The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra: 1st September, 2011
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has been dogged by controversy over the last few years because of its close association with Brand Israel, the initiative set up by the Israeli government, which is seen by many as a form of cultural propaganda. This controversy gained widespread media coverage when the orchestra appeared at the BBC Proms last summer. Aside from the demonstrations outside the Royal Albert Hall, groups of protesters continuously interrupted the concert itself by booing, waving banners and singing and shouting pro-Palestinian chants.
This was by no means the first time the Israel Philharmonic had had a concert disrupted. In our case though, the orchestra continued to play, ignoring the disruptions. The BBC, however, showed far less resolve and stopped the live broadcast of the concert. It was a victory for the anti-Israel protesters – politics had won out over music.
Panic! At The Disco: Reading 2006
Way back in the summer of 2006, I got my GCSE results and immediately headed off to Reading festival to properly celebrate never having to do maths again. You probably remember Panic! At The Disco, if only because they were perhaps the only band ever to use punctuation to generate a reaction. They were everywhere in 2006, with ‘I Write Sins, Not Tragedies’ riding high on the emo-pop wave. There was a certain anti-emo atmosphere at the time (“I wish my lawn was emo so it would cut itself” etc…) and before they even came onstage, missiles were being thrown. They managed to play perhaps two notes of their first song, when frontman Brendan Urie was hit in the eye with what turned out to be a golf ball. He went down immediately and appeared to be unconscious. After he came round, they finished their set with only slightly more flinching and to an extent, I think he won the crowd over by ignoring the issue. They certainly fared better than My Chemical Romance, who, later that same weekend, responded to their bottling by yelling, “Your hate only makes us stronger!” Somewhat of a stand-up-to-the-bullies response in line with parental recommendations, but not terribly effective when you’re being accused of being too emo.
Having played the guitar for a gigging band not too long ago, I can safely say that getting up on stage is one of the most exhilarating and exciting thrills around. I’m sure the vast majority of performing musicians would agree with this statement. However, does this experience take a knock when a band is faced with bottles being launched at them? This is something American metallers Trivium had to deal with in early 2008, when supporting the famous Iron maiden at London’s Earls Court. It makes you wonder – who would fill a bottle up with urine and then throw it at a band they paid to see? Trivium’s vocalist Matt Heafy certainly did not see the funny side, shouting something to the effect of, “if you do that, you’ll be thrown outside and beaten up”. Regardless of whether the beating happened, kicking out the culprit from the venue seemed symbolic of removing such repulsive behaviour from the music scene altogether.
Plain White Ts: Reading 2008
Sometimes a band can simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was Sunday at Reading Festival 2008, famously the heavy day, and the third act in the lineup was Plain White Ts. They were a popular, softer band with a hit ‘Hey There Delilah’. Unfortunately for them, it had just been announced that Slipknot had to pull out due to drummer Joey Jordison breaking his ankle during a show. Putting it lightly, the crowd was not happy. The poor Plain White Ts ploughed on as they were booed, yelled at and thoroughly bottled during the entire forty minute set by angry metal fans taking out their annoyance on an innocent pop rock band. Understandably, the band has not been to Reading since. It is just the misfortune of being the odd one out in a heavy lineup when Slipknot’s aggressive performances get the better of them.