6 ways to catch an onstage beat down from your favorite artist
In every large concert crowd there’s at least one one fan who is dead set on customizing his or her concert experience by testing an artists’ patience and maybe his right jab. Even in today’s world of social media and Internet streams that allow us to view concerts from afar, watching an artist dole out a bruising 15 minutes of fame to a belligerent heckler or overzealous fan elicits a certain amount of real-time excitement you can’t get from a computer screen. (Warning: Video links below contain violence and/or explicit language.)
Fans of A$AP Rocky got a taste of that this past weekend at SXSW, when an all-out brawl ensued at the Vice Kills Texas party on Sunday, where the Harlem rapper and his onstage entourage reacted with their fists after audience members chucked cans of beer at them. Check out the video here. According to reports from the festival, it all started when a member of Rocky’s crew allegedly had his do-rag swiped by an audience member 15 minutes into their super-late-night set. Rocky made some efforts to peacefully defuse the situation, but soon after, a rogue audience member decided to get some extra attention from the bristling posse by throwing beer at them. As video of the incident indicates, Rocky and company gave the audience member exactly what he wanted, at the expense of shutting down the show early.
Of course there are myriad ways to earn a beat down from your favorite artist that plenty of music-loving masochists might want to take note of. Here are a few off the top of our heads.
1) Standing in the wrong place at the wrong time:
First off, if you’re going stand in the front row at a concert, you have to know there are certain risk factors involved. One of them just might be a flying mike stand. In 2009, Beyoncé Knowles’ little sister, Solange, taught that lesson to an unlucky fan the hard way after she threw the equivalent of a weighted javelin just a little too hard at the end of one of her shows. To her credit, the apology she gave the fan after she ran off stage seemed 100% sincere, didn’t it?
2) Rushing the stage during a gangsta rap show:
While watching your favorite gangsta rapper perform live, you may inevitably fantasize about joining the artist onstage and spitting a few verses with them like real pals. As fun as that sounds, attempting to do so without the proper backstage credentials will most definitely lead to a beat down. One Snoop Dogg fan learned this when he tried to throw his arm over the Doggfather's shoulder during a show, resulting in a hail of giants in fresh, white T-shirts raining hellfire upon him.
3) Holding a star’s hand a little too long:
There’s a point during any physical sign of fan/artist appreciation where you either let go or face getting your butt kicked. In the case of one fan at a Tim McGraw show, the butt-kicking ended up being more of a wedgie than anything else. Contrary to popular lore, this time the guy in the white hat was actually the bad guy. But props to McGraw for having not only the strength to lift such a large nuisance out of the crowd but the presence of mind to allow security to handle the rest of the strong-arming.
4) Bringing slaps to a punch fight
Even though punk rockers are known for being pretty annoyed with one thing or another, their threshold of tolerance toward heckling fans in a mosh pit is pretty high. Just know that if you’re going to challenge a guy like Henry Rollins from Black Flag to a become an unwilling participant in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Rollins will always choose “Rock.”
5) Throwing cash at someone who obviously makes more dough than you:
If there's one thing to glean from Pitbull's rhymes and his love of three-piece suits, it's that the man's got money. He doesn't need any extra from you. And like most rappers, he doesn't really enjoy it being thrown at him like a featured dancer at a strip club. In 2009, an audience member with money to blow broke barriers in the Hecklers Hall of Fame by literally paying to get punched in the face by Mr. 305 himself.
6) Underestimating an artist's knowledge of WWF takedowns:
If you’re really adamant about making your concert-going experience the most memorable it can be, getting body-slammed onstage is probably the best way to go. Not only will you be immortalized in endless YouTube clips, but if you're anything like one particular Akon fan during a show in 2007, you’ll probably end up getting on the news, engendering sympathy and even an apology from the artist after they’re only forced to pay a small fine for rearranging your organs. See? Everybody wins.
— Nate Jackson
Photo: A$AP Rocky. Credit: Brock Fetch