Tom Verlaine Threatens Rock NYC With Violence
Most bands appreciate videos and photos I took during shows, some repost them on their Facebook or Instagram page and even thank me, but other ones, as I experienced it last night, have an entire different attitude to say the least.
I was attending Television’s show at the Teragram Ballroom on Friday night, and I was in a good mood. I had already seen the fabulous New York band at the same place years ago and I wasn’t expecting anything else but good and timeless music. I was first disappointed to learn at the door of the Teragram that the band was requesting a no professional camera policy for the show. It was strange because I had been able to take photos when I saw them 2 years ago, but I abided, and asked the Teragram Ballroom staff if an iPhone was okay, and they said it was.
The show was going well with the band playing their classics like ‘Elevation’, ‘Venus’, ‘Prove it’ off their ‘Marquee Moon’ debut album, and being front row I was in the perfect position to film, so I did capture a few minutes of songs with my iPhone, as I always do at shows…. However this took an unexpected turn.
At one point, and this must have been just after ‘See No Evil’, Tom Verlaine came close to me, kneeled down and put his arm around my neck, to tell me: ‘What are you doing?’… What was I doing? I was filming, he obviously was aware of that. At first, I thought he was going to preach another verse of the eternal theme, ‘you should not be filming because you can’t enjoy the show at the same time’, but it turned out he had something a bit different in mind. ‘What are you doing?’ he repeated. I was smiling thinking this was a joke, although I didn’t think he was joking. I honestly don’t remember what I mumbled, something about saving memories in a safe place, but he didn’t seem to care and added, ‘if you are selling this, I will chop your head off’. Chop my head off? Isn’t it a bit extreme?
This instant was so surreal that I decided to write about it right away once home, because if I had waited for the next day, I may have thought it was just a strange dream. Verlaine was visibly not amused, but how could he have thought I was gonna sell videos recorded with an iPhone? Isn’t it 2017 and isn’t everybody doing this same exact thing at concerts?
I don’t know how long it lasted, a few seconds probably, and he was so close to me that very few people heard what he said, I don’t think many people actually realized what happened. When he got up, he even brushed my hair with his hand in a not very nice way, and I could tell he was mad. I didn’t touch my phone for the rest of the concert, I didn’t want to upset him more, but I didn’t erase the videos either. That would have been ridiculous. At the end of the show I wish I could have talked to him, I would have told him that I review shows and that videos help a lot to go back to the ambiance of the night, but they left the stage quite fast.
It was a strange and almost upsetting experience, I have to say that I could not really enjoy the rest of the show as my mind was always going back to Verlaine’s angry voice asking me what I was doing.
(Editor’s Note: what an asshole)