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"We’re from Los Angeles and we wanted to give [our fans] kind of a hometown thank you. But we’re definitely overwhelmed and stressed out at how things turned out."
——System of a Down's Serj Tankian
SYSTEM OF A DOWN SHOW
GETS UGLY
Fire Officials Cancel Show Before It Begins, 10,000 Fans Create Entertainment of Their Own
What was meant to be "a beautiful day in L.A." turned sour late Monday (9/3) afternoon when a crowd gathered for a free System Of A Down concert in the heart of Hollywood stormed the stage and tussled with police.

The scheduled show, a KROQ-sponsored promotional gig for today’s release of the Columbia band’s album Toxicity, was expected to draw 3,500 fans, but, according to some reports, over 10,000 showed up, creating a concern for police. Fire officials canceled the concert before the group had taken the stage and called in police. According to the Los Angeles Times, fans angry at being shut out of the fenced in parking lot set aside for the show started climbing over barricades and throwing rocks and bottles.

Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Jason Lee, described the scene as "a small disturbance" and told the Times that about 160 officers, including some on horseback, took about 30 minutes to disperse the crowd using "less than lethal" riot control methods. While Lee wouldn’t be specific as to what that meant, Reuters reported that tear gas and rubber bullets were used.

Lee added that nearby automobiles were damaged and windows of neighboring businesses were smashed. Adjacent streets looked like war zones, people at the concert said.

No one was seriously hurt, but six people were arrested for such offenses as assault with a deadly weapon, felony vandalism and receiving stolen property.

"People were tired of being here all day," one 17-year-old concertgoer told the Times. Many in the crowd feared the show was being canceled and started throwing quarters, then "we ran out of change," said another 17-year-old fan, "so we started throwing bricks."

A spokeswoman for System Of A Down's record company told Reuters the group offered in vain to play if it would help restore calm. But by then, fans had jumped onto the stage, toppled large speaker stacks, and damaged or made off with the group's expensive equipment.

The band's manager told a local TV station the melee was "absolutely, 100% avoidable." If officials had let the band play their music or explain the problem, "there was still a remedy, there was still a way to get out of that situation," David Benveniste told KABC-TV.

Another TV news report quoted Benveniste as saying that $30,000 worth of the band's equipment was destroyed or stolen.

"It was meant to be a beautiful day in L.A.," lead singer Serj Tankian told the Times. "We’re from Los Angeles and we wanted to give [our fans] kind of a hometown thank you. But we’re definitely overwhelmed and stressed out at how things turned out."

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