Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why I Don't Belong at Metal Concerts

Alirght, some of you might not consider these bands metal.  Whatever.  My husband talked me into going to a Stone Sour and Papa Roach concert last night.  He got free tickets at work and couldn't find someone to take the last ticket.  He is a huge Stone Sour fan, always has been, and when we moved here he started talking about how awesome it would be to see Cory Tyler live.  Lo and behold, prayers can bring Cory Tyler to Amarillo... but apparently they can't keep mosh pits away from my precious person.  I've been in a crowded concert before.  I've been jostled by mosh pits before.  I've had tinnitus from the ungodly volume at a rock concert before.  But this was terrifying.  Until I accepted it.  Are there five stages of terror as well as grief?  Because it sure felt like it.

Cory Tyler of Stone Sour

Halfway through the show I started enumerating the reasons I knew I was too old to be there.

1.  The first, and probably most obvious is I thought "I'm too old for this."  I didn't mean that I was afraid I'd break a hip, I meant "I'm a little too mature to be screaming at a rock band, avoiding mosh pits and trying to get the screaming teenager to stop hopping her tiny self into my back, hoping a guitar pick is flung my way."  But I did all those things.  And enjoyed it... just a little.

2.  When my back and feet started hurting from standing completely still (except for dodging moshers) I told my husband "Damn it!  I meant to take some Aleve before we came, I knew I should have taken Aleve."  Yeah.  Those words actually left my mouth.

3.  I wanted to drag a couple of completely out of control teenage girls home to their mothers and report their behavior.  The one who kept jumping INTO me, on purpose, trying to get 2 inches closer to Papa Roach.  I finally stuck out my elbow and she went around and started convulsively dancing into someone else's back.  The other kept yelling "Hi YAH!" and pretending to karate chop and kick people in front of us.  Which could have started a horrible fight right in front of me, and I didn't really want to get anyone's nosebleed on my shirt.

4.  Waiting in line to get into the concert hall a woman in front of us was telling us about a car accident her daughter had been in where her 5 year old grandson was in the front seat (both had been badly injured) and I said "Kids aren't supposed to be in the front seat until they are at least 12."  She tried to say that if he had been in his car seat he would have died because the car seat was ejected from the car and I said "Then it probably wasn't installed properly." 

5.  When Papa Roach yelled "You motherfuckers LOVE this!  You motherfuckers NEED this!" I thought first "I have fucked precisely zero mothers," and then "I'm pretty sure that psychologists would agree that YOU are the one who needs this in order to fill a void probably left by absent parents and being 3 feet tall."

Papa Roach, screaming his tiny head off
When I finally stopped thinking about all the ways I didn't belong at that concert, I started realizing that despite the negative media and my own fears, there is surprisingly little risk to being near a mosh pit.  I had asked my friends on Facebook to pray the moshing was kept to a minimum.  It didn't work, but I did learn a whole lot about them.  When they began I thought about the ways my sweater could be used as a garrote to keep myself safe.  One started where I was standing, and I still didn't get sucked into it, though.  You pretty much have to want to be in a mosh pit to be in one.  As I watched, fascinated, I realized that there are unspoken rules to these things.  If someone falls, someone picks them up.  People around the pit act as a border.  People get pushed into them and they push them back into the pit, keeping the people around them from being drawn into the fray.  Moshers make their way politely to the pit, saying "excuse me" and they don't push.  When someone got hurt, the person who did the hurting hugged them and made nice.  When a bunch of tiny girls went into the pit the men all stepped aside and let them have at it.  At that point I told my husband "Girl mosh!  I could own!" (I'm almost 6 feet tall... but I had zero intention of entering it).  It was incredible.  And by that I mean "I couldn't believe it".  I saw one elbow get thrown and at least 15 hugs.  Pretty good ratio.

My view of the pit that opened up right where I was standing

All in all, it was an uncomfortable, scary, awesome night.  I just scrubbed the smell of pot and tobacco smoke off of me, and now I'm ready to be a mom again.  Thank goodness.  I don't belong at metal concerts.


  1. "I knew I should have taken Aleve." :) That would be me, too!

    Yeah, I haven't been to a concert like that in about 6 years, when American Head Charge played with I October at Jake's last show. Yeah, mosh pits are lots of fun, and there are great rules that just about everyone follows. I was always up front at those shows, always giggling at the scantily clad floozies hoping my boyfriend would even just touch them or whatever, and almost always having a blast in the pit. Almost cracked a rib for real one time, and a lot of the regular guys even learned that they didn't need to get out or settle down just because I, a weak little girl, had entered their pit. I dished it just as well and took it just as well. :)

    I'm so glad you had fun last night, and I'm happy for Max that Cory Taylor came to Amarillo just for him.