Brian Jonestown Massacre show in Australia ends in chaos after a vicious onstage brawl

Members of the Brian Jonestown Massacre wrestling onstage
(Image credit: The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age)

Startling video footage has emerged from a Brian Jonestown Massacre show in Melbourne, Australia. The band's set at the 2000-capacity Forum was cut short after band frontman Anton Newcombe became embroiled in a violent altercation with guitarist Ryan Van Kriedt.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the evening started with Newcombe telling the audience that he'd been held up at knifepoint earlier in the day.

“I explained to them one thing,” he told the crowd of his assailant. “A knife won’t stop me. I will make you eat it, punch you in the stomach, stab you in the leg, grab you by the hair and drag you to the police, so get to fuck."

Newcome went on to report that the incident had left him rather worse for wear. “I expended most of the voice that I wanted to give to you,” he told the audience. “Unfortunately, on this day, all I can give you is everything I have."

The frontman, who has a long and well-documented history of problems with drugs and alcohol, went on to berate the crowd and insult his bandmates throughout the six-song set, which was brought to an abrupt finish when Newcombe called out Van Kriedt, reportedly calling him "just a guitar tech, not even a musician."

"Cut off this guy's mic and put down my guitar," Newcome said. "The party's over, captain. There is no more music until you get to fuck. Go! Put my guitar down on the stage, and think about what's happening, Unplug."

"You better think about this one, man," responded Van Kriedt. "Because this one is forever."  

The pair then became engaged in a tussle, with Van Kriedt chasing Newcombe across the stage before violently wrestling him to the floor. The safety curtain was eventually lowered and the show brought to a halt, with the band's following performances in Castlemaine and Northcote cancelled “on medical grounds”.

"I’ve seen them six times, and while there’s always something with Anton, I’ve never seen anything like this," wrote one eyewitness on Reddit. "It was awful to see him speak to everyone like shit, especially the drummer who was brilliant. To have it descend into a brawl was heartbreaking. I hope Anton gets the help he’s desperately crying out for."

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.