Violent act doesn’t kill enjoyment at live gigs
Killing the vibe? Express & Star columnist Becci Stanley with today's Talking Point
It’s something that splits the alternative music scene right down the middle – crowd killing.
The dauntingly-named practice is described by Urban Dictionary as ‘when at a hardcore/metalcore show someone hardcore dances along the border of the mosh pit with the intent of hitting the crowd’.
For those uninitiated in rock shows, where the terms mosh pit and metalcore are nothing more than complete nonsense, crowd killing refers to someone who intentionally throws punches and kicks at members of the crowd while dancing – and I say that lightly – to the live music.
It sounds preposterous that you could go to a music concert and have your head kicked in by a fellow fan in the name of enjoyment, but if you’ve gone to enough rock shows you will have certainly witnessed this behaviour.
Though this topic has been rife on social media and message boards in the last few years – especially in Birmingham with it’s thriving hardcore and beatdown music scene producing bands such as Sentenced, Curbstomp, Drawn In, Splintered and many more – it’s certainly nothing new.
In the 70s, people used to throw their bodies around at punk and hardcore shows, and that culture has stood the test of time with flailing limbs still a common sight at gigs.
This intentional violence has divided alternative music fans across the world, with some defending crowd killing, and others questioning why it is tolerated.
Hardcore music and its fanbase champions equality, acceptance, love and family through it’s passionate lyrics and gritty music, but for many the shows are a no go zone without a helmet and knee pads.
Mosh pits are one thing – you can decide to participate or move out of the way to watch the show uninterrupted – but when an entire venue turns into an amateur fight club, you spend a lot of your time checking your surroundings.
If you walked up to someone in the street and hit them, you’d potentially face a criminal record, so it begs the question as to why this behaviour is not treated with the same gravity when it’s exhibited during a concert.
This behaviour could in turn have a negative effect on live music and venues that promote it as a whole. If crowd killing puts people off from going to shows, it doesn’t become financially viable for bands or promoters to put them on
But has hardcore suffered because of this? It seems not, as the scene absolutely thrives with regular shows across the country, even the world, that often sell-out.
Many fans of hardcore have defended this behaviour as something that is a staple of hardcore shows, and something that adds to the live atmosphere.
There’s something quite bizarre about watching one person kick another in the face at the height of a live set, then the duo shake hands and laugh about it afterwards. But crowd killing and raucous behaviour seem to go hand in hand with hardcore shows, and some crowd members even enjoy it.
Whatever your views on crowd killing, it’s sure to not go anywhere anytime soon.