Here’s one I’ve wanted to do for awhile. Over the years I’ve collected recordings of concerts that ended in violence, riots, or with the band being booed off the stage. You just don’t see that level of art rebellion/destruction in today’s desensitized world, for better (most likely) or worse. Anyway, here are four of the most famous examples. Don’t play this around your kids unless you want them to learn the f-bomb early.
1) July 22, 1979: Black Flag at Polliwog Park, Manhattan Beach CA. The story varies as to what Greg Ginn told the parks commissioner to get this booking. Either he said Black Flag was a Fleetwood Mac cover band, a jazz band, or something else mellow and park-appropriate. In any event, after a set by The Tourists (an early Redd Kross incarnation), the Keith Morris version of Black Flag arrived and caused havoc. Here Black Flag plays “Police Story,” gets interrupted, and goes on with “Wasted.”
2) October 31, 1975: Devo, WHK Auditorium, Cleveland, OH. Devo opened for Sun Ra at a WMMS radio concert on Halloween 1975. Their set, including the purported debut of “Jocko Homo,” annoyed the audience so much that at least one attendee rushed the mic to denounce the band. Devo, of course, replied with “IS HE NOT A MAN? HE IS DEVO!” At the end, you can hear bottles hitting guitar strings and a near-fight with one of the stagehands. (Appears in full on Live: The Mongoloid Years.)
3) May 16, 1981: Public Image Ltd., The Ritz, New York, NY. Filling in for Bow Wow Wow, PiL envisioned a multimedia experiment rather than a proper “concert.” Unfortunately, no one told the audience, who waited for hours for the band to come on.
4) June 16, 1978: Suicide, Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium. The original punk rock audience attackers, on tour with Elvis Costello. These are the last four or five minutes of the 23 Minutes Over Brussels EP. Features one of my favorite-ever pieces of stage banter: “SHUT THE FUCK UP! THIS IS ABOUT FRANKIEEEEE!”