DETROIT — Everlast’s very public battle with Eminem became more than just lyrical Friday night: The Eat at Whitey’s rapper/singer saw his show at St. Andrews Hall halted by a brawl — apparently sparked by his onstage anti-Eminem comments.
Concertgoers threw bottles and chairs and surged to the venue’s double doors after a group of unidentified men — one of whom took the mic and asked the crowd if it was “going to let this motherf—er come to Detroit and disrespect Eminem” — overtook security and forced Everlast to flee the stage. Three people were treated for injuries at Detroit Receiving Hospital, police told the Detroit Free Press on Saturday.
The former House of Pain leader was just three songs into his abbreviated set when he fired his first barb at the Detroit-grown Eminem, with whom he’s been sparring lyrically since late last year (see “DFX: Everlast Swings Back In Eminem Battle” ): “I love Detroit, despite some of the people that have come out of here.”
Also during the show, Everlast called Eminem a “f—ing midget,” criticized Eminem’s Detroit group D-12 and issued a challenge to concertgoers.
“The mic is open if there’s someone from Eminem’s camp who’s here,” he said, pausing to offer the microphone. “Didn’t think so.”
Fifteen seconds after Everlast and backing band the White Folx slid into the next song, “Black Coffee,” chaos burst through the venue as security guards ran through the crowd.
Several unidentified men fought through security, trying to get to the stage. Everlast picked up his guitar (apparently in self-defense) and slid to the side of the stage; seconds later he dropped the guitar and fled the venue.
One of the assailants took the microphone, yelling at the crowd before power to the stage was cut. Fans threw beer bottles and chairs at the stage while the man swung a microphone stand wildly. The crowd surged to the walls amidst the bedlam, and began to squeeze through the double doors at the back of the venue as a security guard lay bleeding on the floor.
“One of the men picked up a mic stand and started swinging it,” said 18-year-old Justin Ross, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, who knelt beside the fallen security guard. “He hit one man in the shoulder, grazed the head of another and caught [the security guard] square in the forehead with the base of the stand. It cut him wide open.”
“I thought it was a joke,” said Detroit resident Amy Villeneuve, 24, who said she was completely unaware of any conflict between Everlast and Eminem.
John Bronicki, 35, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, wasn’t surprised by the events of the evening. “[Everlast and Eminem are] bad-mouthing each other all the time.”
Security at St. Andrews Hall had no comment about the brawl. Spokespeople for Eminem were unavailable at press time.
On Monday afternoon, Everlast’s record label, Tommy Boy Music, addressed the incident in a statement that read, “Tommy Boy Music, Deluxe Entertainment and Everlast regret the unfortunate circumstances of Friday night at Detroit’s St. Andrews Hall. Everlast did not want to end his show abruptly, however to ensure the audience’s safety he felt it necessary to do so. Everlast appreciates the support and concern of his fans in Detroit.”
The lyrical battle between the two began with Everlast’s guest rap on Dilated Peoples’ “Ear Drums Pop,” in which Everlast — who claims Slim Shady snubbed him before a concert in 1999 — raps, “I’ll buck a 380 on those who act shady.” Eminem responded with the D-12 B-side “I Remember,” swiping at Everlast’s music and health problems. Everlast struck back with “Whitey’s Revenge,” prompting Eminem to record “Quitter” with D-12, in which he calls on fans to attack Everlast: “Hit him with sticks, bricks, rocks, throw sh– at him, trip him, spit on him, treat him like a ’ho, bitch slap him,” Eminem raps on the track.
Before the set-ending brawl, Everlast also spat venom at Smash Mouth — who covered House of Pain’s “Jump Around” on a recent tour — calling them “faggots.” Moments later he retracted it, saying that he didn’t want to disrespect the gay population. His rants continued with slams of rap-rockers Limp Bizkit, whom Everlast accused of musically using “his blueprint,” declaring that he’s been “doing that since ’92.”
Everlast had cruised through a balanced show with songs from both 1998’s Whitey Ford Sings the Blues and 2000’s gold-selling Eat at Whitey’s.
Sporting a brown button-down shirt and a tight-fitting winter hat, Everlast opened with “Whitey,” the first track off Eat at Whitey’s. He kept the pacing of the beginning songs slower, as if he were building the set to a crescendo. His raspy voice cascaded through “Death Comes Calling” and “Ends,” both from 1998’s Whitey Ford Sings the Blues.
Religiously titled “Black Jesus” and “Babylon Feeling,” from Eat at Whitey’s, were played back to back. “Babylon Feeling” features guitar virtuoso Carlos Santana on the album cut, and the White Folx did a stellar job replicating his searing guitar licks.
Following a cover of Gang Starr’s “Just Get a Rep,” from their 1991 album, Step into the Arena, Everlast broke out into “Jump Around.” With the crowd pogoing to the beat, Everlast was at his most animated, hopping around the stage during the chorus.