Jimi Hendrix sets his guitar on fire

In a legendary show at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, Jimi Hendrix doused his restrung Fender Strat with lighter fluid, set it alight and then proceeded to smash it to pieces across the stage. Unsurprisingly, Hendrix suffered burns to his hands and sadly, his Fender Strat would never play a note again.

Ozzy bites the head off a bat

During a concert in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1982, Ozzy Osbourne infamously bit the head off a bat thrown on stage by a fan. Thinking it was a rubber prop, he was shocked to discover it was a very real (and already dead) bat. The incident made headlines worldwide, and it was later revealed that Ozzy was treated for rabies exposure.

R&B star Miguel dropkicks fans at the Billboard Music Awards

During the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, R&B artist Miguel attempted an ambitious jump over fans during his performance. However, he ended up leg-dropping fans Cindy Tsai and Khyati Shah, all caught on camera. While online reactions ranged from laughter to criticism, Tsai later sued Miguel, using the video evidence to support her case, resulting in legal repercussions for the singer.

The Rolling Stones unleash a giant inflatable member on stage

During their 1975 Tour of Americas, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones occasionally featured a rather risqué inflatable on stage. Resembling a waving inflatable arm man, it humorously earned the nickname Tired Grandfather, as it struggled to stay inflated. As Jagger playfully interacted with it, the prop became an instant fan favorite. Sadly, it remained exclusive to that particular tour.

Green Day insult, then have a mud fight with the Woodstock ’94 crowd

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Taking to the Woodstock ’94 stage after days of torrential rain, Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong immediately began to insult the audience before the band had even played their first song. When bassist Mike Dirnt followed up with ”I hope it rains so much, you all get stuck”, the mud started flying. The set ended with a destroyed, mud filled stage and bassist Dirnt requiring dental work for a broken tooth.

GG Allin destroys the stage until the cops show up

GG Allin is notorious in rock history, recognized more for his shocking stage behavior than his music. He was infamous for defecating and urinating on stage, using the microphone ‘inappropriately’, and causing extensive damage to equipment and stages. His sets were often halted by police or venue staff to prevent further mayhem, adding to his controversial legacy.

The Who’s Keith Moon blows up his own drum kit

The Who drummer Keith Moon thought it would be a good idea to have an exploding drumkit. During the Smothers Brothers taping in 1967, Moon went overboard with his preparations with an excessive amount of explosive material. When the effect was triggered, it singed Pete Townshend’s hair and sent shrapnel into Moon’s own arm.

Lady Gaga has ‘vomit artist’ barf on her during a performance

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During a performance at a SXSW concert in 2014, Gaga sang the song Swine, living up to its name by having vomit artist Millie Brown throw up something green and unpleasant on her. The vomit in question was green dyed oat milk that Brown had consumed just before the show. This shocking act was all in the name of art.

Red Hot Chili Peppers would perform entirely naked

Forget elaborate outfits and sequin adorned attire, when it comes to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for them, less is more. During their early shows at the Kit Kat Club in Hollywood, California, shortly after forming in 1983, the Chilis daringly performed wearing only socks to cover their manhoods.

Alice Cooper performs alongside gruesome dolls

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In the 70s and 80s, Alice Cooper fully embraced shock rock, incorporating macabre theatrics into his performances. One of his infamous acts involved routinely performing with baby dolls gruesomely impaled on gleaming swords, adding a haunting and unforgettable element to his dark and theatrical shows.

Miley Cyrus allows fans to grope her

Miley Cyrus loves a cozy night in these days, but back in 2014, she was going hell for leather on the corrupted Disney star scene. At a concert around that time, the Wrecking Ball singer was filmed thrusting her hips forward into a crowd, allowing them to touch her private parts.

Sophia Urista urinates on a fan

Sophia Urista gained notoriety for peeing on a fan during a live show. The Brass Against lead singer eventually expressed regret for their behavior, stressing that she was “not a shock artist”. Brass Against has suffered as a whole for Urista’s actions though they’ve never allowed the same mistake to happen again.

Jim Morrison exposes himself

One of the first-ever stage controversies was when Jim Morrison was accused of exposing himself in front of a shocked audience in Florida in March 1969. In September 1970, Morrison was arrested in relation to the incident. He eventually turned down a plea deal and was sentenced to prison and a fine for indecent exposure and open profanity.

Donita Sparks throws a tampon at the crowd

The all-female L7 received some stick when they first hit the grunge scene. At the 1992 Reading Festival, the crowd began slinging mud at the band, interrupting their songs and frustrating the group. One of the singers, Donita Sparks, reached into her pants, retrieved a bloody souvenir and launched it at the unruly mob.

P***y Riot perform in Moscow Cathedral

There aren’t a lot of real-life risks left in the music industry, which is what makes P***y Riot so special. When they performed A Punk Prayer at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, they knew it could affect them for the rest of their lives. Shut down by security, the collective was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison.

Axl Rose storms off after failing to confiscate a camera

In the middle of a concert, Axl Rose noticed someone with a camera and ordered security to take it away. When the response was slack, the Guns N’ Roses frontman took it upon himself to grab the camera with his own hands. After failing to do so, Rose told the crowd he was going home, threw his mic and stormed off.

Noel Gallagher almost breaks his neck

Before they were fighting each other, the Gallagher brothers were having to defend themselves from members of the public. In September 2008, while performing at Canada’s V Festival, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher was barged into by a crazed stage invader, sending him crashing to the ground. The lads finished the show after a short break.

Akon picks up and then throws a fan off stage

In one of the strangest and craziest onstage gaffes, rapper Akon once decided to pick up a 15-year-old fan and then throw him back into the crowd. The clip shows that Akon clearly believed the fan had thrown something at him and was seeking revenge. He was eventually charged for his actions.

Matt Healy eats a slab of raw meat

Matt Healy isn’t quite there, but at least he’s trying. As the frontman of The 1975, him and his band have been getting more and more avant-garde over the years, and Healy eating a raw slab of steak is proof of that. In the clip, Healy can be seen topless, on his knees, gnawing at a huge chunk of raw meat as fans watch on in shock. We bet it didn’t smell like chocolate.

Iggy Pop cuts an X into his bare chest

Back in Iggy Pop’s early days, when a whole manner of substances were rife, his performances were often highly controversial. During a 1974 concert in LA, Iggy hurled abuse at a crowd member and goaded him to stab him with a steak knife. After the crowd member refused, Iggy then carved an X into his chest.

Chris Brown throws a fan’s phone into the crowd

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Famous embodiment of rationality Chris Brown wasn’t best pleased when a fan he invited on stage took more interest in recording the moment than living in it. After asking her to put it down and failing, Brown then snatches the phone from her hand and hurls it into the crowd.

Madonna undresses a fan

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Pop’s greatest provocateur, Madonna, was performing in Brisbane back in 2016 when she pulled down the top of a female fan. “She’s the kind of girl that you just want to slap on the a** and pull…” she said, as she yanked down the fan’s corset top. Complaints were many and various about this inappropriate display.

Tupac returns… as a hologram

Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg’s appearance at Coachella in 2012 was special enough as it was, but the surprise cameo of a digitized Tupac Shakur took it to that next level. Not everyone was taken with the hologram, however, with some slating it as tacky and disrespectful to Tupac’s legacy. All that’s for sure is that it was weird.

Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson tear up Book of Mormon

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Nine Inch Nails’ frontman is no stranger to on-stage rage. When the Delta Center in Utah said Reznor’s support act Marilyn Manson wasn’t allowed to appear, Reznor invited him on stage anyway, where the two lambasted the Mormon Church (Salt Lake City was Mormon-heavy) before bringing out a copy of The Book of Mormon and ripping it up, tossing the pulp into the crowd.

The KLF fire a fake gun at the audience

The KLF, or The Timelords, or The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, gained notoriety for sampling records without clearances and scoring a chart-topper with a “Doctor Who” dance remix. In 1992, they appeared at the Brit Awards, revealing a machine during their performance, from which they fired blanks into the audience.

Jarvis Cocker crashes Michael Jackson’s set

When Michael Jackson took the stage to perform a not-so-subtle performance of Earth Song at the 1996 Brit Awards, sparks flew. That kind of megalomaniacal self-indulgence didn’t go down well with the boozed-up crowd. Jarvis Cocker, of the band Pulp, decided to crash the stage and “moon” the crowd. He was promptly arrested.

Dave Grohl kicks a fan out for fighting

Dave Grohl doesn’t abide bad vibes, especially at his concerts. Back at a London show in 2011, the Foo Fighters frontman broke up a scuffle in the audience by calling it himself. “You don’t come to my show and fight,” Grohl raged. “You come to my show and dance!” It was an uncharacteristic moment for rock’s nicest guy.

Biggie throws a bottle of water at his DJ

The Notorious B.I.G. was synonymous with composure and cool, so to see him angry and flustered is quite surreal. Clearly not happy with the work of his DJ Big Kap at a Summer Jam concert, the Juicy rapper can be seen moaning and swearing before throwing his water bottle at him. Unfortunately for Biggie, it was not all a dream.

Bono mistakes a San Francisco sign for a Sinn Féin sign

“What’s this I see over here?” Bono said at a 1987 gig in San Francisco. “I see two letters - SF and U2. Is that a girl’s name or does that stand for Sinn Féin, the Irish Republican Army? Because if it does, I don’t know how you can stand or stomach to wave that sign this week.” Unfortunately, for Bono, the sign stood for, you guessed it, San Francisco.

Damon Albarn threatens to never return to Spain

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Back in 2003, Britpop band Blur was at the end of their tether. Graham has left, Alex was getting into farming, Dave wanted to become a lawyer and Damon was preoccupied with Gorillaz. He also had his bracelet stolen at a Madrid gig. It had been made by his mother and clearly had sentimental value. Thankfully, the outburst was caught on video.

Janet Jackson takes a fan for a ride

Back in her prime, Janet Jackson didn’t shy away from getting sexy on stage. She would select a man from the audience, strap him to a St. Andrews cross and vertically dance on him for the whole venue to see. The man would usually be very grateful.

Ashlee Simpson mimes on SNL

Three certainties in life: death, taxes, and not being able to watch Ashlee Simpson’s Saturday Night Live performance without being able to shudder and laugh in equal measure. Botching her pre-recorded vocals, the singer decided to awkwardly dance off the stage. She was never seen again.

Justin Bieber barfs on stage

Life on the road is tough. You can’t keep to a strict diet, sleeping pattern or in good physical shape. Justin Bieber joined the ranks of many pop stars before him during the Glendale, Arizona premiere of his Believe tour when he barfed all over the stage. “And… Milk was a bad choice!” he later tweeted.

Gene Simmons sets himself on fire

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Gene Simmons saw Jimi Hendrix light his guitar on fire and thought, “Anything you can do, I can do better!” Attempting to breathe fire, the KISS rocker forgot to turn his head back far enough and accidentally set his head ablaze. If it wasn’t for a helpful stage hand bearing a towel, Gene may never have realized the inferno developing on his once.

Christina Aquilera leaks

Memorial services are tough, especially when it’s Etta James’ and you’re tasked with singing her classic song, At Last. Just ask Christina Aquilera, who started “leaking” mid-performance. Images showed a streak running down the singer’s leg. Her camp later revealed in a statement that was accumulated spray tan fluid.

Krist Novoselic’s bass guitar lands on his head

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Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic was having a bad time at the 1992 VMAs. He was tired of waiting around, offended by MTV not allowing them to play Rape Me, and all the beer in his trailer was warm. To cheer himself up, the bassist threw the instrument in the air, but instead of catching it, the guitar landed on his head from 25 feet.

Afroman punches a female fan

Afroman, or Joseph Edgar Foreman, ruined his entire (brief, minimal) career back in 2015 when a damning video saw him assaulting a random woman. The fan had stormed the stage and danced behind Foreman when he turned around and punched her right in the face. The woman suffered a concussion from the blow.

Method Man botches a stage dive

Is there a method to the madness? Not to the Method Man who decided to play rock star and attempt a stage dive. After climbing onto the speaker and taking a few deep breaths, the rapper launched himself into the crowd. The only problem was, the sea had parted, and Method Man became Method Splat.

Fergie pees herself out of excitement

Fergie was on top of the world during her stint with the Black Eyed Peas. At a 2005 concert, the fame got a bit too much. “It does not just happen all the time,” she later said. “We were late for stage, driving down the freeway, it’s Friday traffic…get to the stage… I’m running on and we jump and do ‘Let’s Get It Started,’ and I get crazy and I jump and I run across the stage and my adrenaline was going and gosh.”

Ed Sheeran poops his pants

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When your bowels don’t work like they used to before! That’s right, everyone’s favourite ginger once mistook an innocent fart for something much messier. “It was like midway through a performance and I was really lively, and then halfway through I was like, ‘All right I’m just going to stand for the rest of the performance, and hope it’s over soon and then go home and throw these trousers out!'” the singer reflected.

Billie Joe Armstrong smashes the stage

Billie Joe Armstrong was not a happy bunny when Green Day played at the Las Vegas iHeartRadio Festival. The audience had gathered to see Rihanna, Usher and Taylor Swift, and Green Day had only been given 30 minutes to win their approval. “I’ve been around since 19-f***ing-88!” he yelled, before smashing his guitar and storming off.

Kurt Cobain quits mid-concert

It’s well-known how much Kurt Cobain struggled with Nirvana’s mammoth success, but it might come as a shock to some to learn that he actually quit the band mid-concert. 30 minutes into a Sao Paulo performance in January 1993, the singer stopped playing and stormed off the stage, leaving Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl on their own.

Josh Homme’s fever triggers a delirious rant

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Josh Homme was working his way through a “102 temperature” when Queens of the Stone Age played the Norwegian Wood Festival in 2008. After a bottle was thrown his way, he warned: “I’m not so sick that I can’t go down there and beat the f*** out of you.” He then said, “Go back to your mom’s house you 12-year-old d**kless f***ing turd!”

Billy Corgan invites a heckler onstage

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan went the extra mile when he actually invited a heckler on stage in NYC to amplify his sentiments for everyone to hear back in November 2008. “Last night’s show f***ing sucked, man!” the heckler said. “I like that song you wrote,” Corgan replied. “Take Your D*** Out of My A**, And Stick It in My Mouth.”

Faith Hill calls out a fan for touching her husband’s junk

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When one malicious fan decided to grope Hill’s husband Tim McGraw’s delicates in 2007 at a show in Reno, Nevada, she had no other option than to scold the attacker. “Someone needs to teach you some class, my friend,” she said. “You don’t go grabbing somebody else’s… somebody’s husband’s balls, you understand me? That’s very disrespectful.”

John Mayer tearfully apologies for his “white supremacist” p**is

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In 2010, horny blues-rock sensation John Mayer broke down in tears on stage in Nashville after he’d told Playboy he couldn’t have a relationship with a black woman because of his “white supremacist” ‘piece’. The singer-songwriter stopped the music for a while to apologise to anyone offended (everyone).

Courtney Love puts heckler on blast

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After a crowd member screamed, “You killed Kurt!” during a Hole gig in 1995, Courtney Love replied: “OK, good night, that’s it. You throw sh** on me, you don’t get a f***ing show. Take your Bon Jovi shirt and go f*** yourself with Eddie Vedder’s d*ldo, alright? Is she mad cause I married Kurt? Well, tough sh** you ugly, fat goth.”

Elvis breaks character to make a shocking threat

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Addressing a report that had linked his recent hospitalisation to a heroin overdose, in 1974 the King took to the stage at the Las Vegas Hilton and said: “If I find or hear the individual who said that about me, I’m gonna break your God damn neck you son of a b**ch. I will pull your God damn tongue out at the roots!”

Steve Harwell threatens to kill a fan’s entire family

At the Big Sip beer festival in New York in October 2021, during a spot of technical issues, Smash Mouth’s Steve Harwell could be seen slurring his words, seemingly giving Nazi salutes and threatening fans, one of whom he tells: “I’ll f***ing kill your whole family, I swear to God!” Needless to say, Harwell apologised and retired from music that same week.

Nicki Minaj chews out Miley Cyrus live at the VMAs

Let’s face it, Miley Cyrus needed this. During her Bangerz era, it was hard not to be irritated by her tawdry presence. Nicki Minaj was really irritated when Cyrus laughed off her 2009 VMAs snub in an interview. “And now,” Minaj said, on stage in NYC. “Back to this b*tch that had a lot to say about me in the press the other day. Miley, what’s good?”

Frida elbows Agnetha during an ABBA performance

ABBA? Fighting? It doesn’t sound right. Sadly, enough, it wasn’t all Mamma Mia and giggles on the road back in the 1970s. During a 1975 TV performance of I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, Frida caught sight of Agnetha laughing it up with her husband Bjorn, and gave her a hearty elbow to the arm.

Lenny Kravitz’s pants rip on stage

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You think you’ve laughed, and then you watch the video of Lenny Kravitz squatting down mid-concert and ripping his pants open, exposing his fruit and veg. This footage, from his 2015 Strut tour, not only proves that there is a God, but that He has a great sense of humour.

Kanye West interrupts Taylor Swift’s speech at the VMAs

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In arguably the VMAs’ most famous moment, Kanye West hijacked Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Video of the Year in 2009, cementing his place as music’s greatest heel. West wasn’t too pleased with the decision, claiming that Beyonce deserved the award for her Single Ladies video. He was right, but we had to boo and hiss the way he went about it.

Chad Kroeger fails to win fans at the Ilha do Ermal festival

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At the Ilha do Ermal festival in 2002, Chad Kroeger asked if there were any Nickelback fans in Portugal. He then asked if they wanted to “hear some rock and roll” or “go home”. A fan then threw a rock at the frontman’s head and Kroeger bid farewell, flipped the crowd off and promptly left the stage.

Nathan Williams’ drummer turns on him

At the 2009 Primavera Sound Festival, indie punk rockers Wavves’ performance was stained by frontman Nathan Williams’ intoxication. After Williams hurled insults at the audience, they in turn hurled bottles and shoes at him. Wavves drummer Ross Traver eventually poured a beer over Williams’ head and threw his drumsticks at him before leaving.

Rob Zombie rants about Marilyn Manson

The 2012 Twins of Evil tour with Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson came to a head in October when Manson threatened to kick Zombie’s a**. Zombie then took to the stage and said, “I have to ask you a very serious question… a very serious question,” pointing at his behind. “Take a look at this. Does it look like it’s been kicked by anybody? No, it has not. Some f***ing weirdos like to talk a big game .”

Shirley Manson threatens to eat a fan

Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson has never suffered fools gladly, but at 2012’s Mares Vivas Festival, she stepped over the mark. After a member of the crowd repeatedly threw items at the singer, she threatened to have the security guards beat them up. “I’m on my period, I can eat meat,” Manson said.

Paul Stanley takes on a laser pointer

A lot of crazy stuff goes down at a Kiss concert, but a single laser pointer coming from the audience? That was just a step too far for guitarist Paul Stanley, who paused a 2009 show in Portland to address the culprit, executing some classic “first beer” and “your mom” banter. Thankfully, Stanley didn’t storm off.

Maynard James Keenan continues to sing whilst choking out a fan

Tool were performing at London’s Astoria theatre in 1997 when a plucky fan rushed the stage and approached singer Maynard James Keenan, who threw him over his shoulders and pinned him to the ground. He then proceeded to put the fan in a chokehold whilst continuing to sing.

Billy Joel flips his piano

During a 1987 Moscow gig, Billy Joel’s documentary crew ordered the light technicians to illuminate the audience – but the fans weren’t happy, and neither was the Piano Man, who screamed at them to stop. When they didn’t, Joel flipped his piano and destroyed a microphone stand. Uptown Grrrr!

Ted Nugent tells the President to “suck” his machine gun

Outspoken Republican Ted Nugent brandished two assault rifles on stage while performing in 2007, telling the then-Democratic nominee and future 44th president to “suck on my machine gun.” (He also told a former First Lady to “ride one of these into the sunset”.) Nugent’s rants would eventually lead to a Secret Service investigation.

Father John Misty discusses the nature of evil

Set to perform at New Jersey’s XpoNential Festival in 2016, Father John Misty overlooked his guitar in order to smoke a cigarette and lecture the audience about the entertainment industry and all its ills, the nature of evil and the dumbing down of culture. He then covered Leonard Cohen and walked off.

Kanye West turns up late, rants, and leaves

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After showing up 90 minutes late to his own show in 2016, Kanye West, performed briefly and then burst into a lengthy, erratic, boring diatribe about Beyonce, Jay-Z and popular music. He dropped the mic and stormed off stage, cancelling the remaining dates of the tour citing stress.

Justin Bieber abandons a show over spilt water

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While onstage in October 2015, Justin Bieber tried to clean a puddle of water that had been spilt, but his fans got in the way. This made the Biebs so angry he told the audience he was “done” and that he was “not doing the show”, throwing off his jacket and storming off.

Kurt Cobain hits a bouncer with his guitar

During a gig in Dallas, Texas in October 1991, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain jumped into the moshpit only to be dragged out to safety by his hair, thanks to a heavy-handed bouncer. Cobain, furious, decided to thwack the bouncer around the face with his Fender Jaguar. This one FEELS like Teen Spirit.

Madonna kisses Britney Spears at the 2003 VMAs

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By today’s WAP standards, this is almost cute. But at the time, even performative-same-sex kissing was not common on TV screens, so when veteran pop star Madonna decided to lock lips with Britney Spears, it sent the world into a frenzy. Madonna also kissed Christina Aguilera, but they decided to cut away and get Justin Timerlake’s reaction.

Kanye West, again

After being victim to a penny – that’s a penny – thrown from the crowd in December 2008 in Melbourne, Australia, Kanye West went on an auto-tuned rant, saying: “You should be ashamed of your f***ing self whoever did that. You playing, go f*** yourself. Eat sh*t and die, eat sh*t and die.”

Daron Malakian pummels stage invader

While performing Suite Pee in Worcester, Michigan back in 2001, bassist Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down was rushed by a fan and thrown to the ground. Luckily, guitarist Daron Malakian came to his rescue, pacing over and body-slamming the intruder. Singer Serj Tankian didn’t seem to notice anything afoot whatsoever. Wake up!

Henry Rollins fights cocky fan

Henry Rollins suffers fools terribly, even when they’re his own fans. In a viral clip of a concert from sometime in the 80s, a crowd member is seen playfully batting at Rollins’ face as he sings. Irate as ever, the Black Flag singer then beats the life out of the fan, over and over, until his hairs are grey.

The View fight each other

These Dundee rockers were forced to abandon a gig in March 2023 after lead singer Kyle Falconer and bassist Kieran Webster broke out into a fight at Manchester’s Deaf Institute. But, you know, if you’ve had the same jeans on for four days in a row, tempers will understandably flare.