a brute, nor do I condone violence, but while in the pit, that primal beast we keep hidden in the depths of our souls, is allowed to be released and is even socially acceptable for a couple of hours. When entering the massive live membrane, you should damn well know what you’re getting into. If you cant handle the heat, you’re more than allowed to get out of the kitchen – and we die-hards recommend you do.
The first “show” I ever attended was punk/ska themed in Burlington, Vermont. Having grown up in a “fairly sheltered bubble” (or so I thought at the time), at the age of 14, I craved little more than to let loose and experience some danger. A group of us entered Club Toast, not really knowing what to expect, though we were certainly dressed the part. I don’t remember every detail of my ensemble, but I do recall long henna-hued hair, some sort of plaid, boots and a pair of huge hoop earrings that I had procured at a Claire’s earlier in the week.
After hitting the landing at the top of the beer and vomit soaked stairs, the braver members of our crew walked up to the bar and ordered Mountain Dews. We thus proceeded to slurp them down while anxiously awaiting the first band to begin. After about three plastic cups worth of the “weasel piss”, the musicians finally sauntered onto stage. The band consisted drums, bass, guitars, trumpet, trombone…and, oh sweet jesum crow, a saxophone! After a couple of notes, my heart was pounding, brow was sweating, brown eyes were dilated, ears were ringing…and man oh man, was I hooked!
Having been one of the shyer members of the group, I initially held back, allowing the masses to get in front. Quickly, I realized that standing on tip toes and watching the audience skanking to that music just wasn’t gunna cut it for me. By the fourth song, my yellow Doc Martians were readily entering the madness, and my steel-tipped toes had finally found a practical use.
For the next, a true to form band of punks, the crowd quickly went from airily dancing to ska, to smashing into each other as best they could in a confined, humid space, packed to capacity. This is where my crew split; into those willing to be released to the primal being hidden inside, or those that would rather be voyeurs to the carnage at hand.
I found out quite quickly that not only did I love being in the pit, but I was literally built for it. I was tall, sturdy and ready to push, kick and snarl my way up to the front, which were my first instincts and most definitely the correct ones. Now, I’m not gunna lie, it was scary as shet. However, after getting elbowed in the back by a straight edge, kicked in the face by a body surfer, and protecting myself from every jib, jab and kick, I came out feeling alive!…and, well…sweaty…really really sweaty.
In the end, losing one of those big hoop earrings, a fist full of hair and having with a converse imprint (consisting of cigarette ash and beer) on my face, were just small tokens paid in full to the Live Show Gods.
I remember proudly wearing that sneaker print home. Nothing could kill my buzz, not even my mother’s elation that it wasn’t a bloody nose. During the following week, the natural high was still in full effect and I excitedly retold my tales of the pit, while showing off my bruises, which (as I didn’t realize it at the time) was the birth of a ritual.
Mostly because of the dicks in the mosh pit, who usually end up about four “rows” back from the stage, I’ve learned my place in the pit and know how to defend myself against them. They’re the real animals, aggressive and always needing more room to show off and beat the fecking shet out of each other. A real life fight club at every show…if you want to go home with a bloody nose to show Mummy, then this is definitely the spot for you.
And where will you find this Punk Rock Princess in the pit? She’ll be front and center, as close to the stage as humanly possible. More than likely being crushed against the foreboding iron fence, with hands up, elbows out, 98% attention focused on the creatures above. She’ll also be relishing in the fast forming bruises, which will help tell yet another tale of life in the pit.
Long live punk rock, freedom of speech and the creative realm.