Despite releasing one of the best records of 2010 with Public Strain, the pressure of international touring may have taken its toll on Calgary-based experimental indie rockers Women. According to various reports, members of the band erupted into a fist fight during their Victoria, BC performance on Friday (October 29), allegedly saying they were "breaking up" and that it was their "last show."
Exclaim! reader Arynne McMurray sent in the following account of the experience:
We were just at a show Women were headlining at Lucky Bar in Victoria, BC. As they initially came on stage the band members seemed to be struggling with Patrick [Flegel, guitarist] and a fight almost broke out. They went backstage again for several minutes. The band came out again minus Patrick and were making small talk with the audience. Patrick came out acting really erratic and said something to the effect of "we're breaking up right now, you're all going to see our last show."
They played about five songs, which sounded pretty awful. At one point Patrick said (into the mic, during a song) "you fucked that up" to Christopher [Reimer, guitarist]. Christopher and Matthew [Flegel, bassist] left the stage at the end of the song. Michael [Wallace, drummer] left after another minute or two or later, saying "my music career is over." Lucky turned the house music on while Patrick continued "playing." Security tried to talk him off stage. He left, and then came back and started smashing Matthew's guitar against an amp. This was all extra comical in Halloween costumes (Mr. T, a sailor).
Victoria-based singer-songwriter Aidan Knight, who also attended the show, reported a similar situation in an email to Exclaim! "Pat started throwing punches at his brother [Matthew Flegel] during their set-up and soundcheck. Full on 'break it up' brawl between the brothers," Knight wrote. "Chris announced onstage that it would be their 'last show as a band' and they were planning to play without Pat. Not sure how that would've worked.
"Anyway, they played four songs and the band walked off leaving just Pat and Mike. Pat suggested that they play 'sloppy metal' and some random bro jumps up for a three-minute-long version of 'Reign In Blood.' Mike apologizes again and leaves the stage. A guitar gets smashed to pieces. I buy a T-shirt."
The band's Wikipedia page has already been updated, saying, "The band reportedly broke up on October 29, 2010 after a fight on stage at a show at the Lucky Bar in Victoria."
Requests for confirmation from Exclaim! to the band's label Flemish Eye and publicist have been received, and we will update the story as it develops.
Women are scheduled to play a Halloween show at the Biltmore in Vancouver tonight (October 30), and as of press time, there has been no announcement that the show has been cancelled. All Women's scheduled dates are below.
UPDATE: Women have cancelled tonight's show in Vancouver, as well as the upcoming dates in Ymir, BC and Edmonton. Refunds are available at points of purchase.
In a statement from Flemish Eye, the label says, "The band has been under a lot of stress on this tour, and are pretty exhausted from the intensive schedule of the last two months. We are cancelling the next three shows so they can get some sleep and work things out. There are no plans to cancel other upcoming dates." As to whether Women are officially broken up, that appears to still be very much up in the air.
UPDATE 2: Via Pitchfork, Flemish Eye label head Ian Russell has provided this additional statement: "With a heavy heart, we regret to say that the band Women is exhausted and are in need of a break from touring. They have experienced a lot of stress recently, and this culminated in a disastrous public conflict on Friday. Band members have been suffering from poor health, and are in near-exhaustion; as of today, all upcoming shows [including a European tour] have been cancelled.
"We feel that it's necessary to emphasize that this is a very difficult time for the band, and is not a trivial decision for a group that has spent as much time touring as they have. The band is a close-knit group of friends that have known each other since elementary school, and the personal health of these individuals forces this decision.
"The band would appreciate some privacy as they sort things out and recover."
10/31 Ymir, BC - Fon's Church
11/6 Edmonton, AB - The Pawn Shop
11/13 Karlsruhe, DE - Carambolage