Disclaimer- The Pit loves record stores. They should be respected and cherished at all costs. That said, putting aggressive bands and passionate fans together inside of them for live shows is always a bit of a risk. Here are 3 times when those combustible elements mixed together got maybe a little too out of hand.
Trash Talk at Rasputin – Berkeley, California. 2010.
LA hardcore act Trash Talk built a reputation from the jump of being a totally unhinged live band in any setting they were placed in. Add their cult-like following to the band’s vitriol and it was always like a powder keg waiting to explode. So, it probably shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise that Trash Talk in a tiny record store with merchandise racks surrounding them was destined to cause some damage.
It’s a little unclear what exactly caused the chaos to escalate, but it appears to have started when a store employee abruptly unplugs the band’s gear while they’re still playing, causing frontman Lee Spielman to take out his frustration with a good ‘ol front flip to the used CD section.
Dillinger Escape Plan at Virgin Megastore Records – New York City, 2005.
For some context, it was a pretty big deal for any band that sounded like Dillinger Escape Plan to play inside of a major corporate record store in the early 2000’s. It was essentially unheard of, and after watching this video, maybe there was a reason behind that.
Greg Puciato had just recently joined the band on vocals, and had a lot to prove filling the shoes of Dimitri Minakakis. He wasted no time doing that here, though, as the first :30 of the set contains one of the most legendary “headwalks” of all time. Absolute chaos.
System of a Down at Tower Records, West Hollywood – 2001.
Back in 2001 as System of a Down were about to release their now legendary Toxicity, the band made plans to play a public outdoor show in L.A. at a Tower Records. They had planned on 3,500 fans showing up, but grossly underestimated the growing popularity of the band. An estimated 10-15,000 fans showed up, causing the fire marshal to refuse to let the band play. Quickly, the whole event ended up turning into a scene of utter chaos.
Disgruntled fans began to pelt the stage with debris—bottles, shoes, coins and other paraphernalia. It didn’t help matters that stagehands actually threw some of it back at the crowd, and eventually, people charged the stage.
All of the band’s touring gear—drums, guitars, and amps—ended up being destroyed, while people also smashed car windows, threw debris at police and overturned port-a-potties. (Gross!) “The kids went crazy – they started destroying our equipment and gear, and we had to get a police escort out of there,” said System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian in Metal Hammer.
The band left the scene with a police escort to a nearby hotel to escape the mayhem, seeing it all unfold from just blocks away. In total, the skirmish lasted for six hours, and six people were arrested on charges that ranged from felony vandalism to assault with a deadly weapon.
And the loss to the band’s gear and damage to equipment amounted to around $30,000. And as a result, an in-store performance scheduled for the next day was canceled.