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High Tension Continue To Be Legends; Speak Out Against Dickheads At Gigs

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There are a couple of things that every punter needs to know about live music:

1. It should be a pastime that people of all identities can enjoy without fear of being harmed;
2. If you go to shows with the express intention of causing harm, you are the shittiest of shitcunts.

These are both points that should go without saying for everyone, but unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. The amount of people reporting their experiences of physical and sexual abuse at live shows has been disgustingly high as of late, and understandably, the musicians behind the shows are pretty fed up with it all.

Taking to Facebook last night, High Tension frontwoman Karina Utomo recounted an experience one particular fan had while the Melbourne shredders were supporting Deafheaven at their local Corner Hotel.

“A member of the audience was groped by another member of the audience during High Tension’s set,” she posted. “We are appalled that this gross behaviour still continues at shows. This behaviour will never, ever be tolerated.

“This gross behaviour oppresses not only the persons being violated but also oppresses other metal fans. How are we meant to feel safe and respected when attending shows when we are constantly fearful of putting ourselves at risk of being violated? By continuing oppression of others you are stunting the growth of the metal community, you are breeding fear and affirming the bad experiences of other metal fans that are more vulnerable.”

Utomo confirmed that the oxygen thief in question was kicked out of the venue, commending those that spoke up about them.

“My upmost respect and solidarity to the metal fan who addressed the personal violation that happened to them during our set,” she continued. “You took control and you spoke out. You may not know this yet, but your action last night gave every person who have had a similar experience, every person who have ever been fearful, reluctant to enter the ‘pit’… your action gave them a voice.”

While more artists and fans are speaking up about violence in the music scene, the problem isn’t exactly going away. Especially in the alternative realm, the concertgoing experience can pose a very real threat to some people – especially for women and the LGBTQ+ community. As such, Utomo notes the disturbing rift in attendance demographics.

“Do you ever wonder as to why the attendance of women and members of the LGBTIA community at metal shows is almost always a mere percentage? Even though a love for metal / aggressive music is NOT exclusive to men? Every person deserves to enjoy the show from the barrier, from the pit or from any area of the venue. The pit is not an area to be opportunistic or an open invitation to violate.”

The incident comes just a couple of days after hyper-masculinity spoiledCamp Cope gig in Brisbane; noting the recent collision of shit and fan in recent weeks, Utomo’s post ends on a note looking towards a more inclusive future for the scene.

“It is clear that it is a bigger conversation that we should all have,” she says. “We want to make shows a safer experience. Hammel had a brilliant idea of organising a proper discussion to address this issue. We will be inviting fans of metal / aggressive music specifically to share their experiences and offer their ideas / insights. We hope to do this in the coming weeks. We have some ideas on how we may be able improve the safety of our fans and make our shows feel more inclusive, because frankly, we can’t believe this shit is still happening.”

Read Karina’s full post below.

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