That’s not Foxygen, who this post concerns. That’s a picture of Wilco, of course, or, more specifically, Jeff Tweedy on the right, who last night made a bit of fun of the band Foxygen, who played earlier at Solid Sound. It was a lot of drinking jokes, culminating in dedicating the great Wilco oldie “Passenger Side” to the band. He backtracked, but half-heartedly and sarcastically.
Forgive the alliterative, sensationalistic headline to the post, though. Couldn’t resist.
I can tell you what little I know about the incident, which I’m beginning to suspect is more than anyone else is saying publicly … we were heading back in to the festival about the same time as Neko Case was coming on, still in the Mass MoCA entrance, when we held these people whispering and pointing, “Is that the tambourine player? That’s the tambourine player.” Then we heard loud voices yelling “Out of the way! Out of the way!” and saw some presumably drunk guy being dragged out of the festival, looking like he had no idea where he was. He was barely walking and looked like he was staring into the face of god or something, with wobbly head. Not a big deal – I’ve seen first hand and heard second hand more incidences of wasted folks having to be carried out of the crowd and elsewhere than any Solid Sound previous, actually, and so this guy was just one more to add to the tally.
But then someone we knew pulled us aside, asked did we know what happened with Foxygen, and pointed out that the guy being hauled out was a Foxygen member – presumably the tambourine player. I said no, and was told that the band had gotten wasted on something before hitting the stage and there had been some kind of brawl at some point during the show, but I’m unclear if the audience knew what was going on. It apparently resulted in one of the band members going on top of their stacks and another band member pushing that band member off and causing him to fall, though I’m not clear where he fell or if he was injured.
According to Jeff Tweedy onstage, the band got kicked out of the festival.
No one I asked seemed to know anything about it and there have been only vague mentions of it on Twitter – mostly people confused about Tweedy’s comments. One person did mention attending a “post-arrest” party.
That’s all I know.
As another aside having nothing to do with Foxygen, but still on a similar issue, I’ve been told that the North Adams Regional Hospital had an influx in the emergency room Friday night at least, and there was only one doctor on hand to handle it, so there was apparently a long wait.
My advice is, when the population of a city almost doubles for a weekend, maybe two docs in the ER are in order … maybe?
Anyhow, this is not to overshadow that most of what I have seen and heard, 99.99% of the festival goers, are calm, peaceful, not trouble at all, and for the most people, the festival has been a really wonderful experience. And the majority of bands manage to keep it together, both on stage and off. And it seems like whatever happened, the Solid Sound staff took care of business pretty well.
Update: As far as medical emergencies go, aside from intoxication issues, my current tally is one child with a nose bleed, one person with a cut hand, and one heart attack. Hope all the folks are well now.
Update 2: Here’s a first hand account of the Foxygen incident from someone I was speaking to and is allowing me to share the comments anonymously:
“Lead singer stared climbing the scaffold on stage right during a song, got pretty much all the way to the top. Security guy (blue shirt? volunteer) rushed over from backstage, stage left, and started pulling him down. Singer did not want to come and it got forceful, Security guy got him down, he hit the stage on his feet and the security guy shoved him a bit. He lost his balance and fell on the stage (i think some heated words were exchanged). Song continued. During the next song break the singer claimed it was “stagecraft” all part of the act. I saw at least 4 or 5 other people interacting with the security guy, some acting like WTF did you do! Others acting like “good job”. It was pretty surreal – from where I stood it looked like a combination of over the top rock n roll and someone (security) who was doing the right thing – but was a bit overly aggressive about it.”
Update 3: The drunken tambourine man I saw escorted out by police yesterday appears to be musician Joseph Hein – thanks to head reporter Jennifer Huberdeau for finding out about that. The cops apparently took him in to sober him up. He’s not actually a member of Foxygen, but I guess he has some sort of association with them.
This is Foxygen’s leader singer, Sam France, in the lead-up to the incident with the security guard.
Jennifer found that photo on Instagram and passed it along to me. I have no idea who the original shooter is.
The Albany Times Union describes the incident as it happened on stage briefly, alluding to a larger picture of a band grappling with a member teetering on the edge. Writer Scott Waldman says on the arts blog there: “France climbed the corner of the stage, making it sway, until a security guard ripped him off and they stood nose to nose on stage as the guitars swirled raucously in the background. He wrapped the microphone cord around his neck like a noose and never missed a beat as he sang into it. He flailed and thrashed on his back.”
It’s looking like these were two separate incidents. There’s this tweet indicating that’s the case.
Here is Wilco’s “Passenger Side” for your Sunday morning enjoyment.