New Criticals

Recently, Randy from the metal band Lamb of God was tried for (and thankfully acquitted of) manslaughter in the Czech Republic because a kid died in the pit at one of his shows.  The letter he wrote upon his exoneration is a heartfelt account of the pain he felt at inadvertently contributing to the death of one of his biggest fans, and it rightly proclaims the end of stagediving at Lamb of God shows.  However, when it comes to the practice of moshing itself, his response repeats the most obvious canards about rock show aggressivity: that this kind of risk is what you accept when you come to see a band, and that you, the attendee, have the responsibility to be smart about it and avoid it.

What’s missing is any attempt to actually tell people NOT to run into each other like direwolves fighting over a carcass.  All props to Randy, who seems like a really nice and thoughtful dude, but such hesitance relies on a dogshit presupposition.  It posits a false equivalence between live performance and football.  I love football, both watching it and playing it, and yes, I assume that if I play a game, even of touch, I accept the eventuality that I might accidentally run into someone, because the ONTOLOGICAL CONDITION of a football game is people fucking running either at, after or from each other.  If you told people not to do so, the game would cease to be football and you would soon find yourself playing three-flies-up.   The condition of there being a show, on the other hand, is some performer and some people watching them, behaving in no determinate way.  As a participant in or purveyor of a public performance of some kind, you can tell people exactly what to do and not do.  The weirdos who run Sleep No More kindly ask that you stay silent during your time in their performance, and you will rightly be laughed at/ejected/thought an incurable fuckstick if you violate that polite request.  The way someone behaves at a show is not immune to coercion because it comes from their beautiful and unique soul; it’s a practice that effects others and it’s past time that we (bands, fans, venues) eased comfortably into the business of behavior modification.