Headbangers’ Brawl is a weekly column where Metal Insider’s contributors take a moment to debate and analyze two opposing sides of a topical issue occurring in the world of metal and/or the music industry.
It’s funny that this column is called Headbangers Brawl, because we thought it might be worth addressing something that’s been in the metal news lately: venue security. Of course Randy Blythe is still in jail as a result of events related to a 2010 concert. Meanwhile, many are questioning how Harley Flanagan could have gotten into the CBGB Fest, apparently with a hunting knife. So the question we’re asking, essentially is “does concert security need to be changed?”
Bram: My quick answer is no. These two events took place two years apart, and have completely different circumstances. I’m not sure what concert security is like in Prague, so I’m no expert as to whether you’re liable for your injuries at a concert if you jump up on stage. And whether or not Daniel N. was that kid in the video, you can still see a security guard assault someone. Again, I don’t know what the protocol is in a foreign country. Webster Hall is it’s own animal. It’s generally a dance club, and I’m pretty sure the security wasn’t expecting anything like that to happen. If, as a source claimed to us, they were warned to keep Flanagan out, then yes, they might be negligent, but I don’t know that in and of itself, that’s enough to say that security needs to be overhauled on a large scale.
Since Dimebag’s death, many took a long hard look at security, but I don’t know if there was an official consensus on what to do in the wake of it. I’ll say this: I was at the Scream It Like You Mean It tour last week in Sayreville (no, I don’t know why either), and the security there was great. They actually seemed somewhat into the music, and were professional and respectful to the stage divers. I think there’s more of that happening than anything like those two unfortunate incidents.
Zach: I have conflicted feelings on the subject of “concert security.” On the one hand, the CBGB Fest incident and Blythe’s current predicament makes me think that something needs to change or improve in regards to security (the same mentality I had shortly following Dimebag’s death). However, it’s also hard to say that the “system” is broken after two specific incidents when there are a crap load of concerts likely happening as I type this going on without any problems. So while I will always believe that safety is of the utmost importance at concerts (especially metal shows), I’d also argue that there’s only so much you can do to maintain said safety. It all depends on a) the individual security personnel, and b) the individual concert goer (and as seen recently, a little responsibility from the performer themselves is required). And unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to control specific individuals and their behaviors.
Bram: Agreed. It’s really a case by case basis. As long as security are properly trained, there’s not that much to worry about. There will definitely be incidents like the two above, but them (and Dimebag of course) are anomalies. It really speaks more to the venue and training.