There’s a sort of lawlessness when you walk into the massive crowd that Slipknot brings to the Ak-chin Pavilion. There’s no way security can make their way through 20,000 people to keep the peace, so things tend to get settled by the hive mind of the crowd. There will almost always be a moment where you have to decide to step in and break up a fight yourself or avoid the potential black eye by staying out of it. And there will probably be a time or two where you have to check yourself and realize that getting knocked on your ass is part of being in the pit.
If you’re looking to go to your first metal show, or you can’t figure out why you keep getting beat up every time you go to a show, here are a few points on mosh pit etiquette.
1. Don’t be an asshole
This is for your own good (and really applies to all types of shows) because the people who are just flat out assholes are spotted easily. Whether they’re trying to start fights or just getting on everyone’s nerves, there’s always someone bigger to walk by and shut that shit down. Save yourself the trouble and act like a decent person.
2. Don’t throw fists
I’m here to let some aggression out just like everyone else, and I expect to be banged up and sore after a good metal show, but there’s always someone who takes it upon their self to run through and straight up throw punches at people in the middle of the circle pit.
Picture yourself in the middle of a rainstorm (compliments of the water cannon that is in the back of the lawn at Ak-chin), blinded by strobes from the stage and surrounded by people falling all over each other; it’s the perfect combination of insanity and fun, but all that comes to an end when you catch a random fist to the face. I’m also looking at you, hardcore dancers. I get that it’s your thing and that’s what you do at hardcore shows, but a circle pit is not the place for that.
3. If someone falls, pick them up
This is the easiest and most common thing that metal/rock shows of all kind follow. You will see someone get shoved or trip over the excess of random appendages that are flying around and end up on the ground with a whole mess of people right behind them about to cause a pile up. Don’t hesitate to grab that guy/girl and yank them to their feet. They’ll thank you for it, and then they can happily continue romping through the circle pit.
4. Your ego is not welcome
This is not the time to prove how tough you are. You’ll find the people who are having the most fun don’t get mad when they’re knocked down, understand that accidental fists or elbows tend to catch you when you least expect it, and realize that we’re all there to go a little crazy. If you get hurt, 99 percent of the time it won’t be intentional; it just comes with the territory of being at a metal show. If anything, you’ll look like more of a badass if you jump back up and keep rocking the fuck out.
5. Hold the shoe in the air, wave it like you really do care
Probably the happiest you’ll ever make someone in the middle of the pit is by returning a lost shoe (pro tip: tie your shoes tight if you plan on moshing). Your first instinct when you see a random shoe on the ground might be to grab it, and throw it into the air and watch it soar into the crowd (or maybe that’s just me). But you’ll be a true hero if you pick up that shoe, and hold it above your head for everyone to see. There is no doubt someone close is frantically looking for their shoe that just came flying off as they tumbled into the side of the circle pit. If they happen to see your findings, they’ll run up to you and you will have made a friend for life — just for keeping their shoe safe.
On a side note, it’s pretty common for people to make a little barricade of bodies around someone who is kneeling down to tie their shoe. Nobody likes getting run over when they’re trying to tighten up their laces.
To tie this back to the Slipknot show, though: On more than one occasion, the band spoke to the crowd about being part of one big family, and if you take that to heart, and remember that everyone is just trying to have a good time watching a kickass metal band, all will be well in the pit.
Featured image created by Frozen Second, see more at: frozensecond.tumblr.com