Friday, October 31, 2008

LIVING BULLDOZER


I can remember being 16 and in a sea of people. Wearing my gardening gloves w/ an X on them in clothing that was ill-fitting at best. Weighing all 145 lbs (if that) just waiting. Waiting for the band to walk on stage. Waiting for them to hit that 1st note. Waiting to explode. As soon as the band hit that 1st chord, I was off along with many of my peers. We were pushing and shoving with all of our might like human bulldozers to clear out space.

Space for what?

Space to dance!

Once there was enough room to move around freely, it was time to do our hardest and most intimidating moves (or what at the time we thought was intimidating) to make sure that wall around the dance floor did not cave-in. If it did, it was time to put your back to the living wall, spread out your arms, and push backwards with all of your strength.

This is something I rarely see at shows nowadays. A decade or so ago, if you went to a Snapcase or Sick Of it All Show, these actions were the norm. Now the dancefloor is already cleared... usually all the way to the very back wall of the venue. There is no more circle to mosh in, and no more work to clear out said area. Now it is usually just a huge open space in which no one makes any contact... unless they are hitting the person standing 50 feet across the room from them backed up against a wall. Moshing has become much more violent in general which is the main reason for this.

Things will be how they will be, though. Times have just changed and there are kids today who will never really get to experiance what I have described above. I always enjoyed that rush when the band 1st came on stage, and the battle to be able to do your dance moves. There were many shows where I recall having conversations with my peers as to whether or not we'd be able to dance, and we'd all get together in the center to clear out a space before the band got on stage. Some shows, the crowd was mostly punk/metal types, or other outsiders, esp at larger shows. At this time, there were a lot of people who were still in the dark as to what HC was and what HC dancing was. Often the push-mosh would over-take the dancefloor (the push was your enemy), or the crowd would swallow-up any space to be able to move and all your hard work was swallowed-up.

Often, fights would occur, usually with one of the outsiders or someone not very well versed in the ethics of the dancefloor with it's arms being thrown and kicks being spun or the process of keeping the floor open. As I recall, most fights at shows were with/against outsiders, and usually not between people within the scene. Sometimes some kinda beef would emerge between regulars, but not often.

To be able to dance was often an effort which took many people, some of whom you knew well, others you did not, but you always at least recognized their framiliar faces, and real always recognized real, which put you on the same team with the same goal. The mosh today is easily had. The battle for the dancefloor no longer exists... for better, or worse. But I will never forget the rush of my years as being a Human Bulldozer and the friends I made in the process. Many of whom I probably would never have met otherwise.

2 comments:

mike said...

i remember the first time i met you,i saw the gardening gloves and wa slike,"i havent seen that in a loooong time, thats awesome" you were one of the first kids i met at a show in pittsburgh that wasnt all weird and cliquey. then without really knowing me you invited us to come to your house to chill and watch videos. i was so scared that pittsburgh wouldnt have any cool kids or a scene and you and rob made us feel so welcome. and the shows at hooligans were fucking insane. whenever i get asked by people about scenes i have been around to experience the youngstown pittsburgh scene is second to none. keep on keepin it real...mike

WEBMASTER said...

Best thing I've ever read. We had to do this roughly four years ago in Canada, and that was when you posted this. Nowadays things are getting a little better here and less conflicts happen just as you described, but I'll never forget the sort of shit we had to go through to make hardcore culture and its practices/etiquette respected at our own shows.