These are the definitive five greatest times I’ve been hit in the face at shows – if you read any article this year about a small college student getting his ass kicked over and over again, please make it this one.
#5: Elbowed in the nose
Artist: All Your Sisters
Venue: Non Plus Ultra
I’m at a show with Jamie Stewart from Xiu Xiu headlining. The third act of the night, a very rad post-punk/goth rock band called All Your Sisters is playing; I’m two beers in and very much in my element, just buzzed enough to get more confident than I have any right to be. I worm my way into the tiny mosh pit that has formed close to the front, but the second I enter a boy is launched at me like a cannonball from the opposite side of the pit. His elbow swings upwards into my nose and knocks me right back out of the mosh pit. I am reminded of my own mortality.
#4: Shouldered in the chin
Artist: Perfect Pussy
Venue: The Oberlin ‘Sco
I’m what the kids call “scrawny” and “easily crushable,” so I have to pick my own battles when it comes to punk shows. The ‘Sco is one of the places where I can always feel safe at
those kinds of typically rowdier shows, so I didn’t think twice about going to see Perfect Pussy, one of my fave noise/punk bands, alone there. Once they started playing it became immediately clear that there was one guy, as there almost always is, who couldn’t read the room and just started running in circles and tossing his body at people who were very much Not Moshing. I was one of the people on the receiving end of this student’s body when his shoulder charged into my chin, undoing years of orthodontic work (not really) and also hurting a lot. Not very punk rock.
#3: Glasses knocked off by PDAing couple
Venue: The Echoplex
Mitski makes music that has often been described with terms like “sad,” “intense,”
“brutal,” and “really very extraordinarily bad for making out to,” but the couple in front of me at her show didn’t let that stop them. They alternated between aggressively pogoing and making out for her entire set, with very few breaks in between. The girl directly in front of me would go from slamdancing to passionate kissing with her girlfriend, all in one quick fluid movement. Their versatility was very impressive, or at least it would have been if they hadn’t been doing all this while hitting me in the face with their shoulders and backs of their heads. By the end of “Your Best American Girl,” my glasses were dangling off my face and I no longer believed in love.
#2: Whipped in face by ponytail repeatedly
Artist: Cherry Glazerr
Venue: The Troubador
At about 5’5”, I’m just the right height for the top of my head to reach most people’s shoulders. This posed a problem at a Cherry Glazerr concert when I was stuck behind a girl in the crowd who was head-bobbing to the rhythm of every song. Each time she shook her head her ponytail would follow behind, slapping me back and forth across the face to the beat of the music. Being surrounded on all sides, I was stuck standing there for at least three songs, meaning her hair was whipping me for a solid ten minutes before she slipped forward to the front of the crowd to give my flogged face a break.
#1: Dropkicked in the nose
Venue: The Echo
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the number-one time I’ve been hit in the face at a concert. I went to Echo Park Rising early in the day with my friends, set to stay in the Echo for all nine hours of back-to-back sets by bands signed to Lolipop Records. My friends left after an hour or two yet still I remained, determined to conquer what would be the longest concert of my life. Eight and a half hours later and the final act of the night, L.A. post-punk band Corners, was giving one of the best live sets I had ever seen, supplying me with the necessary strength and will to enter the very rowdy mosh pit.
There were two important factors I failed to consider before entering that pit: number one, I had just gotten a septum piercing two days prior to the concert, leaving my nose sensitive and delicate; number two, the pit was filled with predominately adult men who were clearly more physically built for this than I was. I jumped in and got tossed around for a few minutes, having a good time before the fateful moment. A twenty-something-year-old leapt feet-first into the crowd from above, hoping to crowd-surf but coming in too fast to be successful. The people in front of me tried to catch him but inevitably failed and his foot rammed full-force into my tender, swollen, and now bloody nose. I danced my way to the back of the crowd in defeat, knowing that my nose would heal but the memories of that foot would haunt my dreams indefinitely.
Cherry Glazerr: http://larecord.com/larwp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Cherry_Glazerr_@_Troubadour_19.jpg
Perfect Pussy: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9yN_W7ompoA/U0UKbhepErI/AAAAAAAAL_Y/74YPA3w2wZw/s1600/_AYF3499.jpg