As you all know, Saturday, June 2nd, was a day/night filled with short tempers, angry words, and the eventual fights that broke out that brought out the Gurnee police at the Gurnee VFW. This has hopefully cooled down a bit after over a month of trying to refrain from contributing to the drama. However, the facts and the implications of what happened need to be relayed to the rest of the scene. This kind of nonsense has not been forgotten, nor should it be. Beware, I’m about to rant.
The best part about this fiasco was that everything that went down Saturday took place at kids benefit show right during which the Mayor of Gurnee was present. So a few broken tables later, bloody faces and bodies from unnecessary fights, and a complete lack of respect for everyone involved, all of us “hardcore” kids and otherwise all seem like unruly brutal hedonistic selfish hooligans that “Don’t give a shit.” The drama really still hasn’t stopped, regardless of efforts to do exactly that.
I feel quite bad for the people who set up the show, most specifically Jonathan Schiffley. Elysion Fields who waited there the whole day to play didn’t get to play, due to the fights breaking out before their set.
Simply put, the fight(s) should never happened. What happened to Mikel, should never have happened. However, it did happen. These fights at shows continue to be provoked, to almost occur, or to actually occur and end up stopping the show and depriving bands like Elysion Fields from being able to play that night. Testosterone was running quite high though. Apparently, so was some of the estrogen levels as there were one or two girls who threw a punch, though this was supposedly a misunderstanding. No idea what the truth is there though.
The question we need to ask ourselves is: What is causing these fights? Immaturity? People’s desire to look tough and badass in front of their friends? Apparently, it’s possible for people to regress, specifically when feeling very mighty with fellow comrades in arms. Seriously, this mini-gang mentality has seemed to leak into every aspect of society and culture in some sort of desperate endless dance for community. I guess our “hardcore” community is no exception to this.
We really don’t have much of any “community” in Lake County, nor the surrounding area. The excuse for community that does exist seems to be limited to a few of the crews, who insist that they aren’t crews. It’s a great joke, but the fact that these crews end up beating down people with frequent 5 to 1 odd simply isn’t funny anymore. If anyone gathers the balls to say anything to them, pushes them away, or try to fight back/say something after getting crowdkilled, they are subjected to being “defended” against by these crews .
That’s obviously not “friends defending each other”, as someone on facebook tried to insist, rather its an un-motley crew intimidating , beating, and bringing a Taste of Chicago/Wisconsin State Fair to anyone who dares to do anything after getting hatemoshed during the duration of a show. (Yet another example of failure by our public school system. Curse you John Dewey and your social norms for society.) Who knows, maybe we can introduce flash mobs of brutality to the scene to bring it to the next level.
What is attracting crews to shows? It’s no coincidence that they come out to “mosh” when bands such as The Acacia Strain, Emmure, and even Whitechapel are playing. It really shouldn’t really surprise anyone that the crews do come out and essentially viciously attack people in the pit when that behavior isn’t only just vocally encouraged by the bands there, but is prevalent in their lyrics. Granted the fore-mentioned bands aren’t really hardcore, but they attract avid “hardcore” kids and crews to their shows consistently.
Is this really what our hardcore scene is about? This of course assumes that we have one, which I’m not sure is a completely accurate conclusion. Most of the “hardcore” we have isn’t really hardcore, but rather a bunch of bands chugging along with some 2-step riffs, beatdown yells, and some random breakdowns thrown in there for pit calls. I reject that notion, by the way.
We should still ask ourselves; what is hardcore in Lake County about? Jesse Barnett from Stick To Your Guns has asked this same question:
“What is hardcore? I need someone to clear it up for me. Because I thought it was a community where every walk of life who felt alone, broken, and shattered could come and feel accepted. I thought it was less about the band name on your shirt and more about loving the music. Less about what comes out of your mouth and more about what you do. Not giving a fuck about what people think and doing what you know to be right in your heart. Yeah, breakdowns are cool but hardcore is about way more than that, so get your shit straight.”
The biggest problem facing our “hardcore” and now defunct scene is a lack of respect. The lack of respect for each other, others, the venue, ect. This lack of respect is quite obvious to those around Lake County, as the number of venues who hear the word “hardcore” cringe and refuse to allow hardcore bands or fans near their expensive establishments. If we are lucky, they hire bruiser security guards who take no mercy in providing security who avidly execute their job description in the form of headlocks. Those of you who remember Clearwater should have fond memories of the bruisers a.k.a rather large security guards in that venues employment.
It’s hard to specifically call out anyone for what happened at Saturday’s show, because of something my best friend, Tim Sheridan of Widower pointed out, “If your at a hardcore show, expect to get hit.” To a large extent, that statement is true. Now to what degree is that true?
At a lot of hardcore shows in the area, Lake County included, I’ve seen a very certain group of kids, or rather now adults, show up and consistently crowdkill and hatemosh those around them, specifically those not in the pit. It’s not as if there is no pit space at the shows, rather quite often there is a ton of it. But many seem to choose to simply veer off/crash into the crowd on the far outskirts of the pit when they throw down so they can hit someone. Steve Mrozek put that kind of feeling and adrenaline quite accurately at a Monsters/Oceano show years ago, “I just want to hit someone.”
When one goes into the pit, they can expect just that; to be hit. Usually people will just shrug off getting hit and keep going. There are then those on the sidelines, in front, in back essentially – not near the pit, who get hit and get pissed about it. Is their feeling, attitude, and reactions regarding getting hit while not being in the pit justified? I would suggest that it is. The issue here isn’t that people are getting mad about getting hit in the pit, in fact far from it. It’s rather the people getting upset when you stand in the back of the room and take a windmill to the face.
There seem to be two lines of thought regarding specifically hardcore shows:
1. The whole floor is essentially a pit, and you should expect to get hit, crowdkilled, hatemoshed, ect. regardless of where you are.
2. The pit is where you throw down and get your aggression out, not the crowd nearby. Crowdkilling should never happen, and neither should hate moshing.
The pit, at least in Lake County has in some ways become a place where you can legally badly hurt someone, quite deliberately, and get away with it. When does passion, energy, and aggressive actions – hardcore dancing, throwing down, whatever – cross over into deliberately trying to break someone’s face?
Now, I’m sure everyone has “hatemoshed” at one point or another, especially in this scene. I was guilty of it last year and Warped Tour where I spent a majority of the day in an angry and pissed mood, but that’s no excuse. In the words of Jock from Finding Nemo, “I am ashamed.”
I’m sure some of you know Anthony Hauser, who remains one of the nicest and respectful moshers I know. No, don’t laugh. Respect in this scene? SHOCKING! I was chatting with him a few weeks back about what happened on Saturday and he wisely pointed something out:
“Stuff like that doesn’t need to happen. I’ve been to ‘real’ hardcore shows and the shit they say happens only happens if the band is encouraging it like assholes. I’ve been to new york hardcore shows where it’s ‘violent’. Yea, they mosh hard but its never a 10 one 1 situation. If people had beef they left the venue and solved it. They at least respected the place.”
Considering the 6 on 1 “fight” that occurred Saturday, there wasn’t much respect of any kind, specifically for the people there or the venue. Now here is a VERY radical notion; maybe it’s time for bands to condemn this kind of crap that happens during their set. Until some of them grow the balls to do that, I will simply have to avoid going to shows where this kind of behavior is continually encouraged. I guess that means I won’t be seeing any shows where Sworn In, Barrier, ect. are playing. Perhaps its time to bring some actual hardcore and some metal back to our scene. It would be nice after all to mosh and not fear being deliberately hurt when you have to wake up for work the next day.
I plan on going to the Milwaukee Warped Tour on August 1st, and I expect to see kids with Kingmaker, Sworn In, Terror, ect shirts doing what “they do.” So if any of those kids really want to take a shot at me, feel free. I plan on throwing down for The Ghost Inside regardless of what happens, but don’t worry, I don’t fight back, I simply run away and avoid possible legal repercussions that face grown adults in the real world.