If you've been to a lot of concerts, chances are you've talked smack about an opening act. It's something of a time-honored tradition—we don't really want to see opening bands! They are, after all, just warming us up for the show we paid to see.
Sometimes talking smack on an opening act will get you in trouble, even if you only do it on Twitter. Sometimes, it'll even get you kicked out of the show.
That very thing happened last night to Mike Taylor, who writes for the gaming site Game-Boat.com. Taylor was attending a show by nerdcore rapper Christopher "MC Chris" Ward in Philadelphia last night, when a tweet critical of the opening act got him ejected from the show.
According to an account posted on Kotaku's Talk Amongst Yourselves forum, Taylor was unimpressed with one of the opening acts, Richie Branson. "I felt his lyrics were lame and pandering to us gamers and other assorted nerd fans," Taylor writes. "I also didn't think his delivery was good and his beats were mostly sampled from others songs and music (from games, anime and whatnot. I didn't like any of it."
So, Taylor tweeted the following:
I spoke with MC Chris on the phone, and he explained what happened when he saw the tweet. "I was in my green room checking on my Twitter," he said. "During the show, someone tweeted something negative about Richie. And I don't have a problem with stuff like this. I get made fun of and called all sorts of name every day. But if someone messes with my friend I have this weird reaction that happens, and I do things that probably are kind of not normal, abnormal. I just become extremely protective.
"I marched onstage, and in between songs with Richie, I grabbed the microphone and I said 'Who is this person's name,' he came up, and I said, 'You're going to have to go off with somebody with the venue and tell them to escort you off for talking shit on Twitter.'"
From Taylor's account:
I walked out to the lobby, grabbed a soda and was sitting there when I heard the crowd went nuts and mc chris started talking, and I heard him ask for my real name. My friend and I looked at each other confused and heard him ask for it again. I got up, walked back onto the floor and raised my hand. He then pointed at me and yelled, "Security is going to take you the fuck out now! That's what you get for talking shit on Twitter!"
"People can say whatever they want on Twitter," MC Chris told me. "I'm not naive, I understand what Twitter is. This is an MC Chris show. It's different than other shows. You're not at a Sleigh Bells concert talking about the opening act. You're at my show, where we're all nerds, we've all been bullied, we've all suffered, and now we're together, we're having a good time, and we're not talking trash on each other while we're in the same building together."
Taylor felt differently:
As you could imagine, my combination of humiliation, shock and disappointment wasn't great. I've been a diehard mc chris fan since about 2004, with plenty of fond memories of listening to Life's a Bitch and I'm Her Pimp and Eating's Not Cheating on repeat while commuting back and forth to college. This situation kinda sullies those memories. I realize my tweet is snarky, but I'm a smartass and I can understand a guy being mad and protective of his opener. However, publicly kicking out a long-time paying fan because they tweeted a negative response about the opener of your show? Are you serious? I realize what I said was petty, but how immature is it to publicly humiliate someone for something tweeted to just my hundred (which are mostly bots) or so followers? Am I not allowed to have a negative opinion? Didn't mc chris just post a video on Youtube not long ago criticizing the Avengers movie for screwing up Hawkeye? Should the producers of the movie publicly embarrassed him and Marvel cut off his comic book description? No, they're bigger than that, and he should be too.
In an email to Kotaku, Taylor explained that the venue gave him his money back, and that even after he was escorted out, he asked if he could stay.
"When I was escorted out to the lobby," Taylor said, "no one put their hands on me or anything a security worker politely asked me to come with him and I walked out under my own power, MC Chris's tour manager was waiting for me, as were representatives for Union Transfer, the venue. The tour manager apologized, saying that Chris has thrown out fans from his concerts before for other slights. The tour manager and venue worker asked me to please leave without a fuss. I expressed to them my sadness and disbelief, letting them know I wasn't angry and I wanted to let Chris know I'm a huge fan of his and would like to stick around. They advised me it wouldn't be a good idea, they wouldn't want other fans to point me out or for Chris to see me there. They simply gave me my cash back and I left, promising I held nothing against them."
"Just because it's America doesn't mean anything goes."
MC Chris concurred that this isn't the first time he's kicked fans out of his concerts. "I've had people hold up Nintendo DSs that say 'You Suck' to my openers," he told me. "I kick those people out. Because it's rude. It's not because they have opinions and I'm Hitler and I don't like opinions, it's because they're being rude at a nerd show! You don't go to Comic Con and call everyone a geek and push them down."
I asked him if he sees a difference between behavior that's actually disruptive at a show, like holding up signs or being loud or dunk, and non-disruptive behavior like Twitter criticism.
"Is Twitter different than [a drunk fan]? Yeah, sure. It's something that's passive aggressive, and it's a stealthy attack, and no one knows it's happening. And it can just float on by into the ether and never be noticed again. And it probably should've stayed that way, you know, I definitely know my fiancee would prefer it if I left things alone. You know…[laughs], what can I tell you? I hate passive aggressiveness, I hate people insulting my friends and thinking they can get away with it. This guy insulted my openers and thinks he can go and see Powerglove and MC Chris afterwards. That's not how it works. You have to be polite for the people who are performing for you. It doesn't sound crazy to me when I say it out loud. "
Taylor urges caution to those who would attend MC Chris shows in the future. "I feel gamers and other fans have a right to know that if they go to an MC Chris show, make sure to keep your opinions to yourself, you might find yourself kicked out for not praising him or his crew."
For MC Chris' part, he says he's not going to react to further online criticism. "I'm gonna give my phone to my fiancee for the rest of the day and I'm not allowed to tweet anymore. It'll definitely happen again tonight, and I'm not going to react to it. I want to say to everyone: you can say whatever you want at a show. You can do whatever you like. I'm probably not going to react every time."
However, he still urges that his fans be mindful about what they say—and tweet. "Just because it's America doesn't mean anything goes. And just because we have technology doesn't mean we can say whatever we want."