COLUMN: “Crowdkilling – Has it gone too far?” by Louis Foo

[Editor’s Note: The article penned below is in response to a post made earlier today – please read that FIRST to understand the response below: http://uniteasia.org/singapore-band-take-off-release-statement-against-extremely-violent-dancing/ ]

Much has been said about the article that Take Off from Singapore penned regarding this form of violent dancing called “crowdkilling” that was witnessed at a show in Singapore last night. I for one will admit that I have never heard this term before but have heard ABOUT this form of dancing. The type where people are intentionally kicking and punching other attendees as witnessed in the horrible video down below by some ridiculous band that, by putting this stupid video together, is sensationalizing this form of violence at “heavy music” shows. (I refuse to use the word “hardcore” to describe what is on display in the video below because if this is the type of thing going on in the crowd and an actual “hardcore” band on stage doesn’t immediately stop and call this type of bullshit out, then they have no clue what hardcore is all about. If this is what passes for hardcore these days, then I’m done.)

I reached out to a few people who have more than a few words to express regarding this weird phenomenon of beating attendees up at shows and calling it “hardcore” and stating that one should EXPECT this at a “hardcore” show. That’s like in the 90’s when buff meatheads who just finished working out in gyms would come to shows, take off their shirts, start sizing up and then decking kids out. These “meatheads” quickly turned into a joke but also quickly drove away people from coming to shows. More and more “hardcore kids” were turning to other forms of music that didn’t attract this type of stupid violent behavior and machismo at shows – hence the explosion of genres like emo and post-rock throughout the 90’s.

Below is an article penned by Louis Foo as he felt compelled to put down his thoughts to further the discussion about “crowdkilling” and other forms of violent dancing.

Enjoy reading and if you feel the need to offer up a rebuttal, PLEASE send it in:

[email protected]

Let’s get this much-needed conversation going.


Crowdkilling – Has it gone too far?

by Louis Foo

Lets face it – violence at shows have always been a part of hardcore. If you watch old documentaries of bands that played in the CBGB’s circuit in the 80’s, you would realise how tense and violent the scene was. Even Pat Smear of Nirvana/ Foo Fighters fame admits to having abit of a punch on back in the day.

Now, before anyone wants to write me off as some angry pleb scene kid who doesn’t know shit about hardcore, and that ‘I should go to more hardcore shows’, I think everyone back in the Singaporean scene knows I did my time and supported the local scene whenever I could, across all genres, because what matters is going to as many shows as you can and looking cool, instead of actually watching and appreciating music right?

The bottom line is this: wherever there is heavy and aggressive music, there will be mosh pits and slam dancing – but when does it go too far?

Look at this:

Crowdkilling is a loose term applied to any mosh or pit behaviour that involves intentional violence towards both the audience and band members at shows, and has only been labeled or brought to public awareness in recent years due the increased popularity of bands such as Desolated, Black Tongue and the likes. Since then, the trend had crossed over to many other genres in heavy music.

I’ve personally seen people crowdkill to Post-Hardcore bands such as Crown The Empire, and even Pop Punk bands like The Story So far. I feel many people confuse (and sometimes associate) crowdkilling with hardcore. This is not behaviour that is limited to a single genre of heavy music alone, and it should be treated more of an issue with safety and etiquette then pointing a finger at a genre of music.

CrowdkillingAn incredibly mature response to Take-Off’s post on social media. What is ‘real hardcore’ these days, anyway. Lol! 

Violence and injuries (Both intentional and unintentional) at heavy music shows are more or less part and parcel of the experience and the way to reduce incidents obviously won’t be to completely ban or outlaw slam dancing and moshing.

Crowdkilling

Erm, so the whole music scene revolves around you and your ‘underground scene’ bro?

No, saying crowdkilling is dangerous doesn’t mean you can’t slam dance or mosh anymore. Let’s look at the bigger picture kiddos. As promotors, bands, and fellow gig attendees, all of you have a personal responsibility to set and uphold an example of gig/pit conduct and safety. Act in a way that you feel is in the best interests of your local scene. Most importantly, it needs to be understood that any music scene is made up of different people from different backgrounds and it’s meant to be an inclusive space where kids can go and enjoy music safely.

At heavy music shows, it can be extremely hard to be the judge of right and wrong behaviour, simply because of the chaos that ensues. However, I’d like to go with a simple rule of thumb:

Mindfulness.

I’d like to think at every show, there would be people who want to pit, and people who want to hang at the sides and enjoy the band.

Let’s say you attend a show of about 300 people, in a medium capacity local venue (well medium by hardcore standards anyway), there would be a reasonable amount of space to throw your arms around and slam dance, and the chance of giving an innocent bystander on the pit ‘wall’ a free spinkick to the face is greatly reduced. But what about a smaller show of about 50 in attendence? Sure, go ahead and slam dance, and have fun, but throwing yourself at the pit ‘wall’ is kind of stupid because there most likely will be none, and you’ll end up decking some poor kid who was just there to see the same band.

Mindfulness, and awareness of your surroundings. If you keep complaining about why your scene doesn’t grow, why not check if it’s actually inclusive and safe for younger and newer kids to come in?

Crowdkilling or hate moshing will always be a part of heavy music culture, it’s just a matter of managing it.

 Crowdkilling

Horrible attempt at sarcasm aside, this is what NOT to do after an incident.

There has to be communication.

If you feel like you have been a victim of hate moshing or any form of abuse, don’t tweet about it, don’t write a status on Facebook about it, go to the organiser of the show, the band or even the person in question and explain your woes in a direct, mature manner. Bands and organisers… don’t be quiet about this. You have been given the privilege to change and influence the flow of the scene…So what if a band draws huge numbers of attendees and fans, if at the end heaps of kids are going to get hurt? What kind of example are THEY setting for the newer generation? Talk to the band. If they are encouraging forms of behaviour that are not conducive to the growth of the scene, ask them to cut it out. If not, stop booking them. Plain and simple. What’s the point of drawing a large crowd if it’s not safe? If kids get hurt… or worse… go to the Police, you are in for some deep shit, friend.

Everything and everyone in the music scene is connected. So fucking what if Take-Off is a ‘Punk’ band at a ‘Hardcore’ show. Does that mean they can’t listen and understand hardcore as much as yourself?

In the end… remember why you go to shows in the first place… it’s the music right? … right?

Louis Foo


 

Louis would like to send this track out to everyone…lyrics below:

Don’t be a prick in the roses
No one’s impressed with your lack of respect.
We’re all black sheep and we know it
So don’t fuck it up for the rest.

So good, so far, it’s been alright
Could we be more blessed?
It’s sad to see aggression
So misguided, so misplaced

Hands up, throw down and blood will spill.
We’re only human here.
It’s worth a thought
Not to be a slave to human fault

Don’t be a prick in the roses
No one’s impressed with your lack of respect.
We’re all black sheep and we know it
So don’t fuck it up for the rest.

We swear we’re here just for the fun
And to release the angst.
From this we feel we deal
Don’t deprive us of that right.

Stand up to those who think they’re king.
Let them know they’re wrong.
Stand up for things that’ll keep this action going strong.

Don’t make a name for yourself
By stressing out everyone else
And don’t bring your personal war
Through these doors.
Don’t make a name for yourself
By stressing out everyone else
And don’t bring your personal war
Through these doors.

Don’t be a prick in the roses
No one’s impressed with your lack of respect.
We’re all black sheep and we know it
So don’t fuck it up for the rest.

Don’t be a prick in the roses
No one’s impressed with your lack of respect.
We’re all black sheep and we know it
So don’t fuck it up.
Don’t fuck it up for the rest.

UniteAsia.org is an underground Asian music news website created for the sole purpose of supporting our own world. We support all bands and genres HOWEVER we do not support nor have any sympathy for homophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric in lyrical content or band material. UNITE ASIA!

1 Comment

  1. xHNEDGEx

    October 27, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Hard to believe that in 2015 people are still dealing with this issue. Violence at shows, and in the scene in general, has always been the main reason that particular scenes die out. This goes back to the birth of HC/Punk in the US and UK. I was there in the early ’80s and it sucked. It came back in the ’90s, and it still sucked. Then groups like SOSF, FSU, and others ruined it again in the ’00s. Guess what? It sucked again!

    It has always been the kids who care the least about the music and culture that do the most harm. These are usually the posers dressed as hip-hip, jock, tough crew types. They always either leave the scene or end up in prison. Good riddance! Just don’t let them take us down with them. Keep violence, gangs, and racism out of the scene. Spread it!

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