You may have already read the story that the city of Boston has banned moshing at all shows. This stemmed from an incident at a FLOGGING MOLLY concert. Not dudes fighting, but just moshing. Yes, you read that correct FLOGGING MOLLY. No disrespect to them as a band, but you’ve got to be fucking kidding me. According to the Boston Herald the incident in question involved 60 concert goers involved in “violent moshpit” dancing and engaging in “dangerous behavior”. Apparently the House of Blues security staff was very hands off during the show and led to the “situation”. Noted Boston metallers like Brian Fair, Guy Kozowyk and Trevor Phipps have publicly called bullshit on the situation. Now Metal Army is here to add their two cents worth. Actually more like ten cents!
First, some context. I live just outside of Boston and as a professional music appreciator I go to as many shows as I possibly can. To put things into perspective Boston is a small city that gets only a portion of the metal shows in this region. The House of Blues itself gets relatively few metal shows with recent ones coming from MASTODON, ANIMALS AS LEADERS, CLUTCH and a few others. Downtown Boston has other venues like Royale and The Orpheum which often either barely have any metal shows or no open floors for moshing to take place if they did. Last week I saw GWAR at The Wilbur Theater which is more known for comedy than anything else and was the first show in the city after the ban. Signs were everywhere detailing the rules about moshing and crowd surfing and security were professional, but already on edge since they had never had a show like GWAR before. On mandate kids who were just jumping around too much were talked to and apparently a few who tried to mosh were ejected from the club. MUNICIPAL WASTE front man Tony Foresta called the rule “stupid” from the stage. A GWAR show without moshing seemed ridiculous to me too, but it happened. ODERUS URUNGUS even tweeted about it! More frequently metal shows happen in Allston at places like Great Scott (technically still part of Boston), in Cambridge at The Middle East, and outlying towns like Somerville and Revere. Who knows if this ban will spread beyond Boston proper to other places, but it is bad news any way you slice it.
Moshing is a form of personal expression. Granted there are some ninja kicking, face punching jock dudes who go to shows and are just out t get drunk and hurt people. They are not cool and I don’t condone their actions. I have also, seen some really overzealous security guards act poorly, but for the most part everybody is cool as long as no one is being dickish. What I could understand is clubs being concerned with stage diving, crowd surfing or crowd walking, because occasionally people get inadvertently hurt by these actions. Even then, I rarely see injuries. Realistically moshing, slamming, dancing etc. is all a healthy release. Security guards nine times our of ten are usually trained and excellent, especially at The House of Blues. As for the fans the good old-fashioned, violent fun is just another way of enjoying the show and I don’t see what the problem is. Most of the shows I go to are at non-Boston places in the burbs like the venerable Worcester Palladium where moshing happens every show and almost no one ever gets hurt. I’ve seen more violence in New York, Albany, Philly and Quebec than I have at shows in Boston. People who go into the pit should expect to get knocked around a bit, otherwise why would they go in? I can’t imagine this ban spreading everywhere. Shows without a pit? It just wouldn’t be right to rock out and not see big circle pits. Even the tired ass wall-of-death has it’s place and time. If anything the idea of moshing had become commercialized by videos metal and other genres, which is why inexperienced fools run up front, only to scurry back out after one second of pain. Still, moshing must be allowed to endure. What’s next? No headbanging? No throwing devil horns because someone is offended? Where does it stop? So far a lot of local fans and bands are mad as hell and not going to take it. One group of concerned metal folk have started a Facebook page: KEEP MOSHING LEGAL in protest and another petition is live at Change.org too. They could use support from anybody hoping to “do the Toxic Waltz” again someday in town. Boston metal fans and metal fans everywhere need to be conscious of this and vigilant enough not to allow this spread to other places. What’s your opinion? We’d like to know!
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes