It's not unusual for things to go wrong during concerts. Hell, just this week Paul McCartney was attacked by a cloud of grasshoppers, the frontman of NY deathcore band Emmure got electrocuted and rogue fans bum-rushed the stage at Justin Bieber's concert in Dubai. Random attacks can't be predicted, nor can technological malfunctions or natural disasters. There was absolutely nothing Kings of Leon bassist Jared Followill could do about pigeons shitting in his mouth in St Louis last year.
Sometimes, though artists take it on themselves to push boundaries and offer fans something a little out of the ordinary. The National, for example, played their song 'Sorrow' for six hours straight on Sunday. That's 105 times. I repeat: 105 times. According to the press release, the artist in collaboration with the band is known for installations "full of humour and emotion". Listening to a National song 105 times in a row sounds about as funny as polio to me. What's more, the band suggested on their Reddit AMA that they'll be releasing it on vinyl. Don't all rush at once. Here's some more information from the show's press release:
By stretching a single pop song into a day-long tour de force the artist continues his explorations into the potential of repetitive performance to produce sculptural presence within sound
How absurd. But the band aren't alone. Here are 10 more examples of artists being ridiculous on stage.
Along the same lines, Bradford Cox of Deerhunter popularity, playing as his solo project Atlas Sound, covered The Knack's mega-hit 'My Sharona' for an hour after it was requested by a pissed heckler in the audience. TBF the live videos (of which there are quite a few on YouTube) suggest it was an awesome free-jazz-style freak-out.
Neil Young trolled his audiences in the 1973 tour of 'Tonight's The Night' playing his album once, and then twice. Nils Lofgren recalls what happened:
We were playing an album that he wanted to turn people on to that hadn’t been released. He was an icon already in England, everyone expected to hear his hits and he played none of them. He played the record from beginning to end starting with 'Tonight’s The Night', finishing with 'Tonight’s The Night'. And the English audiences really were not… okay with it. They started yelling a lot, they started booing, they started complaining, whining, every show. He’d get to the end of the night and he’d say, ‘Alright, we’re going to play something you’ve all heard before’. And everyone would go crazy thinking it would be some Buffalo Springfield hit or whatever, and then we’d play 'Tonight’s The Night' again
Madonna's concert in Tel Aviv last summer wasn't so much a gig as a bid to bring about world peace. Halfway through the show, the Kabbalah-believer, who had given 600 tickets to members of the Israeli and Palestinian peace camps, turned things political, saying:
If we can all rise above our egos and our titles and the names of our countries and our religions, and treat everyone around us with dignity and respect, then we are on the road to peace. If there is peace here in the Middle East, there can be peace in the whole world
I'd rather have 'Borderline', thanks.
It must get very boring playing your old records. You can't really blame, say, Radiohead for dropping 'Creep'. Post-punk experimentalists Wire found a solution. In 1985, they hired a tribute band called The Ex-Lion Tamers, to play the old stuff. Can't imagine the fans were best pleased.
Brummie grindcore loons Napalm Death planned to play a gig at the V&A last year using a custom built ceramic sound system which would disintegrate throughout the performance. Speaking beforehand, Napalm Death frontman Mark "Barney" Greenway, had said:
Sound as a weapon - or a weapon of change - is a very interesting concept and I think that the whole process of our sound gradually degrading clay sculptures is captivating
Unfortunately the gig was cancelled for fear it would damage the building.
Pitbull, that rapping cash-monkey from Miami who literally looks like a pit bull, was the centre of a hilarious internet prank last summer when jokers rigged a Walmart competition to send him to deepest, darkest Alaska. Something Awful founders David Thorpe and Jon Hendren encouraged Facebook users to like the page until they were successful. Unfortunately Pitbull came back from Alaska the next day.
Huge office desks that transform into a treadmill; shopping trolleys; flying books; a secret location you won't know about until it's emailed. This is no ordinary concert, it's a Neon Neon concert. Producer Boom Bip and Gruff Rhys, the frontman for the Welsh rock band Super Furry Animals , are touring their 'Praxis Makes Perfect' album and it sounds bonkers.
There's more than one GG Allin gig we could mention. By the late 80s the ultimate shock rock punk was defecating all over the place: rubbing it on himself, the walls and his audience. Lush.
In 2007, The White Stripes played a gig in Canada which was... one note long. Apparently it was a C#.
It wasn't just the crazy instruments and costumes, nor the weird Rainbow Rhythms dance routines, the weirdest thing about The Knife's show this week at Camden's Roundhouse was that it was impossible to tell which ones Karin and Olof were and, indeed, if they were there at all. They seemed to be purposefully positioning different female singers centre stage for the main vocals to confuse everyone. What's authenticity anyway, yeah?
Here are more cool pictures of the show.