Started as slam dancing in the 1970's by the original punk bands. First popularized in the Nirvana video, Smells Like Teen Spirit. Evolved into the violent choas seen at today's rock concerts. See crowd surfing and stage diving.

Like most things in life, its better at a punk show. If you have cool old school east coast punk people in the pit then it will be harsh and violent but never threatening or dangerous. However, newer, Fight Club inspired moshers might create pits that are simply made for removing teeth and gashing skin. Probably so popular because it allows young white males to let out both violent emotions and sexual frustration in one grand gesture. Plus, if you're with one of those girls you can impress them by coming back alive and with all your teeth.

Yes . . . yes. There is no other experience like moshing. This is a great way to release anger without (hopefully) hurting anyone (too badly) and having a lot of fun at the same time. It's pure action. You get totally exhausted, and say, "Okay, I'm not going back in." A couple minutes later, you find yourself back in the thick of it, crashing into like-minded individuals left and right in a violent, energizing frenzy.

Someone I know recently argued with me that crowd surfing was what it's all about, and moshing was stupid. I shook my head at this poor soul, who's only experience in either of the two was at the yearly watered-down, alterna-crap festival sponsored by the local "trendy alternative station", to quote another "trendy alternative station." Not to put down such concerts, as they can be fun . . . at times. But . . . come on. Seriously. Anyways, crowd surfing is reasonably fun, I guess, if you like being groped by sweaty fat people while constantly being at the risk of permanent cranial damage. Some of the more jaded would argue it's not that different from moshing - but anyone with experience can tell you different.

To summarize, it would do most people a lot of good to jump in the pit once in a while. Have fun. And stay the fuck away from Victory Records hardcore. Death to Earth Crisis. Vegan Reich can suck it.

(NOTE: The last paragraph excludes, of course, the mighty Snapcase and any other band on Victory that's good . . . I can't think of another off the top of my head.)
Before my first venture into a punk rock concert, I had always considered mosh pits to be pointless. Who knows why people feel the need to bash into others, or be crammed into such a tight space that you can't breathe? The general stereotype of a mosh-pit-goer is a young white male who needs to release sexual tension and anger. Generally, that's true. However, I learned of other reasons why people like the pit.

Yesterday, at a Rancid concert, I had my first encounter with a mosh pit. Stuck in the second row - center, I had my work cut out for me. About two minutes into the concert I got kicked in the head by a body surfer going over me. Then there was the guy with the foot long mohawk who kept poking people with it. Needless to say, I had to learn fast.

Just when i was starting to get the hang of when to duck, when to stick my hands above my head and when to brace myself for impact, a whole new situation emerged behind me. This was a circle pit. In a nutshell, it's a circle created in a pit where people (usually guys) run around and bash themselves into the people around the sides, who are also skanking, causing the whole pit to spin.

At certain points I had to hold on to complete strangers for dear life when the surging crowd started getting really pushy, but generally I had a great time listening to the music, screaming my head off and jumping around like a rabbit on crack.

I think that once I got past the cynicism I had for the whole experience and started to enjoy myself by moving with the crowd rather than resisting, I felt like all my problems would fizzle as long as I kept jumping. It was a great feeling, and I must admit, I'm hooked.

A mosh pit is interesting because of the duel nature of the whole affair. The band is blasting music at unbelievable volumes into the crowd, and the pent up anger of a hundred young concert-goers is released in the form of punches, body slams, and various other wrestling moves. But as soon as the hapless soul trips and falls, immediately, a complete reversal of the earlier mood occurs. People who had been trying as hard as possible to inflict pain on those around them stoop and help the fallen gently to their feet and ask them "Hey man, are you OK?"

Walking away from one pit to the restroom, a large man in a "PAIN 4:20" jersey told me, "Man, you're a psycho in there. I love crazy people." He then proceeded to show me the bruise I gave him. Mosh pits may be about releasing anger, but the anger is not directed at the other concert-goers. Instead it is vented into thin air, with anonymous figures taking the brunt. So far it is the only place I have found where you can beat the shit out of someone and become friends because of it.

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