One of the most exciting aspects of heading to a gig is that you never know when you might become a part of music history. The thrill of the live setting promises the opportunity to experience a moment that transcends the walls of a venue and lives on in the collective conscious of music lovers everywhere.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean the events you and your fellow fans have been privy to will be remembered fondly. You may bear witness to an incident all involved would sooner forget. Tough luck – it’s imprinted in the collective conscious now, fool!
Below is a series of situations that an artist or band might find themselves in, with a variety of acts categorised depending on how well they’ve handled a given situation, separating those who have carried themselves with style from others who might have been the victim of misfortune, and even some acts who deliberately XTL for the sake of
the show their ego.
…No Harm, No Foul
When a fan finds themselves in harm’s way, your typical hero act will pause proceedings to ensure their well-being. Of course, not all performers are so mindful of their audience and can sometimes be the cause of pain.
As if her voice wasn’t heavenly enough, Florence Welch proved to be a guardian angel late last year when the Florence + The Machine singer stopped the show to personally check on the well-being of a distraught fan.
American rapper Kevin McCall’s recent gig in Melbourne didn’t impress , with some onlookers booing the MC. Upset by the jeers, McCall invited the hecklers onstage and then proceeded to try and tussle with the audience members.
The memory of Miguel’s performance at this year’s Billboard Music Awards is sure to live on in the mind of at least one fan for the rest of their life – not because Miguel dedicated a song to the young lady but because the R&B singer delivered an atomic leg drop that more than likely left a permanent footprint on her face. This one would have even Hulk Hogan saying “Oh, brother!”
And now he’s probably getting sued. Can’t blame ’em.
Whether it’s an awe-inspiring feat of engineering or executing a classic trick with the band member’s instrument of choice, a live show is supposed to be a spectacle, but sometimes the manoeuvres that were intended to wow the crowd can be the act’s undoing.
How do you challenge yourself if you’re one of today’s top drummers? Well if you’re Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, you perform a spine-tingling gravity-defying solo. Sound unbelievable? Then watch this, Jack!
Mic tricks are a hallmark of any quality rock show. But if it ain’t kept on a short leash you can end up slaughtering more than your own lyrics.
Such was the case at a recent Guns N’ Roses gig in Perth when a front-row fan found himself blindsided by an Axl Rose mic swing.
The result? A busted lip, 2 broken teeth and a $5000 dental bill. No appetite for destruction? Well, welcome to the jungle, loser!
Steve Aoki tried to show of his gymnastic abilities at the Circotic nightclub in Peurto Rico last October when he dived onto a trampoline. Unfortunately for Aoki, his aerial body control left something to be desired. Thankfully Aoki was A-OK (you can check out the painful pics here).
(And just for kicks, check out this amazing guitar swing fail…)
Chatting with the audience is a time-honoured tradition. It’s a chance for an act to show some personality and learn a little more about their fans, as well as leaving the crowd feeling like they’ve made a connection, though sometimes the ol’ earholes get a little more than they bargained for.
All-around top bloke Seth Sentry has a reputation for interacting with his fans. This penchant for crowd back and forth proved particularly helpful recently when one audience member was unable to adhere to Seth’s request that everyone be seated.
Rather than leaving the young lady to be ridiculed Seth investigated the situation and discovered the fan was in fact Paralympian Kat O’Kelly-Kennedy, who wears a prosthetic leg. Seth then invited O’Kelly-Kennedy onstage and dedicated a song to her.
Getting a little preachy onstage is one thing. Using a recent string of tragic murders to promote conspiracy theories X’s a major L. That’s what happened when Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine told fans during a gig in Singapore that President Obama staged last year’s cinema shooting in Aurora, Colorado as well as the Wisconsin Sikh Temple murders in order to try and introduce stricter gun control laws in The United States.
What’s more punk rock then trashing the stage when your sets been cut short to make time for Usher? That’s exactly what Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong did at last year’s iHeart Radio Festival in Las Vegas as he informed the crowd, “You’ve gotta be f&%$*#ng kidding me! I’m not f*^&$#ng Justin Bieber!”
Only problem was Armstrong was mistaken and Green Day’s set was not cut short. A few days after the outburst Armstrong checked into rehab.
…The Show Must Go On
The adage is as old as show business, probably. But some bands are made of sturdier stuff than others. There are acts who will play in the face of God, other’s who’ll all too soon thrown in the towel and some who simply lose track of time.
Iggy Pop is widely considered the godfather of punk rock. And as such Iggy isn’t about to let anyone or anything, even the ultimate authority that is mother nature, stop him from performing.
In 2010 after a freak storm destroyed the stage during the Sonisphere Festival in Finland, Iggy played an alternated set unplugged. Here’s what Iggy and The Stooges road manager Jos Grain told Music Feeds about it.
“A big hurricane … blew over one of the stages at a festival we were at. And all the equipment we had fell over as well … so that gig was cancelled. But … Iggy and James (Williamson) both went on another stage and did an acoustic set for about ten minutes, just so that people wouldn’t feel that they’d abandoned them … So they still insisted on doing something even though their actual main set had been ruined.”
Kings Of Leon left fans hanging when they quit mid-show during a gig in Dallas in 2011. Frontman Calleb Followill reportedly complained of being overheated, went backstage grab a drink and never returned.
Calleb’s brothers and bandmates tried to appease the crowd but were only meant with boos. Following the cancellation of Kings Of Leon’s next gig in Houston, bassist Jared Followill posted the following on Twitter:
“I love our fans so much. I know you guys aren’t stupid. I can’t lie. There are problems in our band bigger than not drinking enough Gatorade.”
Indie rockers Modest Mouse overstayed their welcome at this year’s Coachella. Performing hit single Float On, the band suddenly found their instruments had been cut off.
If various social media comments are to be believed the band brought it upon themselves with frontman Isaac Brock rambling on for minutes between tracks. Instruments or no, Modest Mouse refused to stop until the song was complete.
…Doin’ It For The Kids
You’ve heard it time and time again: “If it wasn’t for the fans we wouldn’t be here”. Actions speak louder than words when it comes to fan appreciation, but sometimes even intended kindness can miss mark…
Jon Bon Jovi may give love a bad name but he did nothing but endear himself further to fans when Bon Jovi announced they’d take a pay cut on their upcoming Australian stadium tour to offer fans inexpensive tickets. No wonder fans are gobsmacked by Jon Bon.
You didn’t think we’d get through this one without mentioning this little toerag, right?
Not only does Bon Jovi not take his own fans for granted, he has little patience for other performers that do. The stadium rocker statesman recently addressed Justin Bieber’s ever-growing rep for showing up late to his own gigs. As JBJ pointed out, Bieber’s tardiness is disrespectful to fans who give up their time and money to attend the show:
“Every generation has guys that do that, none of that is new. They run the risk of disrespecting their audience members who have worked hard to pay for their ticket, to give you the permission to take two or three hours of their lives – or in that kid’s case, 80 minutes of their lives.”
We know better than to cross The Boss but, when trying to show appreciation for Michigan fans a few years back, Bruce Springsteen made the cardinal sin of forgetting which city he was performing in.
Playing in the Palace of Auburn Hills, a stadium in the city of Detroit, Springsteen welcomed the crowd with a hearty, “Good evening, Ohio!” E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt later told Rolling Stone that after the third Ohio mixup he stepped in to help Bruce out:
“The first time I was like ‘Did I just hear that?’ The second time I looked at [bassist] Garry (Tallent) and said, ‘Did you hear what I just heard?’ At that point I knew I had to get Bruce’s attention but … Sure enough, he did it a third time and I’m like, ‘That’s it. This crowd is about to rebel.”
Once aware of his social faux pas Springsteen admitted to Detroit onstage, “I’ve been worried my whole life I’m going to do that and I finally did that.” The self-effacing St Bruce played on the case of mistaken city identity a few nights later in Wisconsin.