The beat drops and the synths rage like a force of sound permeating my eardrums and driving down my body forcing my legs to move in syncopated motions simulating what heavily inebriated people like to call dancing. This is a judgment free zone and everybody to my left and right are pogoing and dancing like nobody is watching. Passion Pit have just started their set at The Backyard with their ubiquitous single “Take a Walk,” and the show is one beach ball away from being the quintessential summer concert. Out of the corner of my eye, a few bodies pop up and ride the crowd like human surfboards. As I turn my head, a group of kids young enough to call me “sir” in the parking lot of a gas station in hopes that I would buy them cigarettes push through in excitement. The first one yells to the others “Let’s get to the middle so we can crowdsurf.” It hits me: I am getting old.
A friend and I snicker and roll our eyes at the kids, but a minute later I find myself wondering why. Here I am dancing like Elaine Benes’ goofy illegitimate son and nobody is pubicly judging me and yet the mere notion that some kids want to enjoy an indie pop show by crowdsurfing makes me scoff. What gives?
Not counting diy punk shows in outdoor spaces, I could only think of one other show I had been to in the past 5 years where somebody crowdsurfed. Hyperbole or not, it seems that crowdsurfing is becoming less and less common at shows. Whether it be the venues that post signs threatening ejection upon crowdsurfing or the growing cynicism of aging concert-goers, there are tons of reasons not to, but it’s hard to say if this is a bad thing or a good thing. Several bands have gone public about their dismay with crowdsurfing as if it’s some kind of concert epidemic infecting shows with annoying kicks to the face by kids who think it’s cool. Even mosh pit-loving bands like AFI have indicated their distaste for crowdsurfing, likening it to “car commercials” and saying “hey mom look at me” in several interviews.
It’s the 21st century and crowd surfing has extended beyond “rock shows” into the realm of indie pop, dance, and even hip hop shows. It is a lot like that moment something becomes uncool because your parents like it. Have we become so cynical that we can’t let kids have a little fun at a concert?
Yes. Yes, we are; because getting kicked in the face by a teenage girl being flung to and fro like a human beach ball is not fun. Because beers at concerts are expensive and spilling them is not fun. Because turning around to make sure that skinny kid with the huge gauges doesn’t fall and break his neck instead of keeping my camera phone steady on the stage is not fun. But mainly because somewhere along the way, we grew so jaded we forgot that we go to shows to have fun and not judge others for trying to enjoy it, even if they do so in a way that sucks.