You may have noticed that about the only metal news we focus on here concerns new songs, forthcoming album details, and tours. Even then, we make no effort to be comprehensive. If you want to find a place that relentlessly copy/pastes press releases, talks about the latest bass player to quit his band, or gossips about the metal scandal of the day, this ain’t it. However, I’ve been peppered with reader messages about the two “scandals” in this post, so I’m relenting.
I would enthusiastically fork over money to see the current Deceiver of the Gods Tour with Amon Amarth/Enslaved/Skeletonwitch if it came within spitting distance of Seattle. But it isn’t, so I won’t. However, I can easily imagine the magnitude of my hot smoking rage if I had paid to see this tour In Charlotte, NC, on January 29. The event was to have occurred at a place called The Fillmore, but the venue cancelled the show 6 hours before doors.
Why did they cancel it? Well duh, because of the polar vortex gripping Charlotte — as evidenced by the above photo taken by Johan Hegg from the window of Amon Amarth’s tour bus. Here’s the statement that appeared on The Fillmore’s FB page:
“Due to inclement weather, local road conditions and the current State Of Emergency in NC the Amon Amarth show scheduled for tonight at The Fillmore Charlotte has been CANCELLED. All online and phone orders will be refunded. Other tickets may be refunded at their place of purchase. We’re sorry for any inconvenience. Stay safe NC.”
Speaking of hot smoking rage, if you’d like to get a full load of it, you can peruse the 200+ comments on that post at The Fillmore’s FB page, or more at Reddit. Here’s one of several e-mails I received about this outrage (from Matt C):
“All the bands were there ready to play, there was no snow, no rain, no ice, and the fillmore didn’t even announce the cancellation on their website. I even called them before i started travelling to the show and the venues automated phone schedule said it was still on. I got an email from the ticket vendor a few hours before the show, but had already traveled two and a half hours and got a hotel room for the show.”
Amon Amarth weren’t too happy either. Here’s a post that appeared on drummer Fredrik Andersson’s Instagram account along with the photo above:
“Trying to make a shit day more fun. This is the third time we’ve had a show cancelled since 1999, and it sucks equally much everytime.”
There are usually two sides to every story. The day before this show was to happen, government officials across the South, from parts of Texas to Virginia, were warning residents to stay off the roads and remain inside because of forecasts of freezing rain and snow (see this article, for example). And on January 29, an extremely severe winter storm did indeed strike the region, leading to more than 3,000 flight cancellations and all sorts of other havoc (as reported here).
I haven’t seen any statements by The Fillmore about the cancellation other than the notice quoted earlier, but I’m guessing they didn’t want to be responsible (and maybe legally liable) for people getting caught in dangerous road conditions on the way to the venue if the storm had indeed blasted Charlotte at show time. That obviously didn’t happen, and so they got showered with steaming shit instead of freezing rain.
Maybe they should have waited longer before pulling the plug, to get better odds on whether the storm would in fact hit Charlotte. On the other hand, I suppose they would say that if they had waited, it would have risked enraging fans even more by canceling at the last minute. On the third hand, Matt C. also told me that there was a circus in Charlotte that same night and it went off without a hitch — no cancellations and a full crowd.
THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
I know about as much about pop culture as I do about hydrangeas. I do know who Bruno Mars is, because I saw him perform on Saturday Night Live one time — but that’s the extent of my knowledge. However, I have to say that I enjoyed watching him do a credible James Brown imitation at the Super Bowl halftime show last Sunday. What I enjoyed even more was seeing The Red Hot Chili Peppers take the stage with Mars and launch into “Give It Away” from Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
Man, that was a real nostalgia trip for me, and on top of that, I thought RHCP and the Bruno Mars crew rocked it pretty hard (though I admit I was already feeling pretty giddy about the ass-whipping that my Seahawks were putting on the hapless Broncos by that point). I was having so much fun watching that I didn’t notice Flea’s bass wasn’t plugged into anything that would transmit sound. Of course, it didn’t take long for the internet to fill up with photos proving that RHCP were in fact miming the instrumental parts over a pre-recorded track. This, of course, led to a steaming deluge of shit raining down upon RHCP.
But let us not forget that adage about two sides to every story. Last night our brother Leperkahn sent me a link to an official statement from Flea about this incident on the band’s web site. He explained that when the NFL and Bruno Mars invited RHCP to perform, “it was made clear to us that the vocals would be live, but the bass, drums, and guitar would be pre-recorded.” He continued:
“I understand the NFL’s stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the t.v. viewers. There was not any room for argument on this, the NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period.”
Flea went on to explain that RHCP then had to make a decision: comply with the NFL’s requirements or skip the halftime show of what turned out to be the most-watched television event in US history. After explaining that RHCP’s long-time stance has been to refuse “miming” under virtually any circumstances, he summarized the band’s reasoning in this instance, as follows:
“So, when this Super Bowl gig concept came up, there was a lot of confusion amongst us as whether or not we should do it, but we eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it. We had given this a lot of thought before agreeing to do it, and besides many a long conversation amongst ourselves, I spoke with many musician friends for whom I have the utmost respect, and they all said they would do it if asked, that it was a wild trippy thing to do, what the hell. Plus, we the RHCP all love football too and that played a big part in our decision. We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig. I met and spoke with Bruno, who was a beautiful dude, a real talented musician, and we worked out something that seemed like it would be fun.
“We recorded a track for the day, just banged one out from our hearts that was very like in spirit to the versions we have been playing live the last few years with our beloved Josh on guitar.
“For the actual performance, Josh, Chad, and I were playing along with the pre recorded track so there was no need to plug in our guitars, so we did not. Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people out who have expressed disappointment that the instrumental track was pre recorded? Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance. It was like making a music video in front of a gazillion people, except with live vocals, and only one chance to rock it. Our only thought was to bring the spirit of who we are to the people.
“I am grateful to the NFL for having us. And I am grateful to Bruno, who is a super talented young man for inviting us to be a part of his gig. I would do it all the same way again.”
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time quarreling with the band’s decision or the reasons for it. As always, your thoughts about any of the stuff in this post are welcome.
I understand rhcp’s statement, but I generally lose most of my respect for an artist if they’re faking on stage, whether they’d be kvlt black metal or pop stars. You’re a musician; cheating in stage is like a politician accepting money from corporations: it’s very wrong.
I disagree with the RHCP choice and it does make me think less of them as a musical act. The job should be to play music, not mime it and no amount of money should create a separation between actually performing something live and just dancing around to a pre-recorded track. To me it’s just wrong and the ultimate form of selling out. If a band is just miming like that then you might as well replace them with a can-can line for all the good it’ll do.
Just my thoughts.
Actually, it surprised me to learn that neither Bruno Mars nor the Chili Peppers were paid anything for performing at halftime (though of course the exposure can lead to money in other ways):
That’s interesting, I didn’t know that but it does kinda make sense. The fame/prestige is the payment in this case. It still doesn’t change my thoughts on the scenario though. It’s not even like they were a band that needed the press either, everyone already knows who they are. In some ways it would have been better publicity for them to turn the offer down if they couldn’t play a live show.
I find I can’t form a solid opinion on the RHCP thing. I can see the validity behind both arguments… -shrug-
Cancelling the Amon Amarth show was fucking stupid, though.
based only on what i’ve read here it seems like maybe the club should have gone ahead with the show and just made plans/announcements to cut the performance short if the weather took an ugly turn. i get the whole liability thing, but at the same time people should be able to decide for themselves if it would be unsafe to venture out in bad weather.
all that said, if the show had gone on, and if a massive winter storm had set in and resulted in accidents/injuries, you can be sure at least one lawsuit would have come out of it. because that’s the stupid world we live in.
Three years ago, I went to see Finntroll in Detroit in the middle of what ended up being a horrible snow storm. You know what the venue did? They put the fucking show on. And you know what happened when the snow kept happening? They offered to keep the club open so we could “party all night.”
Whether that was a serious offer or not can be debated, but the point is venues book the shows and unless there’s a really, really pressing reason to cancel them, they need to follow through with their promises. I can guarantee you that venue lost hella patrons because of this incident. Even people who weren’t going to that show. I know I’d never give them my money again.
*Not legal advice*
I can’t think of any claim anyone could have against the club in this situation, with the only exception being the possibility that they serve someone too much alcohol and they get lost and freeze to death. But when you serve alcohol, you’re always running the risk that your staff will serve someone too much alcohol and they’ll get hurt. I don’t see how cold weather appreciably increases that risk. You just make sure the staff is aware of the danger.
Does it strike anyone else as absurd that they canceled a show for a bunch of fucking VIKING WARRIORS because it was a little too chilly?
“Does it strike anyone else as absurd that they canceled a show for a bunch of fucking VIKING WARRIORS because it was a little too chilly?” ME!!!! That ridiculous irony is part of what makes this episode so attention-grabbing.
Maybe I’m just too logical but I don’t see how it makes sense for a band like RHCP to plug in for what equated to 2 minutes of screen time. I’m more annoyed that the halftime show was sold as if it was a co headline thing with Bruno Mars instead of just a cameo spot. And then they ‘play’ one of my least favorite of the popular Chili Peppers songs.
Come to think of it, that sound was too good to be a live performance. I wasn’t watching all that closely by that point.
A video came floating around in the last few days of Iron Maiden playing some German TV show back in the 80’s, and they were forced to mime it on stage. Except, they did the only sensible thing a respectable band would do: They turned it into a giant joke and made it obvious that they were playing to a pre-recorded track, trading instruments mid-song so it didn’t even look like anyone was playing an instrument. RHCP should have done the same. I haven’t cared about the band in years, and this is one more reason not to.
That’s why Iron Maiden rules, and RHCP do not.
That statement by Flea told a similar story about RHCP being forced to mime back in the 80s and they did things like play their instruments with shoes, to make the point. But they were young and rebellious back then.
To me, it was obvious, that RHCP didn´t play live.
I always think, that as a band you miss the chance of doing something “surprising” (Metallica playing “So What?” at the MTV Awards anyone …?). 😉
Things on TV become a whole lot less obvious when you’re trying to feed two two-year-olds and you’re 30 feet away from the TV.
As I mentioned, I wasn’t watching that closely during half-time. Was Bruno Mars even playing the drums? My wife commented that he was actually a pretty good drummer, for someone who’s not a drummer. I told her no drummer is talented unless he can play extreme metal.
According to this, his drum solo was live — the only instrumental performance by either band that was. I would think it’s nearly impossible to mime a drum solo without making it obvious that the sound is pre-recorded.
Even San Diego might’ve put on the Amon Amarth show in those conditions. And we shut down at the first drop of rain.