Sunday, March 22, 2009


Being someone who listens to metal music, I witness a lot at shows. I have seen a man who was solid muscle ( a bouncer) pick a 90 lb. teenager up in a full nelson and carry him out of a venue. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would see linguistic and grooming patterns at a heavy metal show. I guess when you think about it, they are everywhere. I just never thought to look for them before. First off, I will start by laying a backdrop. The rough definition of a circle pit is a group of individuals (mostly men, however you do get the occasional female who has energy to burn) who, when listening to music, get so emersed in it that when the tempo gets to a fevered pitch, everyone starts thrashing and running in a circle. This in turn grows as the song progresses. As I sat there on my stool, out of harm's way, I began to see a definite pattern in their behavior. A heavy part of a song would come on, and a few individuals would begin the grooming process by running into one another. The people that they ran into would push them back to the center of the pit. THe more they did this, the more energized they seemed to get. The repeated cause-throwing yourself into someone and the effect-getting pushed back to center, seemed to be a kind of grooming mechanism that made these young men feel powerful. Fueled by the music and the energetic crowd, the circle pit was born. As the song gained intensity, the grooming seemed to occur more often, which would cause more people to take part. This in turn fueled the pit. Being a spectator to this seemingly animalistic form of grooming, it only seemed logical that the inhabitants of the pit would get angry and chaos would ensue. Well, the pit has a grooming "code of ethics." Whenever someone would get thrown to the ground, everyone would rush and pick him up in such a way that he seemed to take defy gravity adn would continue on his way. Whenever a female came near the pit, no matter how fueled they were and no matter where she stood, they seemed to groom themselves right around her. WHen the song was over and the pit ceased to be, the members would groom each other by shaking hands and pulling each other into a hug, as an apparent sign of good will and friendship. THe pit was not without control. THE one controlling the pit was the one singing the song. Whatever his voice would do, they would manipulate the pit accordingly. WHen his voice slowed, the pit slowed. When his voice went faster, the pit sped up. when a song started that was familiar to the inhabitants, they seemed to whip into a frenzy the likes have neveer been seen before. All the same rules applied, the grooming would commense and would continue until the song ended, speeding up and slowing down with the song. At the end, as before, a grooming sign of good will adn peace was issued and the participants went their seperate ways.

I really found this intersting. If you have trouble understanding it, I dont blame You. I do myself. Just ask me to explain it and I will try the best that I know how


David said...

Wow Emily - well done. This is a lense I want us to polish: to see these transactions and try to understand their prupose and function. What do you think the participants gain from this action? What is the desired outcome?

witch girl said...

Well, from the viewpoint of an onlooker who has attended functions such as these before, it seems to me to make them feel powerful. The alph male, the singer in this case, who controls the pit with his voice, seems to be the one they want to be close to. Whenever he was energized, they were as well. They seemed to feel that the more they moshed and the bigger the pit grew, the more likely they were to be noticed and acknowledged by the alpha-male. Whenever he would call for the pit to form, this statement seemed to fuel the crowd and, wanting to please said leader, they swiftly obliged, creating the pit almost instantaniously.
This is merely my observations of their behavior, but I found it absolutely fascinating and will continue to expand upon this subject in the comming weeks
Thanks a bunch