Underoath's return to the Nashville stage took an unexpectedly aggressive turn after a dispute with the concert venue prompted the band to ask the fans to overrun the security guards.
The band has been trekking across the country on their reunion tour with their core lineup (Aaron Gillespie, Spencer Chamberlain, Timothy McTague, Chris Dudley, Grant Brandell, James Smith) since last month, selling out venues to fans excited to see the band after a hiatus of more than three years.
The Nashville show took place at Rocketown, a concert venue that has a longstanding no crowd surfing policy. Prior to the show, that policy was announced, however as Underoath played through their album They're Only Chasing Safety, several fans crowd surfed to the front of the room, whereby they were stopped by security and escorted out of the venue. When Underoath frontman Spencer Chamberlain observed what was happening, he stopped the music and criticized security using profanity, ultimately saying, "Are you kicking people out? Don't do that."
After venue representatives explained the no crowd surfing policy to the band, Chamberlain and Timothy McTague relayed the situation to the crowd and expressed their frustration with the rule--and with the fact that fans who might have waited ten years to see them now were standing outside.
They concluded by telling the crowd, "There are 1,200 of us and six of them. They can't kick us all out."
After they had wrapped They're Only Chasing Safety and moved into playing Define the Great Line, several dozen fans started crowd surfing, and those that came within reach of security were removed from the room. McTague at one point left the stage partway through a song to dispute with security. Once he had returned to stage, the band expressed that they would be coming back to Nashville in the future but never to Rocketown again. As they moved into the final songs of their set, McTague said, "This is an Underoath show, not a Rocketown show, and nobody tells us what to do. I want to see everyone in this room on the stage right now. The first 50 people to get on stage get free merch."
The crowd rushed the stage, overwhelming the security guards. Fans moshed on stage with the band, took mics and knocked over equipment as the rest of the room erupted into moshing, fighting and crowd surfing. The band managed to more or less complete the song before ending the night.
Despite the tension, fan reactions to the evening were overall extremely positive. Instagram user colemeador1 described the event as an "all-out revolt," but also said "I would never give up seeing my favorite band. Thank you guys for getting back together." User braxtondunbar was one of the fans who made it to the stage, documenting it with an Instagram video and calling the experience amazing.
Some fans also expressed sympathy for the venue and their staff alongside their support for the band.
"I do feel that ultimately, the band placed a huge burden on the security team that were just trying to do their jobs," Instagrammer smashgaskin said. Jarkmamieson expressed support for both parties, saying, "Thank you @wschamberlain, @aaronrgillespie @chrisunderoath and the rest of the band for being better than ever. Seriously. Also s/o to @rocketown for being an awesome venue, even though your security guards are the worst."
You can watch a few videos of the events here and here.
What do you think? Was Underoath out of line or justified in their response to Rocketown?