Last night during the event’s first of two semi-finals, Dirty Bangs had their set interrupted midway through after frontman Evan Kenney was allegedly assaulted and choked by two bystanders in the crowd. The suspect and his girlfriend were ejected from T.T. The Bear’s Place after the incident.
When Kenney left the stage and entered the crowd while singing one of the band’s songs, the assault allegedly occurred. “Evan came into the crowd to do his thing and [the guy] started choking him,” one witness tells Vanyaland. “The band dropped their gear and went in after him.”
As the dust settled, Kenney urged the crowd to throw up the peace sign, and told the crowd violence was not the answer. After a few minutes, Dirty Bangs finished their set.
“I usually keep my eyes closed when we play,” Kenney tells Vanyaland this morning. “There was this girl up front from the start of our set, I could tell she was enthusiastic for some reason. During one of our songs, I put my hand on her shoulder, thinking she was into the band, turns out she was there to heckle us on behalf of her boyfriend who had some beef with us that none of us really knew about. She clocked me, I went down. It was ok, it’s not the first time I’ve been socked on stage.”
Kenney adds: “After I got up I went in the crowd, just to sing some more, her boyfriend socked me again and the next thing I realized, it was ‘a thing.’ I wanted to keep the peace, all I wanted was to keep the peace. He was a drunk bro who had it in for us for some reason. He hit me again, but I tried to get everyone to chill out and let it play out. It’s hard when you are in the moment and something like that snaps you out of it. Luckily, I can take a hit… I’d like to invite him out for a drink so we can talk it out.”
The singer stresses that none of this was staged.
“The best part is that a lot of people thought that we staged the entire thing,” he says. “I wish we were THAT clever. It was weird, I tried to not let it ruin the vibe. Other than that, it was a fun night.”
Rumble organizer Anngelle Wood released a statement to Vanyaland: “The bands who participate in the Rock And Roll Rumble put their heart and soul into their performance. These bands deserve our attention, respect and love. Same goes for fans who come out to show support. We need not take away from the band/fan experience.”
The night was won by rock trio Zip-Tie Handcuffs, on the strength of a harmonic hurricane of sound that mixed grunge, punk, psychedelic, and whatever other thunder they could shove into tightly knit three-minute pop songs. Zip-Tie will perform at the May 1 final, and won out over a spirited gospel-rock performance by Dirty Bangs, a ’70s-rock-and-the-Strokes-kind-of-cool performance by Soft Pyramids, and a bull-shit free garage punk set from Duck & Cover.
Dirty Bangs look promising as a potential wild card. The second Rumble semi-final night is tonight at T.T. The Bear’s. Doors are at 8:30 p.m.