Prime Edition

ARJUN S. RAVI
OUT OF TUNE

Arjun S Ravi is the editor of Indiecision (http://nh7.in/indiecision). He believes in brutal honesty, and thinks your band sucks.

Just another manic moshpit — and women can play rough too

Girls moshing at the Scribe gig at Bacardi NH7 Weekender, Pune

t was I-Rock 2004 or 2005, I can't quite remember clearly; one of the first I-Rocks that wasn't in Rang Bhavan. Yeah, 2005, it's coming back to me now. This was the I-Rock that was first supposed to happen at Gateway of India, and at the last minute, was cancelled by the police for no apparent reason. The venue was then moved to Andheri, to that glorified parking lot cum dust bowl, Chitrakoot Grounds. As usual, a limited selection of available headliners meant that Zero would close the event (after Vayu if I remember correctly; the proper lineup with 2Blue on vocals and Ravi Iyer on guitar). The Mumbai foursome, sans original guitarist Warren Mendonsa (who had moved to Auckland that year), played a characteristically badass set and were joined on stage during the evening by Indus Creed's Zubin Balaporia on keys, and Ravi Chari played that excellent sitar version of Christmas In July as well. I was somewhere in the middle of the crowd, hammered on a cocktail of cheap alcohol and some pretty terrible covers from the competition bands before the headliners. You could always count on Zero to start a moshpit (heck, I've seen moshes to even their pop-pier material like Not My Kind Of Girl) and their most well known song PSP always brought out the biggest one. So there I am, on one side of a wall of death (lmgtfy.com) and the final breakdown of one of Indian indie's most recognizable tunes is about to drop. It does, and my side of the force runs headfirst to the other, gathering momentum despite the rubble beneath our feet and the exhaustion of six straight hours of moshing and headbanging. The collision is epic, almost poetic to those in that moment. I fall to the ground, and my hands brace for impact. No sooner do I make my descent does a hand reach out and I am pulled up again. I look at the rusted nail sticking out of my left palm, and as I pull it out, a stream of blood runs down my arm. The adrenaline is coursing through my veins and there is no pain. Only the quiet satisfaction of another release to rock 'n' roll.

ver the years, I've been in my fair share of Indian rock and metal moshpits. Indian moshers are usually a friendly bunch, in a Fight Club sort of way where the intention isn't to hurt for any reason other than being in the moment and physically resonating with the song. There aren't really many "rules" to moshing, and it's universally recognised as a socially acceptable thing to do at a heavier rock or metal gig. Mostly for dudes though.

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For these guys, girls in a moshpit, rocking out to a Justin Timberlake cover, was just not done and the disfigured, vulgar remain of years of now usually subdued rock ‘n’ roll sexism raised its ugly head.

Mumbai hardcore act Scribe have been doing this thing in their sets lately where, during a particularly metchul cover of Justin Timberlake's What Goes Around... Comes Around, they ask all the men to back away from the moshpit, and get all the ladies in the crowd to mosh. Few bands can pull off something like that, and Scribe, with all their beach balls and Bollywood references and crowdsurfing, do it best. It's quite a sight, judging by the fact that whenever it happens, every dude on the outside of the pit has his cellphone out taking video. One of these videos, from Scribe's recent set at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune, made it's way to YouTube, and within hours of it going online, was inundated with comments from dudes who found the images of the girls moshing offensive to their hyper-sensitive, little-boys-club-of-metal sensitivities. For these guys, girls in a moshpit, rocking out to a Justin Timberlake cover, was just not done and the disfigured, vulgar remain of years of now usually subdued rock 'n' roll sexism raised its ugly head. The video, which has over 11,000 views now, is still receiving some really cringeworthy comments. It's almost like we're back in the forum era again and haven't grown up from nitpicking about the usually ambiguous and wholly subjective principles and templates of rock 'n' roll.

Moshing is fun. It has no predefined, all-encompassing guidelines (except – if someone falls down, pick them up) and to think that it should ascribe to one stereotypical worldview of aggressive music is to be living like a Neanderthal. Now if you'll excuse me, Zero are playing the Kolkata edition of Bacardi NH7 Weekender in December. I need to limber up.

 

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