Tales from the Mosh Pit

Last thursday, July 1st, The English Beat played for free at San Jose’s Cesar Chavez Plaza. Thousands attended.The English Beat, known in the UK as The Beat, was formed in 1978. The current version that tours the US consists of original guitarist/vocalist Dave Wakeling and a bunch of new guys. The role of Toaster, originally held by Ranking Roger, is now performed by a fellow named Antonee First Class. He does an excellent job. In the UK, Ranking Roger performs in his own version of The Beat, which also includes original member Everett Norton.Many people showed up sporting the dress and hairstyles of punks circa 1977. A mosh pit ensued.

For those who don’t know: a mosh pit is an area in which people whirl around and often bump into each other. It’s also called ‘slam dancing’, or used to be.Not everyone is acquainted with this custom. Some may feel a macho ‘disrespect’ at being slammed into. Mosh pits have always attracted people who just want to fight.

A brawl started. It was a frightening moment. I watched, standing up on a bench, as the crowd lurched out of control, and for a moment i thought I might be knocked over. (None of the people pictured here were instigators of the brawl.) The fighters were either ejected, or decided they’d had enough. The rest of the pit took up a chant: “Fuck those guys! Fuck those guys!”Then the moshing happily resumed. The English Beat played their hits, like ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’ and ‘Save It For Later’, much beer and many hot dogs and cheesesteaks were consumed, and just about everyone went home satisfied.

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