Trust and Crowd Surfing
I believe in crowd surfing.
A teenager sporting a mohawk, enough piercings on his face to set off a metal detector, a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, chains jangling on his hips, tight jeans, and a pair of combat boots is someone I would have typically associated with rebellion up until I attended my first punk rock concert.
Anti- government ,the “System failed us… again” songs produced by punk rock bands send crowds of teenagers, punching, kicking, jumping, and throwing bull horns into the air, but within this cacophony there is an unspoken etiquette; when someone falls, pick them up. As fists and extremities fly all around many are caught in cross fire and fall but just after hitting the ground hands emerge from every direction to help them back up.
The venue was House of Blues, and the headliners were The Casualties. Oi! Oi! Oi! The crowd began chanting as the liberty spikes, tight pants, and combat boots of the band took the stage, then the chaos began. I held my ground for the first ten minutes until I ran into a fist and landed on my back. A bald head commanded, “Do you want to go up?”. He did not wait for a response, his gorilla hands launched me above the cigarette and fog machine smoke, I hovered above the punch-kick dancing and Oi’s, it was just The Casualties and I; a private showing. Initially being passed around a wave pool of hands made me worry about being touched inappropriately, or having the money in my back pocket stolen, and falling to my death, but when the music stopped I was still floating and the voice from the speakers shouted, “I want more crowd surfing! Yes, give me more!” Others joined me in the ethereal smoke, I chanted along with them. Oi! Oi! Oi! At some point I fell through the hands, but before I hit the floor I was propped up by the hands and joined in the rioting with kicks, punches and Oi’s.
At the show’s end, skin heads and crusty punk kids sported a fresh array of bloody noses, black eyes, and split lips. I emerged with a few baseball sized bruises on my back and a new found trust in the mohawked youth and the crowd surfing punk rock tradition.
That night at the House of Blues I had entrusted my body to a concert hall full of young punk rockers. I can not confirm during my daily routine that I trust everyone around me, but that night I had. The unspoken etiquette is not in public as it was inside that concert hall. I know if I trip outside walking to my mail box I might not have a crowd of hands to help me up, a few laughs, stares, and are you ok’s will be all I can expect. The reputation of punk rock is affiliated and tainted with rebellion, anarchy, and violence, but I have uncovered a trust. I only wish this trust and these hands were everywhere.
I have faith in mohawks, punk rock, and youth.
I believe in crowd surfing.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.