Many of you will have heard of Cabbage (and no, not the vegetable), the Manchester-based band have been making waves on the music scene over the last year. Their use of social media in broadcasting their songs coupled with support slots for bands such as The Twang, a place on the NME Awards Tour bill and an appearance on popular Saturday morning show Soccer AM have contributed to their rise, leading to them even having a show opening for The Courteeners’ landmark Old Trafford gig in May of this year coming up in the near future. Producing music described on their bandcamp website as ‘idiosyncratic, satirical attack in the form of discordant neo post-punk’ (confused? I was!), they have established a following and have steadily grown in popularity.
Which brings us to last night. At a gig where they were fortunate enough – let’s be truthful here, given they haven’t been on the scene all that long – to be supporting one of the biggest UK live bands around today in Kasabian, it has been alleged that the lead singer, namely Lee Broadbent, sexually assaulted a girl in the front row who was at the show with her Dad, then refused to apologise following a complaint being, understandably, made. The accusation is that Mr Broadbent put his hand down his trousers before ruffling the girl’s hair and, in effect, pushing her head towards his crotch; an allegation which has been both backed by other people claiming to have been in the crowd, and which has led to further allegations of other incidents at Cabbage shows in the past. It should be noted at this stage that the band have issued a response on social media denying the accusation
To divert slightly, one of our journalists interviewed Frank Turner late last year, as the lead feature in our latest magazine (see link here http://themicmagazine.co.uk/latest-issue/). As a part of this interview, Frank told of the work he has done in support of ‘Safe Gigs For Women’, a simply outstanding organisation, in order to help bring an end to women being the victim of sexual assaults in the crowd at gigs. He is not the only one by any stretch; Circa Waves, Two Door Cinema Club and many other bands and artists have spoken out in support of the organisation’s work and against the abhorrent behaviour of some men (let’s be real here – it is predominantly men) that makes such work necessary.
As a band, as a part of the music industry, you have a responsibility. You have a responsibility to ensure that everyone who pays good money and comes to watch your shows does so in a safe environment. There is a risk that a small handful of people, if observing this kind of behaviour, would see it to be acceptable, and undo much of the work that is being done in order to raise awareness and combat the very real problem of sexual assault. This cannot be allowed to happen. Why should people be worried about going to a gig?
Make no mistake about it, the music industry has to come together on this issue. The behaviour must be condemned, publicly, and made clear that it does not belong at concerts under any circumstances. Above all, we should not victim-shame. This is a nationwide issue, it has been acknowledged as such by many high up in the music industry and it should be tackled by us all who love live music. The very idea that someone should be denied the experience at live music that we all love because of such experiences should be repulsive to us all, and we should tackle the problem.
Shame on you Cabbage. Shame on you Lee Broadbent. Whether this isolated allegation is proven or unproven is not the primary issue is here. What should be focused on at this stage is the fact that so many women seemingly have come away from Cabbage shows feeling unsafe. That is what is wrong, and that is what needs to be tackled. The culture of victim shaming and the culture that leads vile human beings to believe this is acceptable must change.