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The most anarchic moments in music

We reckon The Suicide Squad – the freak-flags-flying supervillain movie in cinemas on Friday (July 30) – is the most anarchic we’ve seen yet.

So to celebrate the release of James Gunn’s DCEU debut, we’re looking back at the most anarchic moments in music – times when common sense went out of the window and chaos reigned supreme.

The KLF do a Scarface at the BRIT Awards

What happened: In their short career, dance/pop/glam/novelty-pop duo The KLF seemed more intent on pranking the music industry than reaching the Top 10 – which they nonetheless managed five times, including a Number One with 1988’s ‘Doctorin’ The Tardis’. Appearing at the BRIT Awards in 1992, the band pulled off the fabulously irresponsible stunt of pulling out a real machine gun and firing blanks on the audience following a chaotic performance of their hit ‘3AM Eternal’ with Extreme Noise Terror.

What happened next: The band announced their retirement from the music industry the very same night with a message scrawled on a piece of paper attached to a dead sheep that was deposited at an afterparty. The note read: “I died for you”. Those guys!

The Sex Pistols set sail on the Thames

What happened: Marking the release of their quintessential anti-establishment anthem ‘Anarchy In The UK’, punk premiers The Sex Pistols celebrated with a party on the Thames on a boat named The Queen Elizabeth. This was June 7, 1977, the Silver Jubilee year, and the band were firmly in the mode of winding up Her Majesty, having released their ‘God Save The Queen’ single a month prior.

sex pistols
Sex Pistols aboard the Queen Elizabeth on the River Thames on June 7, 1977 during their Silver Jubilee Boat Trip (Picture: Brian Cooke/Redferns)

What happened next: Police intercepted before the vessel reached its intended destination, The Palace Of Westminster, where they were due to perform the song. The entire band were arrested and 11 of the party spent the night in jail. The song still went to Number One despite a ban from the BBC, who refused to acknowledge its existence, and the charts, which recorded nothing in the top spot that week for the first time ever.

Brian Wilson opens a greengrocers

What happened: Anarchy at a greengrocers? You betcha. Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson got the idea to open a health food store in LA while posing for a photo promoting his song ‘Vegetables’, on which none other than Paul McCartney can be heard playing the, er, carrot. Quicker than anyone could say “I don’t think this is a good idea”, the troubled frontman had opened up the Radiant Radish on Fairfax Avenue.

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson recording ‘Pet Sounds’ in 1966 (Picture: Getty)

What happened next: Brian would tend shop dressed in a bathrobe and slippers, open and shut on a whim and personally munch his way through the stock and demand to see prescriptions for vitamins. The store closed within a year, and Brian later said his favourite part of running it was “the cash register”.

Limp Bizkit inspire fans to “break stuff” at Woodstock ‘99

What happened: Woodstock ‘99 promised to be an event inspired by the original festival of peace and love in the same locale 30 years earlier. Instead, it became a festival of piss and blood as festival-goers, riled by the inflated prices, stifling heat, lack of sanitation and poor experience, were inspired by Limp Bizkit’s song ‘Break Stuff’ to do precisely that.

What happened next: Vandalism, looting, fire, millions in damages, 60 concert-goers hospitalised – the festival resembled a Mad Max movie by the end. A proposed 50th anniversary event failed to get off the ground entirely – probably for the best.

Fyre Festival is the bonfire of hipster vanity

What happened: Rapper Ja Rule and sundry bro-vestors set about putting on the ultimate luxury festival in the Bahamas, but blew the budget getting Instagram influencers and supermodels to hype it up and couldn’t deliver on their promise. Headliners Blink-182 pulled out, guests arrived to a scene that looked like disaster relief, bad sandwiches were served and a man named Andy King considered performing sexual favours to convince Bahamian customs to release a shipment of drinking water.

What happened next: The world laughed at the whiny privileged kids for a bit, then forgot about it. Then three documentaries came out and everyone had another laugh. “Doing a Fyre Festival” is now industry slang for when an event turns into an apocalyptic shit show.

2 Live Crew are 2 ‘horny’ 4 the world

What happened: Following the release of single ‘Me So Horny’ (itself enough for modern-day permanent cancellation) in 1989, their accompanying album ‘As Nasty As They Wanna Be’ was deemed “obscene” by the censors due to its sexually explicit lyrics and arse-packed cover. One record retailer in the US was actually arrested for selling a copy of the album to an undercover officer, but the group’s Luke Campbell insisted he was no moral threat: “Just a hard-working guy marketing a new product”. When you consider that ‘WAP [Wet Ass Pussy]’ was a recent mainstream hit, you have to wonder if he had a point.

What happened next: The group followed it up with an album named ‘Banned In The USA’ – now that’s how you market a new product.

Pussy Riot play their punk prayer

What happened: On February 21, 2012, five balaclava-clad women stormed into Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ The Saviour and performed a track called ‘Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!’, which is a line that hasn’t made Line of Duty‘s Ted Hastings’ on-screen repertoire yet.

Pussy Riot
Pussy Riot speak during a press conference on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

What happened next: It got Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attention, and the group’s membership was summarily arrested. They’ve since been a loud voice of resistance in Russia and have pursued a programme of situationist art-punk protests.

The Suicide Squad is in cinemas on Friday, July 30.