The Moshpit: A Scientific Breakdown

Photo Credit: GS Photography & Design

Mosh pits are a necessity for metal, and it’s probably hard to find a metalhead who has never been in one. It’s a weird and wonderful place, where the creatures come out to play. Like the great Sir David Atten-brah, we’re going on a journey to find out more about the magical and mysterious land of the mosh pit.

At the front of the pit you will often find the die hard fans who want to get up close and personal with the band. They are much like screaming children at the zoo, knocking on the glass and pissing off the gorillas. They’re excited and can usually be found making stupid faces to the camera crews, taking photos on their phones and throwing devil horns in the air.

Behind them are the super macho guys who like to throw down, usually named Michael. They perform the ultra-violent rendition of the punch-dance ballet and usually don’t care who gets in their way. Flying fists and ninja kicks are all the rage with this group of people, and won’t let anyone get in the way of their moves. Bloody noses are a badge of honour for this group.

Circulating the central pit are the people who want to be involved, but don’t want to pull a hammy jumping around. These people come in two forms, Greg and Jessica. Jessica doesn’t realise that she is too small for the pit, and will at times venture too far, receiving a flying death punch to the back of the head. Jessica should stay the fuck out of the pit. Her counterpart, Greg, is the over protective boyfriend who will attempt to protect her honour and attempt to find Michael for a bout of fisticuffs. Greg will inevitably not find Michael, but instead punch a small statured person who is either underage, or just become legally allowed to drink.

At the far extremity of the pit is John who wants to get close enough to the action to have a wholesome experience, but doesn't want to interact with Michael, Jessica or Greg. He will stand with one fist out in front, like a horizontal black pride salute. It’s a physical hand gesture that says “Hey man, I’m here for the music, and this is your boundary”. John is the guy who flings Michael back into the pit, and helps pick the child that Greg punched up off the floor.

Standing next to John is Susan, who will attempt to talk over the 115db amps. Susan is the type of girl who will wear a Nirvana t-shirt, despite not knowing who they are and being born in 1996. Susan is a dipshit, don’t be like Susan.

On the far outskirts is Jim the alcoholic, also known as pisswreckus australis. He requires constant, unimpeded, access to the bar or drinking tent, and can’t enjoy himself without having a breathalyser reading of .378. Standing close by are the super cautious Aaron’s and Christina’s who wear earplugs, who pull one out and yell “What?!” to their friends periodically through out the show.

Mixed within all of these levels of mosh pit creatures are the obnoxious fans who whistle, holla and yell song requests in-between every single song, and start a chant of “one more song” knowing full well that every single headlining band will play an encore regardless. They are usually Slayer fans. “Slaaaayyyyyyeeeeerrrrrrr”.

Mosh pitters come in many forms, with their own idiosyncrasies. Together they form a finely balanced ecosystem, a unique habitat like that of the mantis shrimp. Have you interacted with Michael, Greg, Jessica, John, Susan, Jim, Aaron or Christina? Tag your mate who is one of these characters, and share your mosh pit stories.

Hot tip of the day: If you’re in the mosh pit and you can’t figure out who the dickhead is, it’s probably you.

Ed Howson