Singapore Authorities Cancel Watain Show

  • Axl Rosenberg

Although you may never have suspected as much, it turns out that chillin’ with Nazis is bad for business.

The Straits Times reports that Watain’s first-ever concert in Singapore, which was scheduled to take place tonight (March 7) at EBX Live Space, has been called off “following concerns raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).” The show had previously been approved by IMDA (the Infocomm Media Development Authority, a statutory boards of the Singapore government), albeit under strict conditions: no attendees under age eighteen, a limited attendance capacity (“200 or so”), and “the removal of songs which are religiously offensive” as well as any “references to religion or use[of] religious symbols.” They also forbade Watain from performing “ritualistic acts” on stage. Honestly, I have no idea how the heck Watain were gonna be able to play anything with those limitations in place — it would be like telling Rob Zombie that he can’t scream “YEAH!” even once during a show — but I guess figuring that out is a moot point now.

Said Singapore’s Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam of the decision to cancel the gig:

“[O]ver the last few days, there were a lot of concerns expressed and if you look at the band they do have a history, very offensive towards Christians, Jews, supportive of violence including… the burning of churches. They have even said they encourage any terrorist act committed in the name of the band and various other statements which are quite offensive.”

The “concerns” to Shanmugam refers may or may not have arisen as a result of this change.org petition, which calls for a ban of “Satanic music groups” from performing in Singapore, asserting that “These heavy metal bands do not represent the culture which we want in our youths. Their subliminal messages in their songs include death and suicide.” Watain is one of two bands specifically named in the petition, which, as of this writing, has more than 17,000 signatures. Shanmugam did not address anything about the Satanism alleged in the petition.

The other band named in the petition is Soilwork, who are scheduled to play the same venue on October 29. No word on whether or not that will still happen, but given that it’s a twelve hour flight from Sweden to Singapore, one would hope they’d let the band know more than a few hours in advance. In any case, while Watain’s past is certainly, um, questionable (to put it mildly), Soilwork are not generally known for Satanic imagery or addressing religion in their lyrics. So it seems as though they have been dragged into this brouhaha simply as the result of being a metal band.

We’ll let you know if the Soilwork show is, indeed, also called off. Meanwhile, hopefully Watain use that long flight back home to sit quietly and think about what they’ve done.

Thanks: Ranpal C. 

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