L.A. hardcore group ACxDC was on the cover of the Weekly recently, and they got a kick out of that. But not all publicity is good publicity.
After a local publication in Bend, Oregon spotlighted the powerviolence provocateurs (who practice what might be called a tongue-in-cheek Satanism) ahead of their scheduled show there last night, dozens of residents from the town demanded police shut down the gig, to be held in a backyard. And indeed, the show was canceled, but not before things got a bit scary.
The band, whose name stands for Antichrist Demoncore and is no relation to Australian classic rock act AC/DC, received threats, via promoter Preston Krull and a resident of the house were they were scheduled to play.
The police, meanwhile, received dozens of anonymous calls demanding that the show be canceled; one suggested it was a “neo-Nazi skinhead gathering” (um, no), and there were also physical threats made against the band. “People were saying that they were going to burn the house down if we were allowed to perform,” says ACxDC frontman Sergio Amalfitano, speaking to us while en route to the gig's new location in Salem, Oregon, more than 100 miles away.
It was to be a normal house party, but since the group passed out fliers and there was a big expected turnout (between 200 and 250 people), the promoter was required to secure a public event permit and insurance. But, partly because of all the threats, the city refused to issue permits for the show.
An email sent to Ben Salmon, entertainment and music editor of the Bend Bulletin, who published stories about the band, seems to think the hysteria was somewhat warranted, citing the name of one of ACxDC's singles: “We Kill Christians.” The anonymous emailer adds that a flier for the show was taped to a wood cross stuck in his front yard.
That doesn't sound fun, but apparently the anti-punk sentiment of Bend — a town of some 75,000 people — is nothing new. According to Amalfitano, Finnish hardcore punk legends Rattus ran into a similar problem when they played the quaint burg. “Cops called hotels and told them not to let the band stay there.”
But Lt. Chris Carney of the Bend police says the style of ACxDC's music played no role in his department's actions. “Our role in this complaint is pretty minimal,” he tells us, and “the content of the music is not something we would be concerned with.” They take noise complaints seriously, he adds, and generally require venues to have paid security. “The number of people would be the biggest concern from both a fire and policing perspective.”
In any case, once word of the cancellation broke, the band received some 100 offers from Oregon punks to host the event, a benefit for a dog rescue in central Oregon. And so it was moved to the state capital. “The bands all said 'Fuck it, let's move it to Salem,'” Amalfitano says, adding that all the groups on the original bill remain.
Amalfitano seems to be taking the whole thing in stride, even if he is a bit shocked at the response. “People lose their minds over the dumbest things. We're just trying to play a show in someone's backyard.” Referencing a picture of him and his family used in a Bend Bulletin blog post about the incident, he asks, “Do I really look like someone who's encouraging people to burn down churches?”