A good deal of the concern – lawsuits, even – about safety at concerts is aimed at protecting the audience. In Chicago, the E2 club tragedy ten years ago is STILL a lightning rod for all manner of regulation ostensibly aimed at preventing another stampede of the sort in which 21 people died.
And yet we now have to ask the question if the safety of performers isn’t equally at risk. This video of Jeff Mills performing at Atlantico in Rome went viral over the weekend. It shows a number of projectiles (drinks, you’d have to figure) thrown directly at him – one scoring a direct hit.
(Edit: As mentioned in the comments, the first couple of blurry things darting in the image do look like dancer’s arms or something. Thanks for pointing it out.)
The comments are mostly in Italian, and, unfortunately, quite wrong in their self-flagellation. “Only in a country like Italy could this happen, because the Italian is a jerk,” reads one comment. But it’s not just in Italy.
It’s pathetic that we need a Public Service Announcement featuring Jenna Elfman or someone lecturing people that it’s bad to throw projectile weapons at a DJ’s face, okay?
But I guess this is the reality of clubs with stage show-type “booths”, and new fans for whom an electronic music night is indistinguishable from the kind of imaginary punk rock show that really existed mostly in ’80s teen movies.
In the days when bar bands still existed, travelling musicians often told stories about The Gig From Hell, which usually involved playing in a club so rough they strung chicken wire around the stage. The legend (or not-legend) became so iconic that it made an appearance in a memorable scene in The Blues Brothers. Perhaps that’s where we’re going…