We here at AP know you internet denizens love lists. And we know that folks in bands have other interests beyond cranking out decibels. So here’s Friday Fives, a column that solicits a list of five subjects from a number of various rockers.
This week Chris “Cmar” Martin, vocalist for Hostage Calm, picks the best moshes of all time, from some epic hardcore shows to… a play performance in 1913 that got a bit out of hand.
1. Floorpunch – CBGB, May 21, 2000
When Floorpunch played their “last show” in 2000, the popular straight-edge hardcore band pulled out one final stop. Instead of opening with one heavy mosh intro, they led with a four-minute mosh medley, comprised of four different intros. The video is chock-full of funny moments: a kid in the crowd taking off his shirt so that he could mosh without the restraint of normal human clothing (the frontman takes it from the kid without hesitation); people swinging from the rafters; and a big frontman pacing back and forth for the entire four minutes. As a fellow frontman, I applaud his ability to fill four minutes of silence, completely nonchalantly. (Hardcore points if you can name the four different bands featured in this intro.)
2. “Brass Bonanza” Mosh
I grew up in Connecticut, home to legends of mosh such as Hatebreed, With Honor and Death Threat. I also grew up going to see the Hartford Whalers play before the hockey team moved to North Carolina. So imagine how much fun you'd have watching a video of kids moshing to the Hartford Whalers’ theme song. As it says on the state seal: Qui Transtulit Sustinet. (“He who transplanted, sustains.”)
3. Straight Ahead – CBGB, October 23, 1988
“Everybody, everywhere: Tear this place down.” When Tommy Carroll uttered these words at this show in 1988, he probably had no idea the hundreds of times modern hardcore bands would imitate him and use this phrase in their own live sets. I chose this video because it's not the sort of orderly, pre-programmed moshing you might normally find. Instead, it's the chaotic, uncontrollable, venue-wide pit that defines a old-school hardcore show in my eyes. This is a classic New York hardcore video.
4. Rage Against the Machine – the Democratic National Convention, August 14, 2000
During 2000’s Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Rage Against the Machine played a free protest concert across the street from the convention. The famously political band were protesting the two-party system and the corporate influence that continues to ruin American politics today. Rage played perhaps one of the most memorable sets of their career. The crowd—reacting as much to the Rage performance as they were reacting to the vapid political discussion of the 2000 election—erupted into an absolute frenzy. If only the whole country had a similar reaction to that election. “Come wit’ it now!”
5. Igor Stravinsky's The Rite Of Spring – Paris, 1913
There is no video for the infamous first performance of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre Du Printemps) in Paris. Probably because it was 1913. This Russian ballet/orchestral concert delivered a vulgar, primal piece, filled with punishing staccato “chugging” and tribal percussion. Stravinsky's harmonic arrangement was so offensively amusical and nonsensical that during the first performance of the piece in Paris, the audience erupted into shouting, started throwing garbage, and eventual started a riot. Imagine a hall full of classical music-goers in a violent uprising, matching the full carnal release of this groundbreaking work—and nearly a century before moshing even existed. Here's to making music so controversial, the crowd cannot even understand its own emotional reaction. Talk about challenging the listener.