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Why the moshpit is no place for the bespectacled

I went to Death From Above 1979 at the Academy on Friday night. The band kicked off their European tour with this Dublin date, and the gig did not disappoint. Granted, some of the songs were a bit rough around the edges, especially from their second album The Physical World. In fact, the monstrous Trainwreck 1979 was indeed a bit of a trainwreck. Thankfully the songs from their debut, You’re a Woman I’m a Machine, more than made up for this. In particular, the performance of Romantic Rights was sensational and the place duly went berserk. I was a little concerned, however, about Sebastien Grainger’s white dungarees. Like, seriously dude, what were you thinking? Unless he was off to paint a few halls, stairs and landings after the gig, there really was no excuse for it.

Perhaps the best part of the gig was the atmosphere. It was a full house and the mood seemed great, full of anticipation and excitement. I was up on the balcony with the perfect view. I almost spent more time watching the moshing and crowd-surfing than the two musicians on stage. It was quite literally awesome. The floor was rammed and bodies were heaving, like the ebb and flow of a tide, up against the stage. Everybody was moving as one, like a giant shoal of fish, going this way and that. There were lulls in between songs or during the less frantic numbers, but when something either very popular or just extremely loud and fast came on, the crowd went wild and the inner circle became a frenetic display of limb-flailing and body-slamming. This was all done without the slightest trace of menace or aggression. The moshpit has always had an unspoken code: help someone up if they fall and don’t be a fucking dickhead. I felt a bit sorry for the bouncers. They stood at the barriers in front of the stage and attempted to ‘calm’ the crowd down through hand gestures. It was the very definition of a futile exercise.

The crowd-surfing was hilarious. The first guy up was obviously about eight stone and he got a right old tossing about. The second or third guy was clearly a bit of a salad-dodger and lasted about four seconds before he was tipped arse-over-head onto the ground. Needless to say, there were other gig-goers there to check he was okay and help him to his feet.

I really wanted to go down and have a mosh for myself. I love the buzz of it, the craziness and the physical intensity. But you see, the moshpit is no place for the bespectacled. Years ago I wore contact lenses. They were glass lenses, as the disposable plastic ones hadn’t been properly developed. (Stop laughing, it wasn’t that long ago! Let’s say the early 1990s.) One weekend I was dancing at the disco, bumper to bumper, having a good old mosh to Killing In The Name Of. Next thing I know someone’s elbow had – remarkably – dislodged the contact lens from my eye. The problem was I only had one in at the time.

This may strike you as rather odd, but those lenses cost a lot of money and (by my own fuzzy logic) it was more economical to wear one at a time. Keep in mind I was around 17 years old and thought I knew everything. So there I was, perhaps a little tipsy, trying to bring a halt to a full-on moshing session involving up to twenty or thirty lads, down on my hands and knees trying to see if I could find my contact lens. It was as futile as a bouncer at The Academy telling the DFA1979 crowd to calm down.

I didn’t want a similar thing to happen to my glasses on Friday night, so that’s why I stayed on the balcony and watched enviously instead. Should I have just gone down and taken a risk? Are you a mosher yourself? Any tales from the moshpit?

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