By Ben Ryan, staff journalist for HMT and Metalhead Mental Health Practitioner
I went to my first gig for years recently, to see Killswitch Engage who were supported by Tenside and Revocation and it helped remember what I loved about the metal scene.
I was going to go on about the Biopsychosocial model (commonly used in mental health settings) and how it looks as how strong we are in our physical selves, in our internal selves and in our social selves. Then I would reflect on my experiences in a structured way. But then I got really exited and just decided to have a rant how much fun I had!
As always my analysis will be more of a formal mildly biographical rant.
So first is the volume, it hits you right in the chest and triggers a rush of endorphins with a dash of adrenalin and a touch of panic. Not nasty hormone stink panic, nononono, no. A nice lovely shaky energy. A ‘ooohh what’s gonna happen next?’ panic. What was especially strange was Revocation who, after about ten mins, I could no longer hear. Their intense sound sort of blurred into a loud silence that I found really relaxing and kind of zen. When Killswitch came on I was in constant motion.
Then you have the gestalt mentality of organised chaotic expression. That wild build up of promised danger that erupts in the most consensual of violence; the mosh pit. Mosh pits are something that my logical sensible brain dislikes. They are sweaty, messy and I have had some less than amusing injuries (I break easy, be gentle). In the middle of a crowd however it’s something that takes you over. It’s something primal and freeing and it makes me laugh a scary laugh that I only otherwise make when I feel like a hunter or a warrior. Any gig I have been to allows me to tap into something ferocious wild and young inside. I feel spiritual, invincible and unstoppable.
And then finally there’s the people around you and the unspoken and spoken connections you make. I went with friends but we lost each other about two songs in. I then proceeded to jump around with a hundred strangers, one of which finally found my shoe gave me a hug and loudly told me I’m old enough to know “YOU ALWAYS DOUBLE KNOT IN A MOSHPIT!”. I was soaked in the DNA of a hundred sweaty people as we stood stand by stand screaming lyrics we all loved.
Ah so yeah I guess that is what happened to strengthen my wellbeing a biologically psychologically and socially.
I went home with ringing in my ears and a smile on my face, saying hey to other gig goers on the way out and trying to remember where my shirt went.