10 Tips On Mosh-Pit Politicking
Mosh-pit Politicking is vital to the modern day rocker. As mosh-pits have gradually branched out from the metal genre into more commercially acceptable options, politicking becomes vitally important to the fans. Politicking is the act of moving your way through the gaps in a crowd to force your way closer to the front. I’d like to think I’m reasonably experienced at this, and this is my advice.
- Empty your bladder
Seems obvious, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised at how many people forget this simple truth. Because a band set can be quite long, and there is nothing worse than having those 7 Guinness’ pushing against your kidney as you’re trying to mosh. Bands almost always save a few of their best songs for the end and you should be front row, not listening on the bathroom speakers.
- Do up your shoelaces
With so many pairs of feet jumping around, you cannot risk losing a shoe. It happened to me once. At the mother-of-all moshes to Queens of the Stone Age. I was lucky and managed to find the shoe, but this was an act of God. And even with the almighty on my side, I still had to push back to relace. Summer music festivals have seen the death of hundreds of pairs of thongs, and unless you can store them somewhere (I suggest using the straps to pull them up your calves) they really should not be worn in a mosh pit.
- Remove all baggage.
To become a successful mosh pit politicker, you must have no baggage, either metaphorical or literal. Whether this means ditching the girl you’ve been creeping on all through the warm-up act or electing to skull you’re last pint, so be it. There is nothing worse than seeing an opening to move into and having to wait for someone to catch up, or fearing you’ll spill your beer. These missed opportunities will be seized upon by the enemies of the mosh-pit politicker; fat, lazy groupies and hipster couples.
- Try to plan your path in advance
This can be difficult, and often involves a fair degree of luck but after a few gigs, you can hopefully learn to pick which way to go. If possible, firstly try to reach higher ground by climbing on someone’s shoulders. This allows for an unimpeded point of view of what’s up ahead. Basically you try and avoid any people that don’t look like moving (couples in close contact, fat people, or anyone that looks out of place) and use the movements of the fun people (anyone with the bands shirt on, drunk hooligans or party animals) As these latter people will probably move, it is perhaps more important to avoid the stationary folk.
- Keep your arms up
My preferred position is the boxing stance. This enables the dexterity to spontaneously jump at point to the Gods on stage, hi-five other like-minded politickers, but perhaps most importantly, it protects your face, jaw and nose. There is nothing more fun in a mosh than when the whole crowd gets jumping at the same time, but it only takes one moron who can’t jump in time and you will end up looking like the Elephant Man.
- Don’t be afraid to push people
Two of my favourite sayings are very applicable here; “If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the fire” and “Go hard or go home.” In this scenario, this can be interpreted as; if you’re in a mosh-pit, you better be ready to mosh. A politicker should have no reservations about jumping past someone who, for lack of a better phrase, are not getting into it and not getting out of it. In the end, they’re only hindering their own fun and deserved to be forced to the back.
- Use the crowd to your advantage
I cannot stress the importance of this step. So much so, I’m going to break it down into a few parts.
Using a slipstream
If you see someone else trying to force their way through a crowd, jump in behind them. This is particularly helpful if you are small and they are big. As can be seen by the success of Coldplay in the wake of Oasis’ Wonderwall, slipstreaming is a great asset to have.
Fighting the crowd
In some environments, the mosh will sway from side-to-side or back-to-front. It takes some skill but is one of my favourite ways to move forward. Consider waves at the beach; after the crashing of the wave, it recoils back into the ocean, where space has been created. A similar thing happens in the mosh, but most people cannot use the wave metaphor to their benefit. Push against the crowd and you can often burst through a few rows.
CIRCLE OF DEATH
At particularly intense gigs, a circle will form in which people will run at each other. While most people do this for the adrenalin of hitting someone, this can be used to our benefit. Starting at the further end from the stage, one can brace and roll through the circle to reach the side closer to stage. But you must be prepared to get hit.
- Always sing-a-long (even if you don’t know the words)
This is just to maintain appearance. People are more inclined to let you through if they think you’re a bigger fan than they are. It’s just common sense. This works particularly well on new songs. I always imagine people looking at me singing along to the acts unreleased single and thinking, “Wow, he must have seen these guys hundreds of times and most be a huge fan.” All the while, I’m just saying “Rhubarb” over and over.
- Crowd Surf
So that “Going on a bear hunt” song was wrong. You can always go over it! This is particularly risky, as it greatly depends on the involvement of the crowd, and can end up in injuries, but we’re politickers and we stop at nothing to claim our rightful place at the front of the mosh.
- Never forget Mosh Pit Courtesy
So this has been a very violent discussion but at the end of the day, we must be courteous. If someone falls, help them up. Give your fellow moshers a round of applause at the end. We don’t want to seem too rude. 🙂