Last night’s Keane concert at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works venue was cut short after 45 minutes when a transformer on the same street overheated and caught fire, cutting the power to the street, the building and the show.
Many concert attendees expressed concern about the slow process of evacuation during what they thought could be an actual fire emergency. The owners of Marathon Music Works responded on their Facebook page by stating that there never was an emergency and the evacuation was only to be on the safe side. “In the case of an threat to life safety our pre-recorded EVAC announcement would have been triggered automatically and immediately, the strobes would have initiated, and the building alarm would have sounded,” the venue wrote.
Marathon Music Works is an old converted car factory located in Marathon Village, a neighborhood off of downtown Nashville. With a standing-room capacity of 1500, the room was full. No drunkenness or misbehaving — this group was here to see the band. During Keane’s performance, unprompted sing-alongs were the norm, even on songs from the band’s new album, Strangeland.
In the middle of performing “Silenced By the Night,” lead singer Tom Chaplin’s mic went silent. He kept singing without a hitch, while the band played on and the audience sang along without losing a beat. Afterwards, Chaplin and his technicians ran around on stage trying to figure out what went wrong. Security and others started running around the venue with urgency. After about five minutes, security started telling the crowd to exit through the back door. Those that didn’t hear them were left confused about what was going on, and wondering if the concert was going to resume. Those who had waited on line for hours to get prime standing spots near the stage were reluctant to leave, not knowing if the show was really over.
Outside, Keane band members, who were hanging around near their bus, started greeting fans through the chain-link fence and signing autographs and posing for pictures. Patrick Watson, Keane’s opening act, put on an impromptu street concert outside the venue for the crowds.
When asked about a refund, Marathon Music Works had this to say, again via Facebook: “Refunding tickets is complicated due to the multiple parties involved including the band, promoter, and venue. We are all working on a plan but need time to make a determination of how best to handle this. We will be in touch Friday.”
Keane sent out this Tweet in response to the incident:
So sorry we couldn’t finish the set tonight. #Nashville was kicking, we were having such a good night. RH
— Keane (@keaneofficial) June 22, 2012
– Liz Bradley, 92.9 dave fm; additional reporting by Janice Soled