Lincoln Center is turned over to punk rock—and the audience immediately start a riot

(See update on this entry. It was not a riot, but “moshing.”)

I happened to see Verdi’s La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center last night. But the previous evening, a very different sort of event unfolded at Lincoln Center. When I first heard the below story, I assumed it was a black riot. When I read it again, and saw that the concert, and the group whose fans rioted, were punk rock not hip hop, it seemed unlikely that the rioters were black. Is this a vanishingly rare instance of young whites starting a riot in the U.S.?

The January 4 New York Post reports:

Lincoln Center riot
Punk-rock clowns go crazy

Lincoln Center went lowbrow last night—hosting a free punk-rock concert that turned into a mini-riot.

About 100 fans of the Brooklyn-based band Japanther rushed the stage during the Rock N’ Roll Circus in Damrosch Park at 11:30 p.m., said the event’s co-producer, Jessica Resler.

“People were crowd-surfing and jumping on each other. It was like, what the hell just happened?” Resler said.

A teenager who went to see her favorite band with two pals said she was scared to death.

“Oh, my God, it was crazy. I was off my feet for a whole minute. I thought I was going to die in there,” said Jessica Schmidt, 18.

“I thought my friend was going to get trampled because he fell and hit his head pretty hard.”

The event, which attracted more than 1,000 people, took place in the tent that normally houses the Big Apple Circus, which helped produce the event.

Circus security quickly responded, and within 20 minutes, threw out the clowns before anybody was seriously hurt or arrested.

Japanther played only three songs before the show was unceremoniously shut down.

Jim Roper, director of concessions, said everything had been mellow until Japanther’s hardest-core fans arrived.

“It’s not my job to be shoving around a bunch of crazy fans,” he said.

“We put out the lights and stopped the show.

“But they wouldn’t stop moshing.”

January 6

James M. writes:

Japanther is a punk/rap hybrid band. The rhythm section (bass & drums) is a couple of white punk-looking guys and the “singer” is a black kid who raps over their noodlings.

I hate to tell you, but this type of violent “dancing” and injury has been happening at punk and metal shows for decades; the article is not describing a chance or rare occurrence. The Japanther show just happened to get into the news because the event was hosted by people who didn’t understand what they were getting themselves into.

This video is an extreme example, and is not from the same musical genre, but it will give you an idea of what white kids are doing at metal and punk shows all over the world. Leave the volume off (it’s Death Metal band called In Flames, no sense in polluting your brain) and scroll over to:35 or so:

This is much more violent than what went on at the punk shows I used to go to. The punk fans, at least at the shows I went to, were more or less self-governing. Guys would aggressively bump and shove and jump against you, but they wouldn’t purposefully try to punch or kick you in the face. You just had to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to get jostled around. I’m not certain, but I think the kids today, especially in large numbers at larger venues, are quite a bit more unruly.

White kids like those in the video above make the truth of substantive racial differences less obvious to people who may be thinking seriously about the subject for the first time.

Paul M. writes:

What the Japanther fans were doing was “moshing”—not rioting.

I’m a DC native, and some say we invented the term. In the ’70s, it used to be called “slam dancing.”

I recall going to a U-2 concert in the early ’80s and watching a mosher have all his clothes shredded until he was only clad in his underpants. His skin glowed bright red from all the beating. He had a big smile on his face, and seemed to be having a great time.

It’s stupid and violent, but it’s not rioting. Entering the “mosh pit” is supposed to be 100 percent voluntary. Punks do not try to intentionally harm innocent people, like a Philly flash mob.

Charles R. writes:

That was not a riot that took place at the Lincoln Center. That was a mosh pit, and they are common at punk and heavy metal concerts that are mostly attended by white youth. While they are a dirty smudge on our culture, they are quite different in nature than the types of violence perpetrated by black youth. When whites go to punk concerts and they stand directly in front of the stage, there is an expectation that they will be involved in a mosh pit and that there may be violence and blood. But whites compartmentalize their violence; most of us don’t expect violence to occur when we go to the theater to watch “Little Fockers.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 05, 2011 05:50 PM | Send

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