Unless we factor the incredibly lucky into the equation, there’s a problem that punters have faced at least once in their gig-or-club-going lives: the spectre of brutish, violent and overly aggressive security. Let’s not pretend this is the norm by any means – most security staff are hard-working and professional – but most music fans will be able to recount one or two experiences in which their supposed ‘protectors’ acted as anything but. Sure, a lot of those people will hold their hands up and admit they were breaking the rules of the venue in question – too drunk, maybe, and causing a scene – but even then brute violent force is often deployed when a firm guiding hand to the exit doors will do.
Why are we bringing this subject up? We’ve been looking at several reports of Morrissey’s decision to finish a gig early last week due to the behavior of ‘macho’ security guards. This also happened back in December of last year, when the melancholy Mancunian walked off stage in protest of security guards ‘assaulting’ fans.
Animosity between security and the onstage act is not a new phenomenon. Obviously there are unparalleled cases like the Rolling Stones’ foolish decision to employ Hells Angels at Altamont – events so beyond the norm as not to factor in a general overview. But fistfights and other fun frolics – they’re an occasional hazard. Remember this from Kurt Cobain?
Or this from 30 Seconds To Mars?
Or this from Guns N Roses (three minutes in)?
All of these share a common factor: security seem to hugely over-react to a fan or fans who are getting perhaps a little carried away – but aren’t causing anyone any harm. The question is: while annoying, isn’t this just an inevitable part of the gig-going process?
Most of the time security are on the lookout for genuine threats to both the performer and the crowd. The odd mistake may take place, and an innocent person might fall fowl of their ire – but is this just a price that has to be paid? From a detached point of view, it’s easy to say yes – but the poor fan on the receiving end of such an incident would probably say otherwise. It’s certainly a contentious issue. What do you guys think? What are your experiences?