The ‘Mosh Pit’ is probably THE most misunderstood phenomenon of heavy metal sub-culture and is often taken completely out of context by onlookers unfamiliar with our means of expressive outlet as metalheads. Well, the mosh pit and the supposed spiritual corruption we all suffer from, of course; but that is another matter for another day.
As can be seen in the recent documentary film, As The Palaces Burn, featuring Lamb Of God (with particular focus on Randy Blythe) and the court proceedings following the death of a fan from an injury sustained at a concert, it can be very hard to explain it to people who have never encountered or experienced a mosh pit first-hand. Of course, there are no guarantees that a mosh pit experience will necessarily be a pleasant one. In fact, to be truthful on the matter, a mosh-pit is by no means whatsoever a ‘comfortable’ experience; yet it can be, and almost certainly is to those who frequently engage in the activity, regarded as a ‘comforting’ one. It is merely a channeled expressive release. Yes, true: it is not out of the ordinary that people can get hurt (anywhere on a scale from barely bruised to death), and a few bumps and scrapes are par for the course. Then again, this measurement of ‘hurt’ and ‘risk’ experienced by participants is all relative to the eye of the beholder and within their own unique context. Many people who have had their fair share of bumps and scrapes, and some even more serious injuries, return with undimmed enthusiasm and in good spirit. For many, the ‘risk’ even contributes to the appeal. We live in such a sheltered society and surrounded with so many enforced safeguards that sometimes a little bit of risk is the saving grace which reminds us we’re actually ‘alive’.
Now, it can be argued that the biggest risk (obviously, this statement being made without eliminating other less frequent risks) to any individual participating in a mosh pit is, in actual fact, themselves. Bad behavior is not tolerated. Behave in a way which deliberately and purposefully hurts or endangers somebody else and justice will be meted out swiftly and decisively. By the same token, a well-spirited interaction will be met in kind. There is an unwritten code of conduct, and mutual respect, applicable to all who participate. It is simple, primal, and is learned in it’s totality by most within minutes! DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO. This transcends the biblical context and manifests itself wholesomely as commonsense in such a short time of experience in the mosh pit by ninety-nine percent of people. The other one percent usually don’t stick around for very long, and for good reason.
When one of our website contributors stumbled across this gem of a video, we decided to put on our investigatory shoes and track down the source to get a few words. We felt from the footage that he had captured the essence of what the typical mosh pit is and should be, and he did it all right here in South Africa at what is probably South Africa’s biggest attraction for the said activities: RAMfest.
“One of the many reasons why I listen to metal is because of the mosh pits at live performances. I have yet to find the same sense community and happiness from running around into random people anywhere else. There is something about moshing that allows you to literally and figuratively throw your full heart and soul into the music.” ~ David Le Roux (amateur film maker)
David is a student as the University Of Cape Town, studying Civil Engineering, but also enjoys metal, moshing, and loves watching music videos and performance videos of his favorite bands.
“I’ve noticed that most live performance videos very rarely get a good perspective of the inner workings of the pit. If you go type ‘Mosh Pit’ into YouTube, you just end up with a whole lot of badly shot and edited videos of random circle pits and walls of death” ~ David Le Roux
He joked with us about how the first video to pop up in his search for ‘mosh pit’ was actually of an awful electronic dance song. He felt that Noisey Music came close to making a decent series (Pit Boy) about moshing, but fell short in his expectations for quality footage.
“It has been a goal of mine, as an amateur short film maker, to capture the essence of a mosh pit in a way that others can also feel, experience, and maybe understand it. Since acquiring a GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition, which is the only camera that can take quite a beating, I have come one step closer to reaching my goal.” ~ David Le Roux
David cites Sam Dunn’s documentary film Metal: A Headbangers Journey as an influence.
“I went to RAMfest with the aim of trying to enlighten others on what I personally believe a mosh pit is all about. Working off ideas garnered from countless YouTube videos, I hoped to create a decent video that captures the intensity and passion of the pit. At the same time I wanted to show others how diverse – Yes, the fact that there are actually girls – and how well spirited everyone within it really are. This year’s RAMfest truly didn’t disappoint and equally importantly, neither did the crowd. As you can see from my video, the South African fans of Trivium, Killswitch Engage, Fuzigish and The Black Cat Bones (featured in the video across two stages) gave their all for their respective bands. I hope that my video has done them justice.” ~ David Le Roux
David promises to be seeing us in the pit with his GoPro at future concerts. Here is his video shot at RAMfest 2014 near Cape Town, South Africa.
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