The promoter who kicked Finley Quaye off the stage due to a lacklustre performance this week has explained why he stepped in and stopped the singer’s show.
The musician was performing at the Convent Club in Woodchester, Gloucestershire when promoter Matt Roberts called time on his performance. Quaye was accused of failing to attend soundcheck, eventually arriving onstage an hour late, and not delivering an adequate performance, which Roberts labelled “bullshit” at the time. See footage of the incident above.
Speaking to NME, Roberts elaborated on the events. “We broadcast [shows] around the world; the thing was live, the show was live at nine o’clock [and] the guy turned up at five past nine. He had no back line, he had none of the instruments that were in the contracts, he had none of the band that were in the contracts. He had session musicians that had never played for him before.”
“I personally waited in the car park until he arrived so I could made a judgement in the car park whether he was a to fit to state to go on, so it was my responsibility, and I spoke with him before he went on.”
“And I considered that there could be magic, so that we would get him on. We got him on an hour after the show began online. Sadly, from that point on, you’ve seen five minutes of a 30-minute riff. All he did is that for 30 minutes before the last five minutes, and the crowd were turning so you hear on the video they were whistling and it got very uncomfortable in the room.”
“This is not the sort of venue where you would get cups of piss chucked over the stage, you know, the membership here, and the people who come to the gigs, love music and they’re a very attentive audience, so we had to stop it.”
Roberts continued to describe conversations with Quaye at the venue as “disparate”, adding: “It was hard work to get him on the stage”.
He also confirmed that they’ve not been in touch with Quaye since the incident: “The last words from me to him were seen as I was on stage, the team then escorted him out the building.”
The promoter also defended his decision to remove Quaye from the stage, despite prior knowledge of the musician’s troubled past.
“No promoter in the country wouldn’t know his background,” Roberts said. “So you know what you’re booking.”
“It wasn’t a vilification of Finley Quaye, there was no motivation actually. I just threw somebody offstage, it could have been anybody,” he added.
Reflecting on the events, Roberts asserted that the venue “wouldn’t change what we did” in hindsight. “Artists who are working in the professional field have an obligation to the audience to deliver a professional product,” Roberts said. “Fundamentally, we wish him well but he needs to sort himself out”.
In a statement released on the venue’s Facebook page, Roberts added: “While on the night I was livid with said performer, personally, I’d like to reiterate what prompted me to speak. It’s not a personal attack on the musician whom I’ve always held in high regard, and whose current lack of management of his talent I find incredibly frustrating.”
“It’s more that my passion for live music, all that live music engenders, creates and inspires is so strong. We’ve all had struggles, big and small, and creativity, our own, or that of artists who inspire us, is often the intangible guide that see us through our hard times and intensifies our good times.”
“I am passionate about live music surviving and thriving, and both musicians and those in the live music industry need to adapt and survive. When live music venues are closing weekly, it becomes all our responsibility to ensure we do what we can to ensure live music garners the audience and respect it deserves.
“Our responsibility as promoters is to our audiences, to the musicians and to all those involved in the business to help live music survive.”
During the original event, Roberts accused Quaye of “pollut[ing] my venue with bullshit”. “I am so sorry guys, I have worked in the industry 28 years, I have a reputation,” he told the crowd as he interrupted the set.
“You guys, go home,” he then told Quaye’s band. “We will refund the tickets, and I can only say that I am so sorry because the music industry and live music is beautiful.
“I am sorry, I will not sit here and pollute my venue with bullshit, and I can only apologise for you who were getting some of it because there is some magic there. All I can say is this is my house and I have acted how I feel is appropriate.”
Quaye won a Brit Award and MOBO Award at the height of his fame. His album ‘Maverick A Strike’ has been certificated multi-platinum since its release in 1997.
Quaye has encountered various problems in recent years. In 2012, he was found guilty of aggravated assault. The singer also admitted possession of cannabis in 2003.