A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Story time. I’m sure for some of at some point were knee deep on your session’s favorite jig when from across the pub a fight broke out. Maybe screaming, maybe punches, or possibly just drunk pushing and wrestling.

What happened? Did the session play on? Did any players pick a side and join in? Did the tempo speed up as if it was a score to an old timey fight scene?

I wanna hear the story, and I believe there has to be quite a few stories that people have seen over the years.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Nope. It’s never ever happened.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Reminded of a story Billy Connolly once told about a fight breaking out in a pub somewhere. Billy and his mates all moved outside en masse, away from the rammy. Somebody came up and made some comment about the tough Scots running away from the fight. Connolly pointed out that the Scots were the only ones who went outside still taking their pints with them. It’s a matter of priorities.
And to go along with “yhaal house”, never happened at any session I’ve been to.
I do remember in the 1970s hearing about a fight breaking out at Forfar Folk Club one night when the late Michael Marra was the guest. He was singing the Eagles’ “Peaceful Easy Feeling” at the time.

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Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

I’ve also never had a fight start at a pub I was playing at. But your question reminded me of a fairly funny thing that happened many years ago. I was having a house warming party at the house I bought in 2007, and there were about 50 people there, including about 10 people having an Irish session in the living room. I was busy giving people the tour of the new house, when someone came running in saying that I needed to come quickly, because there was a police officer at the front door. So I walk out to the living room, and the session is still playing, but they’ve gotten noticeably quieter since the officer arrived. I guess they were figuring it was going to be from a noise complaint, but in reality, the officer was my old roommate from college, who came by in person to tell me that he wasn’t going to be able to make it to the party because he was on duty. The session livened up a bit again after I hugged the cop. 😉

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Funnily enough it happened at our session last Wednesday although the bar staff were on it so quickly that it was more puffed chests and threats than actual fisticuffs. Most of the musicians, with their back turned to the action, didn’t even notice until our whistle player felt that one of the bar staff, a former pupil of his, was getting a bit of hassle and promptly departed his seat mid-tune to check she was ok. Has happened a couple of time over the years but thankfully rare.

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Not often at all but did see full on headbutt across a table when I was playing in our local session at about the age of 15. Wasnt that kind of pub, but just the once, it was. We didn’t even break our rhythm as they were chucked out.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Not a fight, but once when we were playing a very drunk young woman started dancing and taking her clothes off. What did we do? Kept playing.

Her friends grabbed her before it got too far and guided her back to a chair.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

A couple of guys sitting at the bar started a rather violent fight during one of our sessions many years ago. It took two or three others to break it up and throw them out. There was dead silence in the bar and one of my session friends said, “Well. I guess we won’t play that one again.”

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Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

I think this site is getting a bit “edgy” these days. All the discussions seem to be about arguments, fights etc lately. 🙂

Anyway, there have been fights in session pubs which usually don’t involve the players although I’ve occasionally witnessed some “off duty” musicians behaving badly. More likely to be “verbal” than actual fisticuffs. I’m not mentioning any names…..

Uusually, it’s best just to play on or pretend not to notice. Certainly, don’t get involved unless someone is is obviously at risk.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

“I wanna hear the story, and I believe there has to be quite a few stories that people have seen over the years.”

True enough, Vechey. But those are the stories I neither need nor want to pass along at this time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTowId2CWHA

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Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Decades ago, not a session but a bar band. I was in my mid twenties. My worst night ever. All of us in the band made it out and all but one of the fighters got to go home that night. That one didn’t get to go anywhere else … ever. Ugly business that, I still get bad vibes when I play in a downstairs room.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Wow Ross. That must’ve been traumatic and I’m really sorry that happened.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

If I was in a pub and a fight broke out I’d leave on the spot. I detest violence.

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Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

I just recalled an incident back in the early 80’s when I was playing a pub gig ( heavy rock). Our very talented lead guitarist, who was Irish, was a very placid guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly. For no apparent reason, one male punter took a disliking to him and came up between sets to challenge him to a fight. We were all getting concerned. Our guitarist however remained cool. Eventually. when the chest-thumping moron seemed to be at his most threatening our guitarist said, “Look mate, I have no idea how to fight so no matter what, I refuse, but I warn you that I do know how to make a car bomb.” I think his Irish accent must have helped because the chest banger quickly disappeared.

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Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Many years ago I went to see an accordion player called Les perform at The Falkland Arms in Liverpool .He was all set up and just about to start when a fight kicked off. He tapped the microphone and in a cheery compere like manner anounced “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to fight night at the Falklands ” then started playing , which took the heat out of the situation

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Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

This happened a few months ago at my local session – although it was incidental to the session, no musicians were involved. It was not a busy night, just a handful of people enjoying a quiet pint whilst listening (or not) to the music. Then, all of a sudden, a young, well-built, well-tattooed, man came bolting out of the pool room at the back of the pub into the front bar and, without a word, launched himself at another young man (perhaps a similar age but much more slight of build), who was standing close to where we were playing, minding his own business. A spirited tussle ensued, during which a standard lamp toppled over towards us, tables and chairs jolted. As musicians, our instinctive response was to make sure our instruments were safe. A couple of people were quick to step in and mediate, so there was little point in any of us getting involved anyway.

It was all over very quickly. There was a torn earlobe and a not insignificant amount of blood, but no serious injuries – and nobody fainted. We carried on playing…

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

There was also an incident I witnessed once in a pub in London, which was directly related to the session. At the end of the night, a certain player of an instrument that shall remain unnamed, who also happened to be the session organiser, approached the publican to get paid – like at most sessions in London, there was a paid group of ‘anchor’ musicians. It is a given at such sessions that sometimes one or more of the regular musicians will be unavailable and worthy replacements will be called in. On this occasion, two of the ‘billed’ musicians were absent; the publican was not happy at all and flatly refused to pay. Much colourful language was exchanged and the organiser came back to report to the musicians that should have been paid. Naturally, nobody was going to back down that easily and, after stewing for a few moments, the organiser picked up a heavy glass ashtray from a table (this was pre-smoking-ban) and hurled it, frisbee fashion, at the publican. Managing to dodge its impact, he stormed out from behind the bar, purple-faced, fists raised. Interestingly, it was one of the London Irish music scenes most notoriously volatile characters that stepped in to calm things down.

I don’t remember whether any money was eventually extracted from the publican – I doubt it. (Not being one of the paid musicians, it did not affect me directly.) But I have a feeling it was the grand finale for that session.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

A fight nearly happened when one of the session players in our group asked a few lads if they’d be less noisy at the bar .Sometimes you’re always competing with the TV or noisy punters

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

I recall playing in a session in a packed bar at Buttevant horse fair, as you can imagine it was a hard crowd packed to the gills with Travelers . I dont know what set our banjo player off , some disrespect id guess , he being a Cork Traveler himself but all of a sudden he struck some guy with the banjo , though quite how he was able to swing it in there im not sure!
If you’ve ever seen or dealt with a rearing stallion there is a very distinctive look in their eyes , he had that look in his eyes!
Anyhow thinking on my feet i basically dragged him away and out before it really kicked off , fast … as you can imagine it could have gone ballistic in there , maybe literally !!

Close call

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

If a fight breaks out, play Ed Reavy’s “Hughie’s Cap.”

“A favorite story of Ed’s tells of Hughie, an easygoing sort who had a fierce look when he wore a certain cap. Friends would take Hughie along whenever a fight was anticipated. One look from Hughie and his cap would silence the most quarrelsome bullies. One night, as it would happen, Hughie’s friends found themselves in the worst sort of mix and quickly looked for Hughie’s help. But Hughie, alas, had ventured out this time without his menacing capeen. “Oh God,” one exclaimed, “somebody go fetch Hughie’s cap, or there’ll be hell to pay for all of us this night!”” ~ Joe Reavy

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Kentucky fiddler Jim Woodward reckoned the tune “Midnight” was so odd that if played late in the evening it would start a fight and get the musicians a rest!

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

I was at a session some years ago where one musician tried squaring up to another one. I can’t remember what set Musician Y off, but Musician X is one of the most mild-mannered guys you’ll meet. He kept saying, “It’s cool, mate. Let’s be cool and just play some tunes.” Y asked if X was too scared to fight him and was keen to take it outside for a punch up. X kept it together, and the bar manager, a tough lady who you did not want to piss off, ejected Y from the pub. I just wished I was somewhere else, as did everyone else.

During Willie Week, I did once emerge from a pub on the main street of Miltown Malbay to find two guys (probably not musicians) beating the living sh1t out of each other in front of the pub across the road. One guy was on the ground, and the other dude was pummeling him. There was quite a lot of blood. A garda car cruised past, and my mate and I flagged them down and pointed to the carnage. The cop shrugged and went on his merry way. Just a Saturday night in Miltown during the festival.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

I was playing a few tunes with a fiddler in the beer garden of an Irish pub in Chiang Mai once when a local guy stormed in in a rage looking for some lass who’d dumped him (luckily she wasn’t there), pulled out a 9mm and fired a few rounds in the air. We left promptly and there were no more tunes that night. I was in a different bar a few nights later rather drunk and saw the guy at the bar and suggested to him that his behavior in the beer garden had been a bit over the top and the I was owed an apology. Instead he gave me a swift kicking! Not quite a fight at a session, but a beating at a session at one remove!

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

@sergeant fox: Given his behaviour in the beer garden, I think you got off lightly.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Never happened. Not even close. Thankfully.

I abhor violence, nastiness, confrontation or even bad manners. No excuses.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Not at “my” session, but at a session I visited once. The guy who was leading it got into a massive shouting argument with another guy, seemingly over who was sitting in what chair. The other guy eventually stormed off. Neither acquitted himself very well, but the session leader was a pompous jagoff for the rest of the night, so I never went back.

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A while back now.
Survived a session in Manchester (at the Jolly Angler i think?)
Went for a swift kebab on the Curry Mile after and all hell broke loose in the kebab shop. I have no idea why, but it was a wild affray. Eyes down on the kebab and hope we were not RSVP’d to this event…

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Something has been bothering me since this topic was launched, and it suddenly resurfaced. (Fair enough - it had to travel a long way through the space and time continuum.)

Not only did the fight break out, but a visiting German Ethnomusicologist* captured it all on his acetate disc recorder….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8Y2SSKxZHY&ab_channel=MarkHolding


*If you listen carefully, you can hear him trying to protect his recording machine in the melee that follows…

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

I was expecting this thread to be mostly about musicians engaging in fisticuffs. Despite my disappointment it was still very amusing. (I’m kidding.)

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Actually, I was at a fight once and a session broke out.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

A fight broke out between a cook and server in the kitchen in our Upstate NY session. Never spilled out into the main pub area but lots of swearing and noise of pots and pans being thrown about. Cops escorted both parties out. Cued up the “Cook in the Kitchen”.

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2010. Derry. Late at night. I had been traveling to Ireland annually for several years but had been playing the whistle for only about 3 months, so was keen to see a real session (a gig, as it turned out). My travel partner and I sat close to the musicians’ table, enjoying the craic and the tunes, when nearby a melee arose, a great upwelling of bodies and noise. In an instant, the young barman vaulted the bar, waded into the maelstrom, and emerged with his hands on the nape and belt of the perpetrator. The crowd parted to let them through, the barman tossed the punter onto the sidewalk and returned to his station. The tunes continued without a pause. I was in my early 60s at the time and had never, ever, observed such a scene--and have never since.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

A few years ago fight broke out at the regular pub session I run in South Devon, between two of the regular session participants, a singer and a percussionist, both in their early 70s, certainly old enough to know better. A couple of tables went flying, and I managed to separate them, it was over very quickly.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Fighting isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m not talking about blunt force trauma to the skull; but a bit of rough housing may/can relieve pent up frustrations. Certainly with all the passive-aggressive tendencies in some circles direct physical interaction may be just what the doctor ordered; so to speak.

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Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Violence is not a good idea. Some people take things too far once that ball is set in motion.

I agree on the passive aggressive stuff though. There’s a lot of that at sessions especially among certain camps.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

If playing an air, or in a minor key, instantly change to a fast jig to enhance the excitement. For that true wild frontier bar atmosphere, I recommend the Irish Washerwoman.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Years ago. At a pub I shall not name.

I was playing what was my favourite set at the time when two of the musicians started going at each other, on the other side of the table, right opposite me. It got annoyed about them choosing that exact moment to exchange a couple of punches and some unpleasantries so I kept playing and finished the set, as did many of the others 😄

In the end it was a little thing. The two folk have been friends for many years, but I still remember the day, as that’s something that had never happened to me before (and has never happened since then).

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Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Gotta say, some good ones, funny ones, and unfortunately sad ones in this list.

Thanks everyone who shared. 🙂

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Okay so I’m at this session, but it’s not like any session you’d usually go to. Everyone is on bicyclettes, about 100 of them. The sun is shining, it’s a hot day, and people are smiling and singing, saying ‘bonjour!’ to all the pedestrians who are trapped, sweating in their cars.

I’m not aware of this but we are outside an Infant School where a kid had died of asthma the week before. But that can’t be right because people are happily singing.

I slow down my trike with a melodeon in the back and someone in a car cuts me up and knocks over two cyclists. Now he’s jumping out, shouting about ‘la merde’ and pointing at scratches on his car. The poor guy is drunk, grossly overweight and swinging punches in slow motion. Everyone is offended and some of the fitter cyclists are taking turns doing Muhammad Ali impressions, dancing like butterflies. Lots of shouting, it’s chaos.

So I get off my trike, bring along the melodeon and wonder what tune the combatants would appreciate. So I play ‘the Bear Dance’, but really fast in exaggerated 2/4 time. Its not working so now I am barking like a dog at the cyclists at first, and then at the driver.

Everyone suddenly stops and turns around and looks at me as though I’m the one who’s mad. It’s as though somehow I’ve broken the rules. The driver takes a deep breath and slumps back into his car, and the merry bicycles take off again singing another joyful song.

A couple of days later someone tells me that the Gendarmes want to talk to me, the instigator of violence.
The accordionist.

Now that’s ironic.

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

Thread drift, but reminds me of an item in the obituary of a singer-guitarist of my acquaintance: he had a reputation for spreading good cheer, and apparently once, guitar in hand, stepped into a late-night confrontation between some Chinese police and Russian soldiers, and soon was leading them all in a sing-along ….

Re: A fight broke out at your session, what did you do?

There’s no shortage of punch-up pubs around the archipelago, and they’re not all in Glesca by any means (although, if you’re looking . . . ).

Very little intersection with diddly-diddly pubs though.