At a music festival, emotions are rife with drama. And in some cases, musicians have retaliated by being really pissed off.
Where there’s music, there’s bound to be some emotion. At a music festival though, one would expect the prevalent emotion to be that of joy. But, history is filed with instances when music festivals have witnessed the anger of a performing artist, who’ve retaliated just the way they know how, through their music and performances.
The Sherp looks back at all those times when musicians lost their cool on a festival stage and made for iconic moments.
1. When Nine Inch Nails mercilessly went apeshit at Lollapalooza ’91
At the inaugural edition that Nine Inch Nails delivered one of their more memorable sets. Now, it was common knowledge for Nine Inch Nails to go grunge on their equipment, as it was an anomaly for their equipment to survive longer than a set, with Nine Inch Nails’ lead vocalist Trent Reznor unleashing his fury on them all. But on the day of the ’91 performance, dismay sound and constant power failure had the machines turn against him. Since, NIN was known to heavily rely on electronics, the set was abysmal, and Reznor, acutely aware of this fact yelled out loud, “This is the biggest show we’ve ever played, does anyone know what the fuck is wrong?”
When no good could have happened, Reznor launched into the brutally evocative song Sin, and began to trash all the gear available on stage, and then proceeded to tie up the broken equipment to trail behind his band bus. If that’s not hardcore, we don’t know what is.
2. When Rage Against The Machine defied censorship at Lollapalooza ’93
Remember the ‘Explicit Content. Parental Advisory’ tickets that are now safely a part of pop culture. Well back in the early 90’s, it was the censorship committee that asked for these stickers to be stuck on creative material or albums with explicit content. Rage Against The Machine saw it fit to oppose this move at their performance at Lollapalooza in 1993. Always a step ahead of their punk rock contemporaries, they stood butt-naked with black tape over their mouths and PMRC written across their chest. A silent ‘fuck you’ to the censorship board, if you will.
3. When Green Day’s Billie Joe smashed his guitar at I Heart Radio Music Festival in anger
You may not consider him so, but Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong does strongly associate himself and his band with punk leanings. And if anyone were to be present to witness his anger at the 2012 edition of I Heart Radio Music Festival, you would have been inclined to believe him. On the Day 1 of the festival, when the band’s performance was cut down from the originally slated 45 minutes to a 25-minute show, Billie Joe threw a tantrum worth the cameras. While the set began with Billie puling up his shirt and trousers up and down to their extreme ends, it ended with him yelling –
“I’ve been around since 19-f–ing-88! And you’re gonna give me one minute? I’m not fucking Justin Bieber, you motherfuckers. This is a fucking joke!”
He then broke open his guitar on the stage floor before storming off. And the bands Facebook post then later explained that he had then entered rehab for substance abuse. That explains it.
4. When Dave Grohl promptly asked a troublemaker to get out at iTunes Festival 2011
Dave Grohl is probably contemporary rock music’s nicest man. But he is also blessed with a razor sharp tongue that is bound to be put to action should the rocker be pissed off. And as a fan would know, you should never interrupt Dave Grohl in the middle of his performance, least of all with a fight. Dave, proceeded to not just stop the fight, but asked the initiator to promptly ‘fuck off’. You don’t mess with Dave Grohl in the middle of a song.
5. When Lady Gaga displayed punk rage at its finest at Lollapalooza 2010
Lollapalooza clearly seems to be the constant backdrop to angry rockers. Now, one can only guess what might have pissed Lady Gaga off, but we’d like to place our bets on a rather generic pop career that was doing her talent no justice. When Lady Gaga’s favourite punk band Semi Precious Weapons took to the stage at the 2010 edition of Lollapalooza, most were not surprised to see the singer-songstress in attendance. Except what followed was a moment of punk histrionics no one would have predicted.
Lady Gaga did not just make it to the stage in barely there clothing, but the set saw her satisfy her every inner punk craving. At one point, she was everywhere, belting out some serious vocals on the mic, making out with the lead vocalist Justin Tranter, and even banging out her rage on some cymbals. The most epic moment, of course, happened when she decided to take a leap of faith on the crowd and surfed like an absolute pro. She kept at it, returning to the stage, and at one point, taking Justin Tranter for company. And the crowd cheered along happily!
It wasn’t anger as was punk rage as its finest display.