Neck Deep had to cancel their Rock City gig last night after an altercation with the security staff.
Supporting acts ‘WÖES’, ‘Real Friends’ and ‘As It Is’ got the sold-out crowd ready for a stellar set from the Welsh pop-punkers, which was unfortunately cancelled towards the end of their second song, Lime St.
The show was part of their European tour in support of their recently-released third full length, ‘The Peace and the Panic.’ You can check out Impact’s review of that record here.
However, the band managed to play only one song from that album, the explosive single ‘Happy Judgement Day,’ before walking off the stage and calling it quits.
Preliminary reports were contradictory and confused, but it seems that the band had a disagreement with the venue’s security staff. The hired security had been seen apparently manhandling crowd surfers in a rather aggressive way.
In a statement which has since been released, Neck Deep stated that “no-one in a show should EVER be in fear of harm or injury – be that fans, crew, venue staff, security or the band.” The statement also promised that the band are working on a rescheduled tour date.
DHP Family, who own Rock City, also released a statement, arguing that “it doesn’t appear that the security staff were disproportionate in their response to crowd surfing.” However, footage has emerged of security grabbing bassist Fil Thorpe-Evans for attempting to intervene with security, which prompted the band to storm off stage.
— chloemills (@lil__chlo) October 9, 2017
During the following confused silence, fans sung Neck Deep gig staples ‘A Part of Me’ and ‘December’ in a moment of solidarity, but this was not enough to convince the band to carry on.
One opportunistic stage invader then decided to climb the stage and grasp the mic, before being put in a headlock by security.
— spooky barrymore (@charlharrison_) October 9, 2017
Shortly after, lead singer Ben Barlow took to the stage to explain how “security fucked it. There was a fight. Show’s over”, before dropping the mic and storming off stage. Barlow reportedly met fans after the gig to apologise to them for the show’s cancellation.
Rock City has a strict stance on crowd surfing, with posters condemning the practice hung up around the stage during the show. Bouncers routinely lead crowdsurfers to the front of the stage where there is a little gangway, but the band seem to have intervened due to bouncers becoming particularly heavy-handed. In the statement, the band admitted that “everything that went down could and should have been handled better by all parties” – the band’s interjection with the bouncers could indeed have been easily construed as violence from a security point of view.
The reason why certain venues maintain a ban on crowdsurfing, especially at comparatively small venues such as Rock City (I spent the whole night crushed against a pillar) is simple: it can put the crowdsurfers themselves, as well as others, at risk. However, if security is employed for the apparent safety of customers (as DHP Family claim in their statement), there cannot be an excuse to drag fans to the ground or get them in headlocks in an attempt to restrain them. Although some people have taken to Twitter to say that crowdsurfing is inevitable at a pop-punk gig, the band should have been made aware of the venue’s stance on the matter.
Thankfully, there have been no serious injuries, the tour will continue as planned, with a rescheduled Nottingham date in the pipeline. Although there will always be the argument that bands should not intervene with security, there is no excuse for security to roughhouse the fans and act violently toward the band – although the band themselves should have opened up a conversation with security before getting physically involved.
Video courtesy of Matteo Everett