Spare a thought for the guy who had to lug Damon Albarn offstage at Roskilde in Denmark last year. Poor dude probably thought he’d be home by midnight – just another day at the office. Instead the Blur frontman, bringing his Africa Express project to the festival, was in such high spirits, he didn’t stop playing till 4am, stretching his set to a marathon five hours. It all came to a head at when, in a mini-referendum, he started singing The Clash’s ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’. The crowd cheered for the former, but Roskilde’s security chose the latter and ended up literally carrying him offstage. Here’s some other musicians who ended up on the wrong side of security guards at gigs…
The God of Fuck got himself in $4K worth of trouble in 2001 after rubbing his crotch in a security guard’s face at a venue in Michigan named ‘Pine Knob’. The guard was described as “offended and humiliated”, and Manson was originally charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual assault – presenting the risk of prison time – but the charges were reduced to disorderly conduct and he paid the fine.
Coventry rockers The Enemy were playing the NME Radio 1 Stage at Leeds 2007 when bassist Andy Hopkins was pulled up by security on his return from a stage dive. Not recognising him, a bouncer grabbed him by the neck to stop him, prompting frontman Tom Clarke to intervene, shouting “He’s in the band, you cunt!”. That’s certainly one way to deal with it.
Atlanta four-piece Black Lips instigated a stage invasion at the start of their set at Heaven in London in 2008. Half an hour in, staff decided enough was enough and cut the sound – forgetting the band’s amps. They continued playing, and after onstage arguments with security, full sound was restored. To top it all off, frontman Jared Swilley ended up playing the guitar with his penis before hurling himself into the crowd. Just coz.
Running high on the success of ‘Paper Planes’, rapper MIA played the packed Sahara Tent at Coachella in 2008 – but the numbers weren’t enough for her, so she orchestrated a stage invasion and then asked for the lights to be dimmed, to recreate “London town in 1992”. After a long delay she won the standoff with her security and the lights went down. She even broke her curfew, the rebel.
The Cribs’ frontman, Ryan Jarman, was reportedly mistaken for a stage-invader and man-handled by security staff at Sheffield University Students’ Union in 2007 after he took off his shirt and jumped into the crowd. Security tried to remove him, apparently having paid zero attention to the set – but after his guitar tech got involved, he was allowed back onstage.
De La Soul
Hip-hop legends De La Soul nailed Glastonbury 2014, notably providing a well-meaning mockery of security guards during their 45-minute slot. Most of the guards in the field obliged when they asked everyone in the Pyramid Stage’s crowd to put their hands in the air, but singling out the one who thought himself above it, they said, “Number 242, stop being a fucking wise-guy.” How embarrassing.
Ex-Crystal Castles singer, Alice Glass, was nearly pulled off stage by security after clambering up a speaker stack at Glastonbury in 2008. The band’s lights and music suddenly shut down, and the crowd started booing – switching to cheers and clapping when the music was eventually switched back on. Security guards kept a close eye on her for the rest of the set though, holding on to her to avoid her being swallowed by the crowd.
Beth Ditto’s guards at Glastonbury weren’t impressed when she dived into the Pyramid Stage’s crowd. When she got out, she tried to dance with one of them, putting her microphone in his face. Later on in the set, she got down on one knee and proposed to him, but he reacted to this as most would, in front of a huge crowd: extremely awkwardly, moderately bemused, and perhaps a little scared.