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The Violent World Of Moshpit Culture [Kindle Edition]

Joe Ambrose , Chris Charlesworth
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Moshpit: Hub of a live music culture that is high in sex and violence... and no stranger to death. For the hardcore fans of groups like Limp Bizkit, Hole, Korn and Slipknot, the music is only part of the experince. At gigs worldwide fans literally hurl themselves into a pit - the mosh pit. The result is a mass of seething bodies where fierce physical contact provides a brief, exhilarating escape from everyday life. The mosh pit means random sexual encounters as well as haphazard violence... and occasionally, as Joe Ambrose discovers, it can lead to encounters of unexpected tenderness too.

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Product Description

About the Author

Joe Ambrose has published two books 'Serious Time' and 'Too Much Too Soon'. He is a musician and producer and has worked with artists including John Cale, Anita Pallenberg, Richard Hill and Bill Laswell.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 954 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press (1 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0030V0PFQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,156,580 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Im afraid to say it aint that good 8 Aug. 2002
By A Customer
I have not been going to concerts for a great deal of time (93 i saw U2 but my first metal gig was Sepultura in 96) but this book beared no relevance to any experience I have had at any concert.

The author of this book seems to try and create a fantasy about the mosh pit and trying to make it into something it is most definately not. Although there is ussually a good atmosphere in the mosh pit (except for those idiot who think it is funny to try to punch and kick as many people as they can) it is nowhere near how it explained in this book.

How many concerts have you been to that you seem to know half the audience yet have never spoken to them, well the author thinks he has.

This author I think would be better suited to writing fiction, lets face it he's made a start already.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
When I first saw this book I thought it would just be a cash-in on the punk and metal scenes but I thought I would give it a go.
It turned out to be a very strong account of the people and experiences slamming and diving around the pit. The writer loves the scene and wants to share it with it's contradictions and flaws intact.
I especially found the pictures painted of the scene in Berlin in the 90's and the underground mosh scene in New York rewarding.
Coming from an authentic left-field stance has enabled the writer to see the conformity of the the scene full of rednecks as it is at the moment - as well as the varied and incompatible people that mix it in the pit at the best of times.
His experience of life and the pit shows - someting I share and understand.
But why oh why, after documenting the tackiness of Woodstock '99 and the broadcasting of topless women on the big screen, is there a photograph of topless women at Woodstock in the book? Publishers pressure?
That small thing aside, this book is honest and uncompromising in it's own way and it really does get you inside the head and baseball boots of the culture. Thanks.
And it is good to see Minor Threat namechecked so much!
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By A Customer
The title is doesn't really cover the depth of the contents nor the knowlegeble (sub-culture / music) fan the author comes across as...
it is very well are Joe's other books.
As one of the "30-something fat gut types" the thread from old skool punk to straight edge to indie to nu-metal was a great nostalgic journey. The descriptions of the surrounding cultural influence to all the music genres is spot on. highly recommended for any lover of live music... in the pit or not.
also sports an excelent set of well placed interviews.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not only about moshpits and moshers 3 Jan. 2007
By Stefan Isaksson - Published on
Imagine yourself being stuck in an unbearably hot room. There are tons of people all around you, the volume is ear-shattering, a few yards from where you're standing a furious punk band beats the crap out of their instruments, the drummer is pounding his kit to pieces, the singer yells his lyrics in agony, the guitarist and bass player blast out their riffs in ways that make them feel they physically enter your body, all around you the rest of the audience is going completely berserk, time and again you're inches away from being hit by a boot or a clenched fist, you must constantly be on the lookout for crowdsurfers coming up on you from behind, and sometimes in between songs you're only able - if you're lucky - to get a few seconds rest.

This goes on for more than an hour, and if that's not tough enough, you've even agreed to pay money to be there.

Sounds appealing? If not, then think closely before rejecting the entire phenomenon, because all the world there are people finding this very scenario to be paradise on Earth. And Joe Ambrose's Moshpit is all about these people, who they are and why they do what they do, and how experiencing a truly mind-boggling concert really feels.

Ambrose himself is one of these people. He's simply a music fanatic, and much of the book is basically summaries of different shows he's attended, the feelings he's experienced while moshing, the people he's met, and the bands he's seen. Not everything is about live shows and moshing, though, and Ambrose writes extensively about music and music history, especially punk and metal. Once in a while the reader is treated with an interview, and it's obviously very interesting to hear what the musicians themselves think about all the crazy moshing taking place right in front of them.

And speaking of bands, Ambrose's own taste in music isn't very difficult to figure out, talking as he does about "LA metal loser Guns 'n Roses" (pg.40), and referring to Linkin Park as "perfect MTV fodder for kids who know no better." (pg.204).

The last few years several serious accidents - some of the fatal - have happened during large shows, for instance during the Roskilde Festival in 1999 and Big Day Out in Australia the years after. Ambrose pays close attention to these tragic accidents, and it's definitely interesting to hear how the members of Pearl Jam reacted after the infamous Roskilde gig, and regardless of one's personal opinion about Pearl Jam and their music it still becomes quite moving to learn of how singer Eddie Vedder cried openly on stage.

Compared to Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, who - judging from the text - mostly got pissed off when their gig had to be stopped due to the utter chaos in the crowd. I'm not sure this portrayal is intentional or not, but it could at least be possible that that's the case, considering what Ambrose thinks about the band:

"In fact they are a very plastic and derivative combination of Kid Rock and The Beastie Boys without the creativity of one and the humour of the other. Ill-educated white trash kids are inclined to say that Limp Bizkit speak for them, are them. There is something lumpen and vulgar about the band's onstage assault on the audience." (pg.218)

I've never been a big fan of live shows myself, and because of this it's difficult to really understand and relate to Ambrose when he praises the divine bliss that in his world is a good moshpit. Either you love it or you don't; I don't think it's possible to "sort of" love going to concerts. And that's why this can be an interesting read. Because if you don't love moshpits you're likely to hate them, and because of this it can be a great treat to read about something others love while you personally hate what these people passionately love.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few organizational problems, but otherwise good. 28 Jun. 2006
By Robert Beveridge - Published on
Joe Ambrose, Moshpit: The Violent World of Moshpit Culture (Omnibus, 2001)

I can't review this book-- nor even start talking about it-- without griping about its title. Yes, I'm getting old. But starting sometime in the early nineties, the term "moshing" drifted away from its original meaning-- what Ambrose, early in the book, terms the "circle pit"-- and started being used as an all-inclusive term for slamming, skanking, pogoing, and various other dance moves one found in use at punk shows. But if you want to be old-school, folks, get your hands on a copy of the first Circle Jerks album, examine the amusing pictures in the liner notes, and follow along. That's moshing. (As an alternative, check out, if you can find it, the video for Anthrax's 1986 hit "Indians," perhaps the best filmed depiction of moshing extant.)

Okay, that said, this is otherwise a pretty fun book. Ambrose alternates (roughly) between wandering through shows on a couple of different continents and looking at the pit from a more philosophical perspective. On the upside, Ambrose retains the same tone throughout, making this somewhat more readable than, say, Steven Blush's American Hardcore: A Tribal History. On the downside, however, Ambrose's tone is about the only thing consistent about the book. The various pieces of text (they don't seem like chapters, per se) have a disorganized feel to them. The book seems thrown together more than anything.

There are certainly some things to like about it; Ambrose traces the devolution of pit culture from its beginnings to the stupidity that has plagued pits for the past half-decade or so. In the process, he takes us inside pits from the destructive chaos of Woodstock '99 to the last bastions of true pit culture left today, hiding out in underground and squatters' clubs.

If you can sift through the organizational problems, there's a good deal to be enjoyed here. You just have to work a little harder than you should to get it. ***
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 20 Oct. 2014
By Ursala Skye - Published on
Great background information & history.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars solid, fact driven, written by an obvious fan of the music 7 Feb. 2002
By Neil Costigan - Published on
The title is doesn't really cover the depth of the contents nor the knowlegeble (sub-culture / music) fan the author comes across as...
it is very well are Joe's other books.
As one of the "30-something fat gut types" the thread from old skool punk to straight edge to indie to nu-metal was a great nostalgic journey. The descriptions of the surrounding cultural influence to all the music genres is spot on. highly recommended for any lover of live music. in the pit or not.
also sports an excelent set of well placed interviews.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Englishman replies 21 July 2003
By Mr Guy H Lloyd - Published on
I found this thought-provoking, interesting, an essential read about contemporary music styles and what it means to be a fan. Your reviewer from Pocatello needs to know that 'realise' and 'organise' are the recognised English spellings of these words (as is 'recognised' by the way). In addition, 'quick march' is a English expression. There are other forms of the language besides the one adapted for American usage. If your reviewer is uncertain of England's location, I suggest he/she logs on to Amazon again and buys an atlas.
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