Mic Grabbing and Face Punching: Anal Cunt’s 1993 Concert Mishap

Anal Cunt's 1993 concert at Nightbreak was more than just a musical event. It was a night of broken glasses, a broken nose, and a felony assault charge that was later downgraded to a misdemeanor.

Mic Grabbing and Face Punching: Anal Cunt's 1993 Concert Mishap
Seth Putnam

In the annals of grindcore history, few bands have left a mark as Anal Cunt. Known for their cacophonous style and controversial lyrics, the band, also known as AxCx and A.C., was a fixture of the American grindcore scene since their formation in Newton, Massachusetts in 1988. However, it was their off-stage antics, particularly those of frontman Seth Putnam, that often stole the limelight.

One such incident occurred on August 26, 1993, during a performance at Nightbreak, a venue in San Francisco, California. The band, notorious for their unpredictable live shows, kicked off their set with “Iron Funeral”, a track as subtle as a sledgehammer to the eardrums. This was swiftly followed by “Blur Including New H.C. Song”, a number that continued their auditory assault.

The band was known for their confrontational style, but this night would take it to a whole new level.

As the second song was underway, a woman later identified as Elizabeth Quigley decided to grab the microphone from Putnam. Whether she was a disgruntled fan or just someone who had had enough of the noise is unclear. What is clear, however, is that Putnam didn’t take kindly to this interruption. In a move as shocking as their lyrics, Putnam turned around and punched Quigley in the face, breaking her nose and glasses.

The police were called, and Putnam was arrested, initially charged with felony assault. However, the charge was later reduced to a misdemeanour. This incident, while extreme, was somewhat indicative of the band’s controversial behaviour, especially that of Putnam. It was a night that would go down in grindcore infamy, a stark reminder of the thin line between performance and violence, between noise and harm.

Despite the controversy, or perhaps because of it, Anal Cunt continued to be a significant force in the grindcore scene until their disbandment in 2011. Their music, their antics, and their legacy continue to be a topic of discussion among fans and critics alike. As for that night in 1993, it serves as a stark reminder of the power and the danger of pushing boundaries, both in music and in behaviour.