Lamb of God Malaysian Performance Canceled Due to Death Threats
Lamb of God‘s planned performance at the Rockaway Festival in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 28 has been canceled for several reasons. Government agencies stepped in and denied the permit to allow the band to play due to concerns over content, while the promoter also nixed the performance due to death threats made against the band.
The reason that the Communications and Multimedia Ministry in Malaysia decided to deny the permit? The powers-that-be concluded that the band’s performances “were found to infringe on religious sensitivities and cultural values of Malaysian society,” according to the Star.
It was the Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia that came to the table with concerns about the band first, citing Lamb of God’s lyrics and song titles as offensive. They did some homework, referencing songs that contained verses from the Quran and quickly wrote off the band’s music as a whole as being objectionable.
The promoters behind the event decided it was best to axe the show entirely. It appears to have been a joint decision between concert organizers and the band and one that considers everyone’s best interest and safety.
The promoter’s statement is as follows, emphasizing its distaste over the threats and its wish for peace. It addresses a variety of political and societal issues.
It was posted in conjunction with the band’s statement.
It is with utmost regret that we announce the cancellation of the Rockaway showcase that was to feature the Grammy nominee band, Lamb of God on September 28 in Kuala Lumpur. This difficult decision was made after thorough deliberation by us at Livescape and taking into account the objections raised by various groups as well as life threats made by certain irresponsible individuals towards the band members themselves.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms these threats that were made. Malaysia is a country of peace and we are sure that we speak on behalf of the majority of our fellow Malaysians when we say we are appalled that there are certain individuals who think it is perfectly fine to threaten the life of others. No one deserves that regardless of his or her religious, political, or even musical preference.
As a live music events agency that prides itself in being proudly Malaysian, we at Livescape would also like to state on record that we respect all cultural and religious sensitivities and under no circumstances will we ever consciously put on a show that would upset our fellow Malaysians.
Which is why today, together with Lamb of God, we have made a conscious decision to break our silence, as we feel we owe it to Malaysians to explain our’s and the band’s position and to add clarity on some comments that has been made against us and the band.
As citizens of a democratic nation, we respect all opinions, comments and views that have been made. However, we believe that there also needs to be a clear and open dialogue between the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), the various NGOs, and us, live music promoters in Malaysia. We find it absolutely unnecessary to issue a statement directly to the media without first even allowing us to explain or to justify our position and reasons. Moving forward, we politely ask that JAKIM and various NGOs engage in a dialogue with us promoters to seek our explanation prior to passing judgement or releasing statements to the media.
Needless to say, the fans aren’t the only ones affected. When a show of this scale – which was due to happen in a couple of weeks – is cancelled, the economic fallout doesn’t just affect us, the promoters. Yes, we’ve lost our venue booking and artist deposit fees and not to mention, the lost of marketing expenditures but more importantly, it also affects the industry as a whole as our sound, lights, stage, production, and security crew, all of which are hired as third-party suppliers, have now lost potential income.
Having also read various statements and remarks by groups opposing the performance of the band in Malaysia, it is our belief that the Metal genre has been greatly misunderstood. Some of the statements that has been made were also assumptious and misinterpreted. To clarify, Lamb of God does not include any Black Metal elements into their music. The band’s genre has always been about metalcore, groove metal or heavy metal. It is also important to note that there are vast differences between Black Metal and other genres.
As one columnist from The Star (Heavy Metal Misunderstood, 1 July 2013) rightly puts it, “Just because something is different and loud and brash, it doesn’t mean it’s evil or means you harm”. Most metal bands – Lamb of God included – tend to speak out against various types of oppressions and social injustice, spreading the message of peace.
In a world plagued with various issues, we believe that music has the power to draw us closer together as human beings. Whether it be HipHop, Pop, R&B, EDM, Rock or even Metal, we believe that music draws people of various cultural backgrounds together instead of driving them apart. That is our belief, and what drives all of us at Livescape to do what we do – to unite people through music.
To the fans, we say this – we are sorry. We have given our all and have fought the hardest we could for this show to go on and have failed. Like you, we were counting the days to finally see Lamb of God put on a show for Malaysians on Malaysian soil. We failed. But we have heard your voices and we can’t thank you enough for your messages of support.
Over the coming days, we will be announcing details for refunds to those of you who have bought tickets to the show on September 28. Refunds can be redeemed from September 16 onwards. We ask that to you stay logged on to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/rockawayfest for more information on refund outlets. Alternatively, if you had bought tickets to the show on September 28, those tickets are also valid for entry to our second showcase on October 17 that will feature Enter Shikari and Bring Me The Horizon. The show on October 17 is not affected and will go on as scheduled.
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The band’s statement on the matter is as follows. It is much shorter but incredibly thoughtful, and invites people to give more than a cursory look at their music.
In response to the growing controversy and public protest within Malaysia, and on the advice of our management, we have elected to cancel our show in Kuala Lampur. It is very evident (and a bit frustrating) that the groups, parties and powers that have taken the most offense to our music and lyrics, have themselves only made a passing glance at the content and meanings of those songs.
We would invite anyone offended by our music to engage in a discussion regarding the true motivations behind our work, especially before publicly slandering us based on assumptions and shallow misinterpretation.
We sincerely apologize to our amazing fans in Malaysia for the cancellation. However, in light of recent events in the band’s history, and given the increasing fervor of the media coverage regarding the Malaysian controversy, our management feels that the environment surrounding the upcoming show is becoming increasingly volatile. More than anything, we do not wish to jeopardize the safety of our crew, our fans or ourselves. Many thanks to all who have spoken out in our support through this.