Brian Jonestown Massacre
Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre | Credit: Andrea Friedrich/Redferns

The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Melbourne Show Descends Into Onstage Brawl

The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s 2023 Australian tour has come to a premature conclusion following a disastrous show at Melbourne’s Forum on Tuesday night (21st November). The show was cut short after bandleader Anton Newcombe and guitarist Ryan Van Kriedt ended up in a fistfight.

Fan footage from the gig shows Newcombe and Van Kriedt arguing following a performance of the song ‘Forgotten Graves’ – the sixth song of the evening. Newcombe told the guitarist, who had been with the band since 2015, to “put down the guitar” and that the “party’s over”. “There’s no more music until you get tae fuck,” Newcombe said. “We actually don’t need you.”

Brian Jonestown Massacre members come to blows during Melbourne show

“You better think about this one, man,” the guitarist responded, before yelling, “because this is forever.” Van Kriedt then walked off the stage, giving Newcombe the finger. The frontman, in turn, pie-faced the guitarist and the two chased each other across the stage. They tackled one another into touring guitarist/percussionist Shea Roberts, who fell backwards into Emil Nikolaisen’s keyboard and knocked it over.

After the two were pulled apart, Newcombe returned to the microphone to speak to the audience. However, the curtain had to be lowered once fans began bottling the stage.

At the time of writing, no public statement has been given by the band, their representatives, their label or their tour promoter regarding the incident or the cancellation of the tour’s remaining three shows. The ticket page for the band’s sold-out Northcote Theatre show, which was meant to happen tonight (23rd November), now features this message: “The Brian Jonestown Massacre regretfully informs ticket holders that the concert scheduled for Thursday 23rd November at the Northcote Theatre has been cancelled on medical grounds.

“You don’t need to do anything; your ticket(s) will be automatically refunded back to your credit card/PayPal account and we’ll let you know when this has been done.”

The band’s 2023 Australian tour, their first since 2018, was fraught from the beginning. indicates that percussionist Joel Gion – who has been with the band on-and-off since 1994 – walked off stage during their Hobart show. Gion, per the band’s Instagram, later left the tour entirely “due to a family emergency”. He was replaced by Roberts for the remainder of the shows.

“Half the band” reportedly walked off during the Perth show, which was allegedly cut short due to “abuse between [the] band and audience members”. Tensions between Newcombe and Van Kriedt reportedly continued throughout the tour, with both men leaving the stage at different points of their Canberra show but eventually coming back on.

The band’s 2018 Australian tour passed without any on-stage brawls, but it wasn’t devoid of controversy. During a show at Sydney’s Metro Theatre, Newcombe made some unsavoury comments regarding rape during an unprompted tirade against Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and an audience member. Newcombe later responded on Twitter, writing: “I never made light of rape culture — so fuck you all and your fascist pc trap and trial by internet.”

Further Reading

Love Letter To A Record: The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe On Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Are You Experienced’

Petition Calls For Brian Jonestown Massacre Tour To Be Cancelled, Following Rape Joke

The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe Says He May Not Return To Australia

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