Laura Kebby, a Newcastle-based music writer, has published a powerful open letter to all of the punters out there who are giving Newie’s (and Australia’s) live music scene a bad name.
Writing for Newcastle Live, Kebby directs her comments towards the space-claiming, human-handling gig-goers who make life miserable for those around them at shows — the one’s who “jump up on stage like a twat, yell in the singer’s face ‘do a shoooeeeeyyyy mate’ whilst they are… I dunno… TRYING TO DO THEIR JOB”.
Kebby recounts the time she came home from a Smith Street Band concert last year with a black eye and a ripped t-shirt, making it clear that the black eye wasn’t accidental.
“I was punched in the face in the pit. (And this is not the first time),” she says. “And yes, I can hear it already, ‘If you don’t like the pit stay out of it.’ No way. This is not at all about that.
“Because I have been front row at many a gig, and in the middle of many a mosh pit of much MUCH heavier gigs than the ones I’m talking about. Because the pit is where I choose to stand and it’s where I belong, I love being there and that’s how I choose to enjoy a show.”
Kebby makes it clear that she isn’t suggesting there shouldn’t be a certain amount of raucousness at these sorts of gigs. Rock gigs are all about the mosh, she explains.
“This is not about coming home with a stray bruise or tired legs from having the best time ever at a gig. This is about the gig goers who have no respect for the safety of others. At the Luca Brasi gig earlier this year, I saw a girl get dragged into the pit only to be pulled out just in time before she was fly kicked to the face.
“The same thing happened at the Pup gig earlier this year. I’ve seen groups of people at these gigs blatantly turn their back on whoever is performing on stage, to run at an unsuspecting punter, fist first, for what? For the sake of music? ‘It’s punk rock man’ one guy told me as I pulled him off the floor, bloody nosed, full cut. It’s not punk rock. It’s not even punk. It’s not even hardcore. You’re an idiot.
“Stop punching people in the pit. Stop starting fights. Stop groping women. Stop assaulting people.”
Kebby isn’t alone in her plea for better behaviour from agro concert-goers. Last month, the band Camp Cope compiled a video (below) of messages from Aussie rock, punk and indie acts speaking out about violence and sexual assault occurring at gigs. Camp Cope were joined by Frenzal Rhomb, Totally Unicorn, Courtney Barnett, The Jezabels and heaps more, creating the hashtag #ittakesone.
You can read Laura Kebby’s open letter in its entirety over at Newcastle Live.
Watch: ‘It Takes One’