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Into the Pit: A Story about the Disillusionment of a Stadium Punter, Part 1

I have seen some amazing bands in my day. Given that ‘my day’ hasn’t been very long seeing as I’m a 20-something-year-old living on the Central Coast of New South Wales in Australia with a burning love for live music of all kinds. I try my best to go to 1-3 shows a week, even if it means travelling with ShittyRail for a few hours and eating garbage at 1am to make sure I don’t pass out halfway home but every time, it’s always worth it. I adore the local scene around NSW but every once in a while a magical thing happens: an international band decides to spend oodles of money to tour Australia for the first time in X amount of years and I HAVE to go, it calls to me. I haven’t been to as many stadium shows as I would have liked over my years as a teen, but now with the newfound freedom of having money to afford (ridiculously expensive) tickets, I can continue expanding my musical horizons and fulfilling my teenage dreams of seeing my heroes perform onstage for the first time. So far I have been graced with the musical presence of the Foo Fighters (twice), Rise Against, The Used (also twice), AC/DC, Black Sabbath, The Vines, pretty much anyone on the lineup of 2014 & 2015 Soundwave Festival and most recently, Green Day & Placebo.

All of these bands and shows have one thing in common: they go the fuck off. You will go to a show and see me becoming a part of the entity that is the mosh, getting knocked around with a whole bunch of other sweaty people and having a great time. However this year at the two shows I have been to, something seems different about the crowds; it looks like no one is having fun. Unless you are at the barrier or a few metres behind it, most of the people mid-mosh are just standing around with their arms folded, nodding along to the music or lighting up a dart (gross). Of course there isn’t anything wrong with that other than the fact that it seems to be 75% of the crowd these days, which makes me really sad and embarrassed for the performers who have come so far to tour here and this is what they are met with. Crowd apathy. Where is the enthusiasm and excitement? Where are the cups of beer being thrown into the air and landing on unsuspecting people? Where are the sweat-soaked shirts? Have the punters of Australia become stagnant? Or is there something else at work here that we don’t quite understand. People are more focused on fighting each other (See: Placebo @ Newcastle) than they are having a good time. The performers deserve better and so do we. I want to see people letting loose like it’s the end of the world, go crazy and lose your fucking mind. That’s what music is for after all. I’ll be buying tickets to Foo Fighters next year, hopefully the crowd will give them what they’ve always given us, a good fucking time. Have your say in the comments, tell us your experience at stadium gigs. What needs to change to make shows great again? I’ll be releasing Part Two of this article next week where I pitch in on the local scene. Cheers, Natt


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