Metal Mondays: No One Gets Out of This Pit Alive

A couple of Saturdays ago at the Carolina Rebellion music festival, Korn surprised an already-frenzied crowd when they brought out Brian "Head" Welch to perform "Blind," the first single from the band's '94 self-titled debut. The performance was the first time in seven years that Head -- at the festival with his band Love and Death -- joined the band onstage. I heard that the mosh pit, which was already a veritable dust bowl, was absolutely insane, as though the crowd was celebrating a rebirth of one of hard rock's favorite, most original acts.

There's nothing better than you and 10,000 of your friends pumping fists in a mosh pit. It's like the centerpiece of a misfit family reunion, all there because they love the music and found a place for themselves. Maybe life at home is shitty; maybe they need to blow off steam -- this is what heavy metal is made of.

Hearing about the Korn mosh pit, it made me A) Wish I was there, since Korn was one of my earliest favorites that first got me into metal, and 2) Think about some of my favorite mosh pit memories:

• The circle pit at In This Moment at the now closed (sadly) Clubhouse that was full of furious chicks.

• Rage Against the Machine's first reunion show at Coachella, where I was within the first 10 rows of people and waited hours to be there. A hundred thousand fans behind me, surging and pressing in closer and closer. Me, in flip-flops, begin tossed around the mosh pit like a rag doll surrounded by huge angry Navajos. No idea why I was wearing flip-flops. I broke three toes.

• Jumping from a two-story balcony at a Lamb of God show just to get in the mosh pit. I immediately slipped on the floor, slick from sweat, blood, spit, and beer (and probably some other things I don't want to think about coming into contact with) and sprinting away from security guards.

• A Comfort for Change show in 2006, where my older brother -- who's 6-foot-8, mind you -- was taken out from the back of his knees. I ran into the pit in a screaming frenzy, punching every person I saw . . . mainly because my mother's comment "someone's going to get hurt" as we walked out the door had just been validated.

• And one time, I saw Biohazard and emerged from the pit with a face covered in blood from a busted lip, much to the dismay of a good friend in whose wedding I was to be the maid of honor the following week.

Luckily, a couple shots of whiskey cleaned it right up, and the end result? I had lovely Angelina Jolie lips for a weekend. Don't judge my rationalization.

Then again, I am writing this on a plane -- headed home from seeing a Pantera cover band in Vegas for the night -- and the guy sitting next to me is warily eyeing me as I down a whiskey neat. He's been reading over my shoulder this whole time. Should I ask him his opinion of mosh pits?

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise

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