I can't remember the last time I saw a fight break out at First Avenue or even at a hip-hop concert. In fact, the last bad fight I saw was out in the Home Run Porch at a Twins game. So it's somewhat shocking to report that last night's TC Hip-Hop Awards at First Ave reportedly erupted into a brawl on and around the stage. It started when some bozo bum-rushed the stage after Illuminous 3's set got delayed due to technical glitches, and host Boima Freeman started throwing punches at the guy. Franz Diego of Ill 3 recounted it this way in a Facebook posting:
Next thing I know, they get closer and the host is swinging on the man and then all hell breaks loose people rush security and the stage, grab bottles and other objects and just start punching and kicking. Well, security gets in eventually, separates folks, the curtains come down, mics unplugged and everyone is just kind of confused what just happened.
Here’s what happened. One person's actions, or depending on how you look at it, 2 peoples action destroyed the entire event and evening for everybody, as well as the reputation of these sort of events at a place like First Ave. My disappointment is directed at the host who is always the number one person in control at an event, the control the crowd, how folks are feeling and keep things right and moving. To me, what he did was panic, in a situation where he did not know what to do, he did one of the poorest things possible and used violence.
Franz stressed, however, that the event was otherwise a diverse, positive shindig that brought together people "from all backgrounds and facets of the Minnesota hip hop community." Another, similar account is now posted at the Amplified Life blog. The writer, Larry Lucio, says he had to duck from a bar stool thrown at him.
Stay tuned for a more thorough report on this debacle after the weekend. One reason local music writers haven't given this event much ink over the past four years (which Franz Diego criticizes us for in his posting) is because, first off, there's never been much buzz around it. But also, we know little to nothing about the organizers or how they work. The scant information they let out suggests they don't very well know what they're doing, or maybe they don't want us to know. That's not to say they're to blame for last night, though.