Northern Ireland Music's Top 5 Onstage Controversies
Courtney Love, the slightly unpredictable and occasionally unreasonable (I'm being polite) lead singer of Hole has been all over the music press again this week following an onstage meltdown of epic proportions in Brazil. Provoked by a member of the crowd bringing a poster of Kurt Cobain to the gig, Courtney went off on quite the rant, threatening the audience and having a go at Dave Grohl before eventually storming off.
An unpleasant incident to read about but one that's inspired this, Northern Ireland music's top 5 onstage controversies….
5. Roysta, various, 2002-present
A one man Rubber Bandits, Roysta's first gig involved 'offensive' costumes and a lot of nudity, setting the benchmark for shows of unparalleled obscenity. Totally uncompromising, anyone and anything is a target. What makes it even more bizarres is the fact offstage and out of character he's an utter gent.
4.Niall Kennedy, Panama Kings, Limelight 2010.
Niall's a good lad who gets a bad rap, occasionally finding himself in bother with promoters and security over the daftest things. Playing with Panama Kings at the Belfast 4 Haiti benefit last year, he paid tribute to the bouncers at The Limelight, thanking them for allowing him to perform despite the fact he'd recently been barred. The bouncers, who hadn't realised he was there in the first place assumed his (genuine) charm was infact misplaced cockiness and gathered at the stage, patiently waiting for the band to finish their set (it was a benefit after all) so they could escort Niall from the venue once again.
3. Foy Vance, Glasgowbury 2011.
Just like the rest of us, Foy Vance had a whale of a time at Glasgowbury 2011. But unlike the rest of us, Foy was one of the headliners, booked to play at around 11pm. He'd already been onstage for a good ten minutes when ATL arrived, sheepishly attempting to get his guitar and pedal board to work.
Frustrated, he's a little short with the sound man and questions why he's unable to get some volume from the guitar, surely the most simple of tasks. As we patiently chat among ourselves, Foy explains he's in double figures when it comes to cans of beer. We can tell. As his irritation continues with the poor guy at the sound desk, Foy discovers something. The ON button. As guitar strumming suddenly fills the speakers, he does one of the finest face-palms we've ever seen, refusing to start the set until the sound man accepts his grovelling apology. To be fair to Foy, despite the most unprofessional start to a gig we'd ever seen, his performance is almost suspiciously brilliant.
2. Desert Hearts, Morrisons, circa 2001
When it comes to bizarre behaviour onstage, Desert Hearts peaked way too early. At their first show, the band turned up late, set up a drum-kit and some chairs, hit play on a mini-disk and proceeded to play a game of cards among themselves. Lead singer Charlie would contribute a little, but this show was mostly us watching a band enjoy a few rounds of (we assume) poker. Or maybe snap. Or that one where you've to get rid of all your cards. 'Jack Change It' I think it's called? By the way, the music we heard was still amazing.
1. Snow Patrol, Morrisons, circa 2000
Despite a gem of a debut album, few cared about Snow Patrol in 1999. A handful of people paid in (I'd know, I was doing the door) - just enough to half full this tiny, city centre venue. Back then, Gary Lightbody had a bit of form when it came to onstage mini-meltdowns, often going off on rambling rants about members of the audience and/or ex-girlfriends. But tonight, his victim was his own guitar, which ends up part of the wall during an utterly captivating rendition of 'Get Balsamic Vinegar…Quick You Fool'.
While this is happening, a certain 5Live and MOTD presenter is relieving his stomach of it's contents, making sure no one will ever want to touch those bass bins ever agin. In the cold light of day a very broke Snow Patrol were now a guitar down (having most likely lost the deposit on the hiring of the aforementioned bass bin), but at the time it was one of the most glorious moments in the bands early history.