By Erasmo Viera
Trash cans of vomit flew through the air, along with a few punches, when Illinois rock outfit The Orwells headlined at Trees during the 2016 Spillover Fest. Fans of the band usually anticipate some sort of wild shenanigans at their shows and were likely expecting the level to which the band stirred things up March 19.
The crowd went wild once The Orwells took the stage, and articles of clothing were thrown at lead singer Mario Cuomo. After a few tracks, Cuomo said: “This is the only venue where they punched out Kurt Cobain for no reason.” This struck a chord among the concertgoers.
There definitely had been a reason.
In 1991, Nirvana was in the middle of a legendary performance when a brawl broke out. Cobain smacked a Trees bouncer with his guitar while being pulled back from crowd surfing in an intense horde.
Cobain then took a firm shot to the face, and things quickly went down hill from there, leading some to question The Orwell’s actions after Cuomo’s statement.
The Orwells put on a killer set with tracks such as “Mallrats,” “Dirty Sheets” and “Southern Comfort.” They also helped their fans get on the set to stage dive and even posed for Snapchat stories. Everything was going smoothly until Cuomo’s stomach started grumbling, causing him to signal for a trash can in which to vomit.
That’s when the atmosphere became tense. Near the end of the set, the band gestured to the sound technicians for three more songs. The red curtains began to close, angering one of the guitar players who then began tearing it down. He was bum-rushed by security as the rest of the band followed suit. As the brawl occurred on stage, concertgoers tore the second curtain apart while the security team stood by.
Eventually, the venue was emptied to ongoing explicit chanting. The festivalgoers were in a frenzy, spreading what they just witnessed through the streets of Deep Ellum.
The Orwells did what headliners are supposed to do – put on a show people will remember. It’s why people go to concerts. They want to see a band that will put on a one-of-a-kind show and witness something they can go home talking about.
Mentioning Cobain could’ve been preemptive from the start, and some may have found the whole thing disrespectful. But at the end of the day, that’s what rock ’n’ roll is all about.