Houston's 10 Most Merciless Mosh Pits of 2014

New York's Cro-Mags incited one of the best mosh pits in Houston this year.
New York's Cro-Mags incited one of the best mosh pits in Houston this year.
Photo by Jack Gorman

2014 was another bruising year for punk and metal fans in Houston, and naturally, most of those bruises were self-inflicted. From the southern outpost of Scout Bar to the northerly slope of the Woodlands Pavilion hill, alcohol-fueled crazy persons made a sport out of slamming into one another, turning the city's clubs, dives and amphitheaters into rock and roll proving grounds. In mosh pit after mosh pit, we watched the adrenalized mayhem turn boys into men and girls into badass chicks who are not to be fucked with.

At times, it was beautiful: Only at a rock show can you see a grown man hug the guy who just violently knocked him off his feet. Other times, the moshing got flat-out scary, sending all but the most indestructible mutants scurrying towards the bar. More than once, the action in the pit proved to be more memorable than the music onstage.

While nobody can claim to have caught every mosh pit in Houston this year, we here at Rocks Off are proud to say we braved quite a few of them to bring you those pictures you like so much. And a few of those pits stood out more than others, forcing us to stand back and simply admire our city's lack of sanity. What better evidence of a great show can there be?

So for all the skankers and the skaters, the bros and the bullies, we present to you now our official accounting of the Top 10 mosh pits of 2014:

RIP Oderous
RIP Oderous
Photo by Jack Gorman

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10. GWAR at Warehouse Live, 10/26/2014 For a while there, it seemed as if Houston might have seen its last GWAR mosh pit. When beloved front-being Oderus Urungus passed from this plane of existence earlier this year, many fans feared that the mighty Scumdogs couldn't carry on without him. By October, however, Warehouse Live was once again wrapped in plastic from ceiling to floor as GWAR's many local slaves battered one another within the band's constant streams of blood and bile. The wild pit served as welcome reassurance that GWAR is more than capable of continuing to dominate a post-Oderus planet.

9. Back to Back at Fitzgerald's, 1/26/2014 Fans of Toronto's Fucked Up know to arrive at their gigs ready for plenty of crowd participation, but the most memorable moshing action at their January show at Fitzgerald's was stirred up by local hardcore standouts Back to Back. One brave young woman was inspired by the band's chugging brand of punk to hop onstage and see how many people's heads she could walk on before tumbling into the pit.

Not sure what her final tally ended up being, but she must not have been satisfied with it, because she tried repeatedly to break her own record.

Not bad for a Monday.
Not bad for a Monday.
Photo by Nathan Smith

8. Goatwhore at Fitzgeralds, 9/15/2014 Monday nights can make for some pretty lame mosh pits, but New Orleans' death-metal torchbearers Goatwhore churned up one of the year's best at their September show at Fitzgerald's. Spurred on by guitarist Sammy Duet's outrageously loud Randall amplifiers, fans thrashed across the floor with satanic glee, completely oblivious to the impending tragedy of getting up for work the next morning. As longhairs careened off of one another up front, Monday had never felt more metal.

7. H.R.A. at Rudyard's, 1/18/14 Rudyard's Pub may be best known for its cozy Montrose atmosphere and its mad decent pub grub, but the neighborhood bar has also hosted its fair share of metallic mayhem over the years. In January, local hardcore cretins H.R.A. turned the tiny dance floor upstairs into a crowded, roiling mess with a few jagged chords and a nasty attitude.

Bodies and wedge monitors were repeatedly bowled over as a rowdy micro-pit broke out in the tight little space in front of Rudz's corner stage. It's cool, though; I wasn't going to drink that beer anyway.

6. Revocation at Fitzgerald's, 10/10/2014 Sometimes the last night of a tour can be a real letdown, with road-weary bands trying to get the gig over with quickly and painlessly so they can get back home to their very own beds. But if Boston's death-metal alchemists Revocation were tired when they came through Fitz with Crowbar in October, it sure as hell didn't show.

The band had to raise its game to match the enthusiasm of the Houston crowd, whipping the pit into a frenzy with mighty kick-drum precision. When the band's last 32nd note finally died away, front man Dave Davidson thanked the moshers for making the last stop one of the best nights of the nationwide trek.

Story continues on the next page.

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