Why Apollo Ghosts Rules by Kheaven Brasier
Consensual crowdsurfing. This is how I’ve come to name what Adrian Teacher taught me in the summer of 2011. Apollo Ghosts and crowd surfing are synonymous for me, as I AM sure it is for just about anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing them perform. And it’s a big part of why they rule. Adrian’s non-violent instruction on the art of crowd surfing changed my life forever. It felt like a secret transmission from Zen master to student:
1) Climb onto the stage, face the crowd, and lift your arms to the sky to convey your intention.
2) With arms out front, slow-motion lean forward more and more into the crowd until they willingly carry you away.
That’s it. But this is not obvious stuff. It’s quite subtle.
Growing up in the Golden Horseshoe, I had seen my fair share of crowdsurfing in the local scene. It looked pretty thrilling, but what kept me from participating was this energy of violence and aggression running underneath the entire ordeal. The first thing that comes to mind are the failures. I’d see the potential surfer take a running leap high into the sky, only to crush the crowd and take several people out. No fun. Sometimes there would be a ‘success’ –against the laws of physics, the crowd hauled this person back up onto the waves. Once here, the surfer would writhe and roll, boot stomping audience members in the face. Bloody noses. Spilled beers. Concussions. No fun. And then there were times when the audience was out of control. A young woman would want to be lifted up onto the waves, only to be tossed and groped violently. It was just a big toxic bummer. Noooo fun.
What is the magic of the Ghosts’ technique of consensual crowdsurfing? My best guess is that it creates and rewards the physical connections we seek from ‘the pit’ in the healthiest possible way. Yes, the pit. Remember that? Remember actually desiring to be close up and touching dozens of sweaty people crammed against the front of the stage? It seems like forever ago.
Connections. This is what I’m really trying to get at. This is actually why Apollo Ghosts rule. They’ve discovered a technique (consensual crowdsurfing) that actually increases our sense of healthy physical connectedness during their performance.
Here is a diagram showing all the connections taking place during an Apollo Ghosts Show:
Consensual crowdsurfing magnetizes, heightens, and glues all of these possible connections together. Like all genuine connections, it asks us to be vulnerable. It is definitely emotionally easier to not look at the crowd and just leap onto them to initiate a surf. It’s like: Catch me or get squashed, fuckers! I don’t give a shit! Following the instructions for consensual crowdsurfing is vulnerable because you have to stand before the audience and basically slow-motion plead with them to agree to carry you away. By not jumping on the crowd, you are putting the power in their hands–and that’s vulnerable! However, by using eye contact and body language, slowing things down, and inviting healthy connection, the surfer is received with strength and care and may surf with grace. It is a miracle to behold.
So why do Apollo Ghosts rule? We know they write AMazing songs, are masters of performance, and are the kind of good hearted people you just want to be around. But for me, the number one reason why they rule is because of their dedication to creating healthy connection through consensual crowdsurfing, which has a transformative effect on them as a band, the audience as a crowd, and on us as individuals.
P.S. If you take the Ghosts’ approach to consensual crowdsurfing into your everyday life and all that you do, you’ll find everything starts to just work out. I’m serious.
Kheaven Brasier is the Programming Director at CKDU 88.1 FM in Halifax and is also the creator of Moving Hearts Yoga. You may have also seen them on stage with some great bands like Yellowteeth, Partner and Olenka and the Autumn Lovers over the years.