Cold Cave’s shows in Toronto and Montreal scheduled for this week have been cancelled amidst controversy surrounding the New York dark wave band’s tour-mate Boyd Rice (a.k.a. NON). Rice, a pioneer of noise music, has come under fire due to alleged past affiliations with Nazi imagery and ideology. Rice has often attempted to distance himself from the accusations, claiming his associations to be deliberate provocation and “pranks,” but as with other musicians who have flirted with Fascist signifiers, it carries too much baggage to shake off with a “just kidding.”
Cold Cave and Boyd Rice were scheduled to play at The Shop @ Parts & Labour tonight (Wednesday, June 26) in Toronto, but the promoter, Embrace, pulled the plug. The show was then rebooked for the same night at Izakaya Sushi House, but that too has now been cancelled.
Here’s the full explanation Jason Whitney, booker of the Izakaya show, posted on Tumblr:
I regret to inform you that tonight’s Cold Cave show is cancelled. I’m sorry to do this on such short notice but I have just now come to realize the severity of the situation. I was the only person behind this show and I realized that the consequences of doing it were not worth it to me.
Realize that I was doing this show as a Cold Cave show, not a Boyd Rice show. Cold Cave is one of my favourite bands so I jumped at the opportunity to book them when Embrace pulled the show. I knew Boyd was the reason that the show had been pulled in the first place and that people held strong opinions about him. I have never met him so I can’t speak for his character, and am in no way defending him, but he seems as someone who has done all the things he’s done for shock value. As someone who identifies as Jewish, I would not be doing the show if I believed he was a nazi or was going to push some sort of agenda or hate speech.
People have every right to believe what they want and every right to express it, but the pressure that has been placed on me because of this is not worth the stress that I’ve endured. I tried to keep my cool but it has all caught up to me.
My sincere apologies to anyone who was offended by my picking up the show, know that I had no ill intent. To me, Boyd was merely someone who was going to perform for 40 minutes before Cold Cave played. I was excited at the opportunity to book Cold Cave and didn’t think about the people that felt so strongly about Boyd, and didn’t realize what would happen by booking him along with Cold Cave.
As for the people who were looking forward to the show, I thank you for all the support I received, I’m sorry I couldn’t follow through but I was made aware that I would be alienating myself and putting myself at risk but doing this show, and decided that it was not worth that. I’m sure Wes will be back, and I thank him as well for his understanding with this.
Know that in the end I was the only person involved in booking this show. Thank you to the one person who contacted me directly about the situation. If you would like to discuss things further you can reach me at email@example.com
Cold Cave and Boyd Rice were also scheduled to play a show tomorrow (Thursday, June 26) at Montreal venue Il Motore, but Meyer Billurcu, owner of both the venue and its promotion company, Blue Skies Turn Black, cancelled the show last month. He offered the following statement on the concert’s Facebook event page:
As the owner of both Il Motore and Blue Skies Turn Black, I want to extend a formal and very sincere apology to those of you who were disheartened by Boyd Rice’s impending performance at my venue. When I initially booked Cold Cave, I was not aware of whom they were bringing on tour as support.
Both BSTB and Il Motore have a strict zero-tolerance policy towards any and all forms of prejudice, misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia and violence.
For these reasons, we have decided to cancel the Cold Cave show on June 27th altogether.
I am truly grateful for your understanding and continued support,