For a performer there are few things better than an enthusiastic, responsive crowd. And they don’t come any livelier than at a rock concert where fans and band can reach a whole other level of crazy.
Inevitably, some of that behaviour is going to have consequences.
In 1981 Keith Richards poleaxed a stage invader at a Stones concert with his guitar then carried on playing. Axl Rose became so enraged by someone in a Guns n Roses audience taking photos of him that he jumped from the stage and began throwing punches. In 2004, Courtney Love ended up in police custody after supposedly striking a concert-goer with a mic stand.
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler threatened one fan who was trying to enhance his reputation with his mates by persistently pulling on the ribbons adorning the singer’s mic stand with a knuckle sandwich and Dave Grohl, stopped a Foo Fighters concert mid song to tell one audience member to get the **** our of his gig after he witnessed a female fan being punched.
There are also the completely random outrageous moments like Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat thinking it was a rubber toy, Iggy Pop belly flopping on broken glass or the time he did a live set on Channel 4’s The Tube with a very obvious erection. And no one who saw it will forget the infamous tampon incident with Donita Sparks of L7 on late night show The Word.
One of the most extreme responses from the stage was Marilyn Manson showing his displeasure at an over zealous security guard’s aggression towards fans at one of his concerts that he humiliated him by resting his testicles on the bully’s head.
But nothing comes close to the – as it turns out – ironically named Sophia Urista, singer with Brass Against who, on November 11 at a gig in Florida, decided in the middle of a rendition of the Rage Against The Machine song Wake Up to pee with water canon power on a fan’s head before kicking him off the stage.
She has since apologised while denying it was in any way part of a shock tactic to elevate the performance or get news coverage. The band are very popular already, and justifiably so, although they have been banned from appearing at the Welcome to Rockville Festival in Daytona ever again.
A statement from the band said Urista got carried away and it will never happen at a Brass Against gig again, so it’s fair to assume there were words in the dressing room after.
The guy involved, like an archetypical metal head, certainly wasn’t complaining during or after the incident, but I get the impression that it was not a gesture meant to be worn as a badge of honour, even though he seems to have elected to do so.
He will now be famous as the bloke Sophia Urista from Brass Against pee’ed on and the videos, one of which is completely uncensored, will be viewed on YouTube for years to come.
The headlines have all been along the lines of “Singer pees in fan’s head” yet it would have been just as accurate to say “Fan allows singer to pee on his head”.
Regardless of what triggered the singer to do such a thing, it will go down in legend as an example of classic rock ‘n’ roll excess, even though I’m inclined to think there was something else behind it.
I can’t help but feel there’s a disturbing element of double standards in the media’s reaction to the revelation that cricketer Azeem Rafiq, whose revelations about racism at Yorkshire CC have thrown the entire game into disrepute, made anti semitic comments himself ten years ago.
The attitude towards Rafiq’s comments made in 2011 has been – oh he’s sorry so it’s OK, move on, yet for others no amount of apologies have saved their reputations.
Nothing can excuse the appalling treatment Rafiq received at Yorkshire. It needed to be exposed and he should be applauded for coming forward.
But the hypocrisy of hair trigger cancel culture has also been laid bare.
Full marks to Frankie Boyle for coming up with the best take down of Kier Starmer I’ve ever heard, describing him as a man who can’t shop at Sainsburys because the automatic doors don’t recognise that anyone is there.
Stupid TV quiz answer of the week
Q: What is the capital of Brazil?
A: Rio De Niro