Punking 101

Advice for punk show safety from your friendly neighbourhood punk:

The first tip I have for a mosh pit, especially your first one, is to be sober. It’s best to have your wits about you. Also, keep an eye on the pit before you join in, figure out how aggressive it is and what songs you think you could mosh to.

If you’re going to mosh, know that you could get hurt and be prepared to get body slammed by a guy twice your size. With my luck, they are usually shirtless, very sweaty, or in a kilt. Also, make sure you are fully prepared to be incredibly sweaty and disgusting afterward, and yes 90% of the sweat on you will not be your own.

Give your valuables to someone not moshing. I’m talking phone, glasses, loose jewelry, anything that can be grabbed or dropped. I usually shed my punk vest too. Mostly because the pins are loose, but also because it does have spikes on it and I have been on the receiving end of spikes to the face so I would prefer not to do that to anyone else.

If you’re wearing big leather boots (it’s recommended to protect your toes), wear two pairs of socks so you don’t get blisters. Lots of people wear their leather jackets but I honestly wouldn’t recommend it. It gets ridiculously hot in the venue whether or not you are moshing, hence why so many people end up shirtless.

With all this said the punk community is a very caring group of people and they do not wish to cause you any harm. For example, the few times I have been knocked off my feet I have been picked up by the people around me before I even noticed I was on the ground. If you look panicked in the pit and someone notices you, they will grab you and put you safely behind the “wall” until you chose to go back in the pit. Every time someone has hit me with what they consider to be too much force they have stopped and held onto me and asked me if I was okay. A few times I have even had a mosh pit protector. Once at a Rancid/Dropkick Murphys show, I protected a guy while he was tying his shoes and he kept an eye on me for the rest of the night.

One time outside a venue this girl came up to she asked me how I was getting home. At this particular show I was by myself and had no way of getting home because the buses had stopped running, I didn’t have money for a cab, and the walk home was about two hours. She refused to leave me there because she was worried about leaving a baby punk downtown alone so she ended up giving me a ride home to make sure I was safe.

Punks may look tough or scary but for the most part, they are soft and kind. Just squish with caution because we really like spiky things.

It is very punk to ask how people are doing, and making sure they are safe.

Types of mosh pits:

Trash pit – Everyone in the pit and all over the place. Fast and a lot of jumping.

Circle pit – It can be clockwise or counterclockwise, everyone runs around in a circle until dizzy.

Wall of death (more common at metal concerts) – Two sides run at each other at full speed and crash together in the middle.

Triangle Pit (something The Dreadnoughts made up and wanted us to try) – It consists of three points to form the triangle and a “wall.” The rest is just everyone bouncing around within the triangle.

The greatest and weirdest things to ever happen to me at punk shows

  • The band lead us through a pre-mosh stretch
  • I met Laura Jane Grace (she is the love of my life)
  • I fist bumped Al Barr (singer of the Dropkick Murphys)
  • The drummer crowd-surfed to the bar to grab a beer on a ladder
  • I moshed to a polka
  • Got beer spat on me by the mandolin player
  • Sang Disney songs while the drummer crowd-surfed on a table while doing the macarena
  • I got friction burn from another punks jean vest
  • I was given two cans of Guinness by the bassist of Flogging Molly because I entertained him
  • I had two pints of beer poured on me by some drunk guy
  • I ended up at the bottom of an eight-man dogpile
  • I was body slammed by a guy in a kilt
  • I was told I was a very polite punk because I said “excuse me” and “thank you” while I was running through the crowd to the mosh pit

Always remember to punk responsibly kids!

The Dreadnoughts drummer crowd-surfing on a table, The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver 

The Dreadnoughts drummer dancing on a table to “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver 

The Dropkick Murphys, Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, UBC

The Dropkick Murphys, Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, UBC

The after moshing selfie, The Dreadnoughts, Lucky Bar, Victoria

Before moshing selfie, The Dreadnoughts, Lucky Bar, Victoria

Flogging Molly, The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver

Flogging Molly, The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver

The band leading us in a pre-mosh stretch because safety comes first, The Dreadnoughts, Lucky Bar, Victoria

The McGillicuddys, Logan’s Pub, St. Patricks Day

The Staggers & Jaggs, The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver

Flogging Molly, The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver

The Real McKenzies, Upstairs Cabaret, Victoria

The Real McKenzies, Upstairs Cabaret, Victoria

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