Drunk On Power: When Security Fights Back
After US pop-punks The Story So Far brawled with heavy-handed security, we take a look at other acts who have clashed with famous acts.
Crowd surfing and moshing are two activities that are part and parcel of punk shows worldwide, but it seems one security guard at the Montreal leg of this year’s Warped Tour didn’t get the memo. Footage has emerged of a security guard throwing a crowd member to the ground after apparently crowd surfing over the barrier. The incident took place during the song “Daughter” by the increasingly popular US pop-punk band The Story So Far, sparking a brief brawl in which the band’s frontman Parker Cannon leapt off the stage and exchanged a flurry of blows with the over-zealous security guard before being subdued by security staff.
After the situation was diffused, Parker returned to the stage to conclude the band’s set. Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman has launched an investigation into the incident and announced via Twitter that a tape of the melee has been sent to the security company involved for their consideration. But this is far from the first time security members have abused their powers on innocent concert-goers and such incidents continue to occur, even as professional security companies receive training for roles that were once held by trigger-happy amateur brutes and Hells Angel members. Here is a few of the most high-profile examples of security dishing out hugely irrational responses and eschewing their primary role- to keep people safe.
The Altamont Incident & The Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger Was Powerless To Stop The Carnage At Altamont, Despite His Pleas
An incident that many cite as the exact moment where the idealism and universal love of the 60’s counterculture mutated into something altogether more sinister, the Altamont Free Concert was supposed to be a continuation of the hugely successful Woodstock Festival. But where Woodstock has become synonymous with peace and love, Altamont is known only for the excessive and heavy-handed violence dished out by the San Francisco chapter of the Hell’s Angels, who were employed to police the event. In retrospect, the idea to pay the Angels in beer was terrifically ill-judged as the biker gang freely abused their power and set upon members of the extensive crowd who grew increasingly restless due to a lack of space and widespread intoxication. The Hell’s Angels responded to the problem with a series of arbitrary attacks on those at the front of the stage that led to the eventual stabbing of Meredith Hunter, a black concert-goer. Headliners The Rolling Stones could only look on as the situation deteriorated and Mick Jagger’s pleas for calm were ignored.
Pete Wentz & Friends
Pete Wentz Proved He Was Partial To A Punch-Up
At the close of Fall Out Boy’s 2007 show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the band invited fans onstage in a good natured stage invasion designed to give a few lucky fans the chance to get up close to their heroes during the band’s final song, “Saturday”. Members of Fall Out Boy’s own security team aided fans in their attempts to clamber onstage. Yet a separate security team who were employed by the venue took umbrage with the act. Things got heated and before you could say “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” punches were being thrown and bodies were flying. Wentz dived into the crowd, defying his moody pretty boy image to land a few punches. After the situation is difused and Wentz was dragged back onstage he screamed into the microphone “That’s what you get when you f—k with my friends!” It was another case of a band admirably leaping to the defence of their fans and standing up for those who have paid to see them.
Kurt Cobain & Nirvana
Krist & Dave Were Quick To React After Their Bandmate Started A Brawl
At a sold-out Texas show in 1991, just Nirvana were on the cusp of their explosive breakthrough thanks to the rotation of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Kurt found himself in a tempestuous mood thanks to a myriad of sound problems that had already seen him smash the onstage mixing desk. Ontop of this, the show was a veritable sauna thanks to broken air conditioning. The stage was set for chaos and disorder. During the solo to “Love Buzz”, Kurt throws himself in the crowd and a security guard, who has been busy with crowd-surfers throughout the gig, tries to drag the future superstar back onstage- by his hair. Cobain reacts by slamming his guitar into the security guards head, a reaction that are themselves met with several punches back in Kurt’s direction. Bandmates Krist Noveselic and Dave Grohl immediately jump to the rescue of their friend and the show comes to an abrupt stop as the situation threatens to worsen. The security guard is left with a large gash in his head, whilst Kurt is left shaken. Such an incident would only add to the band’s growing notoriety for onstage violence, although the object of their derision was usually their own gear, rather than the head of a pissed-off security guy.
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