High Variance

The Happy Mosh Pit

I don’t go to a lot of concerts, so when I do, the stakes are high. That’s especially the case now that I live in Ithaca where you have to drive three hours to see anyone who’s not sitting on a stool playing an acoustic guitar. Thursday night my friend Kelly and I drove to the Clifton Park Concert Hall to see French heavy metal band Gojira. The whole experience was awesome.

I fully expected the music to be amazing, and it was. I love Gojira. Their early albums are super-heavy and they’ve become more interesting over time. If you’ve never heard them, I highly recommend their last two albums which are super-catchy and accessible. And then there’s their concept album (From Mars to Sirius) that mixes death metal and whale songs. Sounds ridiculous, but it totally works. The band is from the wild Brittany coast and all their albums are infused with environmental sensitivity.

They played a nice mix of old stuff and new. Joe’s stage banter was fun. Mario’s drum solo was awesome and I thought I was burnt out on drum solos. Really the only disappointment was that they didn’t play The Axe, my personal favorite Gojira song. I guess I’ll have to see them again for that.

Metal fans get a bad rap. People think we’re all a bunch of aggro meat heads. Well most metal fans are actually pretty nice guys, and the crowd at this show was the kindest and sweetest I’ve every seen. Some evidence:

  • Lots of smiling throughout.

  • When anyone would stumble in the mosh pit, everyone around him would stop to give him a hand up. It was like competitive helping.

  • One dude stopped to tie his shoes in the mosh pit and no one knocked him over.

  • Another guy was actually drinking a beer in a plastic cup in the pit. He’d get bumped occasionally and splash the people around him, but they’d just laugh.

  • I saw plenty of fans throwing the horns (pinkie and fore-finger), but multiple folks were putting their hands over their heads in heart shapes—Maybe throwing hearts is a thing now?

  • I noticed a fan wearing a shirt with a big swastika on the back of it and pointed it out to my friend. Then he said wait a second, it’s got a red circle around it with a backslash!

  • You know that guy at the metal show who doesn’t seem to know the band’s songs very well and is kind of drunk? He just loves getting violent in a pit. He’s always there, and this concert was no exception. I saw him during the opening act wearing a New England Patriots shirt—a pretty aggressive move in upstate New York. But then I talked to him during the break when he was loading up at the bar and he was super nice!

These are the kinds of things that happen when the singer says things like: “I want everyone to be in the moment!” “Put your phones away–I want to feel like I’m playing in the 80’s!” “Let your everyday problems float away and just be present and feel the love all around us!” Gojira is the best.