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We’re big fans of Justin Townes Earle, but we’re bigger fans of our friends at Radio Radio. Having worked with Radio Radio for the last few years, the venue has become one of my two favorite venues in the city and favorite spots to host MOKB Presents shows at. The crew there is top-notch. I’ve also worked with Justin Townes Earle. It was a great experience as well. That is why Earle’s recent blow-up at Radio Radio, here in Indianapolis is so sad.
It is no secret that Justin Townes Earle has battled addiction for years, and Thursday in Indianapolis it became blatantly evident that his struggles continue. Thursday night at Radio Radio, Earle insulted (and assaulted) the venue owners and staff, the sold-out audience, and local law enforcement.
JTE arrived from an in-store performance at LUNA Music Midtown, that the Laundromatinee.com crew filmed and recorded, and where Earle started his drinking. During the Radio Radio sound check, both Earle and opener Jessica Lea Mayfield complained about the sound in Radio Radio, an odd and uncommon occurance as the venue is one of the best-sounding rooms in Indianapolis.
While I wasn’t present for any of this, I have interviewed the staff and owners about the evening. I have not spoken to Justin Townes Earle. Saving Country Music also gives their account and research of what happened Thursday night. SCM writes…
The problems apparently started with banter between the crowd and Earle according to Sherry who was in the front row…
“…someone yells out how sexy Josh (Hedley – the violin player) is. JTE and Brynn just laugh and JTE says, “I love it!” At one point another fan yells out “Freebird” and JTE, (humorously) says “Fuck Freebird, I fuckin hate Lynard Skynard!” Then someone yells “Take off your shirt” his response was “you fuckin take off your shirt!” He starts singing “Can’t Hardly Wait” and all of a sudden some dude throws his shirt on stage and It lands on JTE’s guitar. JTE throws it down, looks at the dude very irritated and pissed off and says “FUCK YOU!”
He very angrily finished the song……trying to keep his composure and dropping his capo between songs, they finished with (the song) “Walk Out.” They then “walk out” with no encore…
The night really got ugly when JTE returned to his dressing room, post-set, and started smashing things. Earle caused over $200 worth of property damage. When informed that it would come out of his pay, Earle flew into a rage, assaulting the venue owner and reportedly closed-fist punching the owner’s daughter.
After being physically removed from Radio Radio, JTE continued to raise hell until police arrived. He then resisted arrest and was pinned to the ground and handcuffed.
One fan stated, “I feel completely ripped off after spending my hard-earned money to see his show in Indianapolis last night. He was wasted and belligerent. After the show we encountered him on the street. He was bitching and ranting about the audience! The same audience that paid $15 each to see him!”
MOKB did contact Bloodshot Records, but the label says they will not be releasing a statement related to the incident.