The Spiritual Implications Of Mosh Pits, According To A Drunk (Me)
(Rewind: Spring 2011 ) I had learned of Danno’s death a week after it transpired. Strangely enough, the day of his death and the day I got news of it had a lot in common. They were Friday mornings for him on the East Coast, Friday nights for me in the Southwestern mountains. And for both of these nights, W21 hosted Metal shows, and both concerts featured the band Obelisk. As such, obelisks have come to symbolize resilience, endurance, and the ability to turn pain into art. That is the glory of Metal, despite its grotesqueness.
The loss of a loved one is one of the most alienating experiences you can ever know. It’s like being stranded in the middle of a vast desert, all alone and completely lost. No matter which direction you wander in, it feels like you’ll be in this barren wasteland forever. But if in your wanderings you stumble upon something like an obelisk, you’ll know that someone was in the same desert as you, they suffered the same loneliness you did, but their sorrow inspired them to create a massive testament to their injured yet ever-present dignity. And you know that maybe you could do it too.
So much for the imagery. As for the actual band, I don’t think it was a coincidence that I happened to see them perform both on the night of Danno’s death, during which I was ignorant, and the night I learned of it exactly a week thereafter. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, either everything is a miracle or nothing is. Of all the amazing musicians of which I call myself a fan, none were so commensurable with my own psyche as Obelisk was at the time. Their music sounds like melancholy sublimating into rage.
I remember when the bearer of bad news concluded his sad story, something like “…Peacefully in his sleep.” My jaw dropped and I walked back into the concert hall, in a daze. I hated the audience for having a good time when such a travesty occured. I hated myself for having even more fun than them just minutes before. I hated the band for sounding just like how I felt. Then, lost in self pity, I was brought back down to earth both literally and figuratively as I was shoved from behind. A mosh pit had spontaneously broken out. I figured Danno’s blood will never again pulse, let alone spill, nor his heart ever beat, let alone race. I might as well do it for him. I picked myself up and pushed back. I was moshing for two now. It felt good to knock some anonymous strangers around for a while. It also felt good to endure a little manhandling myself.
I didn’t want to “take my mind off it”, to distract myself from the tragedy that still stings me to this day. To the contrary,l I’ve never been so intently focused on one thing in my entire life. My brains, my bones, my blood, my bruises… They were all saturated with the memory of Danno, and that memory has not faded since.
Anyway, I just want to dispel the myth that mosh pits are futile exercises of violence and/or stupidity. Not everyone has the luxury of close proximity to the gravesites of the beloved. Even if I was granted that blessing, I have already aquired a taste for blood. And unlike the ephemeral flowers which rot faster than the graves on which they are placed, my scars are here to stay.