Concert at the Royal Court that ended in violence and saw a Beastie Boy appear in court

‘Beastie Boy faces the music’ read the front page of the Liverpool ECHO on November 10, 1987.

The Beastie Boy in question was singer and guitarist Adam Horovitz, also known as Ad-Rock, who appeared in Liverpool Magistrates’ Court charged with assault causing grievous bodily harm. The incident in question took place at the Royal Court Theater in Liverpool on May 30, 1987, when a concert by the American rap group descended into violence and was called off after just 11 minutes.

The splash from ECHO on the date of the court appearance began: ‘A concert in Liverpool by the famous pop group Beastie Boy ended in an uproar when one of the band members threw a can of beer in the audience, punching a girl in the face, a court heard today. It was the culmination of a concert that started badly and only got worse.

READ MORE: Chaos hits the streets of Liverpool as The Beatles make a triumphant return to town

The Beastie Boys toured the world after the release of their debut album, the now unmissable “Licensed to Ill”. The first rap album to top the Billboard charts in the US, it caused a stir and the group arrived in the UK with a well-developed reputation as a rebel.

The UK leg of the tour was brief and had already attracted tabloid attention before he arrived for his final night, which will be held at Liverpool’s Royal Court in front of 3,000 fans on a Saturday evening. Liverpool-born broadcaster Roger Bennett attended the gig and wrote about it in his book ‘Reborn in the USA’, which was serialized in GQ.

A teenager Roger and his friends, who called themselves the ‘Liverpool College Breaking Crew’, traveled to the royal court to watch their heroes. However, things happened soon enough.

Exactly how the problems started remains controversial. Roger said the Beastie Boys came to the Royal Court with the rather emphatic statement: “F*** you, Liverpool.” He wrote: “That riff could have been the standard Beastie Boy stage pattern, a swagger that worked perfectly well in Los Angeles, Chicago, Brighton or Birmingham. But Liverpool are different.”

Other fans told The People newspaper that the Beatie Boys threw beer cans into the crowd, sparking violence. No matter how it started, the band had barely made it through the opening bars of their debut song before the first can of beer sailed from an angry crowd onto the stage. It quickly devolved from there.

Roger added, “They hadn’t gotten halfway through their first song and were now in danger of completely losing control of the show. A barrage of cans started flying from the balcony.”

As the angry crowd continued to make their feelings known, the band refused to back down. Roger said Ad-Rock went backstage and returned with a baseball bat, which he used to push beer cans into the crowd. One of the cans, which was allegedly thrown into the crowd by Ad-Rock, struck a young woman in the face.

The Beastie Boys walked off the stage and the crowd was dispersed by police using tear gas. As they left the venue, much of the audience reportedly chanted “We’ve tamed the Beastie Boys”.

The concert received a lot of attention and Tory MP Harry Greenway wanted the band banned from performing in Britain. He said: “Their presence can no longer be tolerated in this country. Wherever they go, they leave a trail of chaos in their wake.”

The New York Times reported that two men and two women were treated at Royal Liverpool Hospital for minor head and facial injuries. A police spokesman told the Mirror that five people were arrested at the gig and added: “There was a lot of annoyance between the audience and the band but we have no idea what happened. started. It’s all very vague at the moment. The only good thing is that the Beastie Boys are on their way back to London – thank goodness.”

It was in London that Ad-Rock was arrested and charged with assault causing grievous bodily harm. He was released on bail to travel to Japan for the next leg of the Beasties World Tour. However, magistrates ordered him to return to England by July 21 to face a possible trial.

Accused of throwing a can of beer head-on into the public, Ad-Rock appeared before magistrates in Liverpool on November 10, 1987. He was found not guilty.

Elizabeth J. Harless