What the...??


  • Axl Rosenberg


I’ve seen signs at metal shows telling concert goers that moshing isn’t permitted before; it’s always at some ultra-corporate venue that probably wasn’t ideal for a metal show in the first place (e.g., B.B. King’s in Times Square), where management is supremely worried about the safety of its patrons getting sued.  And it’s always ignored, and only sometimes does the venue’s security attempt to enforce it, usually with mixed results.

What I’ve never heard of is an entire city’s police force cracking down on moshing… until now. The Boston Herald reports:

“Boston cops cited the House of Blues for a license violation because of a mosh pit that broke out during a Feb. 21 show by Los Angeles band Flogging Molly. According to police, 60 concertgoers engaged in an ‘aggressive mosh pit dance,’ during which people were running and ‘colliding into each other,’ including some who were ‘knocked to the ground.’ No injuries were reported.

“A Boston Police Department inspector said the communal dance violated safety rules and the club was cited because security did not intervene, records show.”

While this is the first known instance of a venue in the city being cited for allowing mosh pits, a spokesperson for the Boston PD called moshing “dangerous and a public safety hazard,” and the club was subsequently “ordered to put up illuminated signs saying moshing is not allowed.” In other words, this wasn’t just a one-time thing; there is now going to be no moshing allowed at that venue, and, presumably, other venues in Boston.

And that was the result of a goddamn Flogging Molly concert. Not even a metal show, where, presumably, the pits would be even greater in size and level of aggression. And in Boston. Where the people pride themselves on being fucking crazy.

I almost don’t know what to say. The idea of cracking down on moshing is, frankly, ludicrous. First of all, it’s almost impossible to enforce — like I said, the few shows I’ve been to where there have been “no moshing” signs, venue security did a so-so job of upholding the rule, basically because it’s not practical. How the hell do you get a substantial group of people who are all running around like mad and smashing into one another to stop? The phrase “Excuse me, can I speak to you for a quick sec?” isn’t gonna get their attention, and even if you grab them, it may take a moment for them to register that you’re not just another mosher. So then what do you do? Eject the entire pit from the venue?

Even if that was feasible (and good luck identifying and getting ahold of each and every person in the pit), it’s only a short-term solution. Moshing isn’t going anywhere; if the clubs in Boston can’t/won’t allow it, the metal shows will just go someplace that will. A city-wide, police-enforced anti-moshing policy is about as likely to put a stop to pits as an abundance of strategically-placed desk fans are to stop global warming.

Maybe the venues in Boston can survive without the income made from metal shows; maybe the whole thing will really just be a pain in the ass for metal fans in the Boston area, who will have to travel to nearby towns and cities to see shows. In fact, Unearth’s Trevor Phipps basically says as much in the article:

“This new anti-moshing policy proves once again that the city of Boston hates heavy music. It’s disheartening and maddening to know your hometown doesn’t support or understand your music scene.”

Read the rest of the report (which also includes statements from The Red Chord’s Guy Kozowyk and Shadows Fall’s Brian Fair), then weigh-in with your thoughts in the comments section below… obviously, I’m most curious to hear from readers in the Boston area, who may have experienced this sort of thing first-hand.


[via Nefarious Realm… thanks to Steve for the tip]

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