Music, Went There

Went There: Pit-A-Palooza with C.O.A.

One last romp in "The Pit" at the Harvard Square MBTA stop took place on June 25th



The submerged area leading down to Harvard Square MBTA station, also known as “The Pit” has garnered both appreciation and infamy since it was built in the early 80s. The “Pit Rats” who frequented the space remember it fondly as a place where artistic expression and individuality flourished while others saw the space and its inhabitants as an eyesore and a nuisance. Whichever way you look at it, the recent plans to fill in The Pit are another sign of rendering Boston unfamiliar to those who spent their lives enveloped in its culture.

On June 25, the city gave local artists a chance for one last event in The Pit before it is filled in with concrete. Declaring the date “Pit Rat Day.” City Councillor Marc McGovern, Cambridge resident and author, Jen Deaderick and the Harvard Square Business Association  announced an event taking place in The Pit. On the bill for this “Pit-A-Palooza” was the Rocky Horror Picture Show performers Full Body Cast, a group of breakdancers and Boston Hardcore veterans Colin of Arabia.

Though this was a celebration of the Pit’s history it came on a somber day. The day before, the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that decided the Constitution protects a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. In the wake of this news came widespread protests across the country beginning Friday June 24th.

Hardcore music has always been about facing the worst obstacles and the people who flocked to the Pit on Saturday came there with a great amount of dread as they faced yet another monstrous obstacle in their crumbling society. Placing C.O.A. in the right place at the right time for a fiery performance.

After some humorous back and forth during Deaderick’s promotion of a local pizza shop with C.O.A. frontman Colin Campbell the hardcore frontman initiated the event with a brief yet poignant speech to the crowd. A moment that cements his longtime status as the Mayor of Boston Hardcore.

“Everything is fucked. We know that, I know that you’re mad, I’m mad too. The people in charge have no idea what we’re dealing with. This is a ‘Let them eat cake’ moment. Let us eat cake! Fuck off forever, we’re C.O.A.!” Campbell exclaimed before guitarist Mike Carson ignited the event with the crunchy riffs of “Intimidator/Dusthead.”

For the next 30-minutes the band disrupted the commutes of passerby’s while igniting the fire in the hearts of those who came for an outlet to channel all their anger and frustration. There was no separation between audience and performer. The microphone was always open to those who wanted to scream the lyrics they knew or simply yell until they couldn’t breathe anymore.

“I’m really pissed off and I don’t know any other way to let that out except through this band” Campbell explained as the band prepped for another round of explosive hardcore anthems. A feeling that was shared with the enraged crowd as the country’s leaders strip the rights of women away once again. The mosh pit was continuously active and energized, filled with slam dancers young and old.

For the large crowd in Harvard Square this was more than just the average hardcore show, it was an emotional and meaningful gathering of frustrated citizens. To an outsider it had all the signs of a loud riot but it was all controlled chaos. No one in the pit was hurt and no one was ever in any danger.

The surrounding population may have seen this as a disturbance to their day but for Boston Hardcore cohorts this show is already being spoken of in terms such as “Historical” and “Emotional.” For the band, many have declared it the most crucial show C.O.A. has ever played in their storied career. All could very well be true but one thing is certain, everyone who was there will never forget those thirty minutes spent in the Pit.

Even once the space behind the Harvard Square stop is filled with concrete the memories made on June 25th will never go away. C.O.A. made the event bigger than just an appreciation of the space, they knew this was a crucial moment for both art and human rights to come together.

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