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Erik Burgess, Published September 26 2012

Rehab lead singer allegedly punches fan at Nestor

FARGO – For one fan, a rock concert here Tuesday night was a real hit parade – in more ways than one.

Fargo man Jody Lamb, 30, said he was dancing along at a show at the Nestor Tavern here when the lead singer of headlining group Rehab, Danny “Boone” Alexander, stopped mid-song, jumped off stage and socked him one in the eye.

“I was having a really good time, and then next thing you know the guy’s punching me in the face,” he said.

The band, a southern rock and hip-hop group from Georgia, is perhaps best known for their 2008 single “Bartender Song (Sittin’ at a Bar),” which hit No. 64 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

The fight has since moved to the Internet. Posts on the band’s page on Facebook posted under Rehab’s name defended the singer and placed the blame for the incident on Lamb.

Someone posting from the Rehab’s Facebook profile on Wednesday wrote: “If you saw it then you know. Rehab doesn’t act like that, nothing of the sort has ever occurred in 10 straight years of touring.”

Lamb says he was on the dance floor in the middle of Rehab’s set when the band suddenly stopped playing and Alexander started shouting at him. Lamb said he couldn’t understand him but asked him to keep playing.

When Lamb turned to walk away, Alexander caught him with a right hook.

“I’m still trying to figure out what the heck I did to actually warrant something like that,” said Lamb, who considers himself a “very nice guy” and a regular at shows in the metro area.

After the incident, Lamb said he was informally escorted out of the bar by the band’s fans.

The bar’s manager, Rob McCloskey, was bartending that night. Although he didn’t see the incident, he vouched for Lamb, who he said has been in the Nestor multiple times without incident.

“It’s the most unprofessional, ridiculous thing that I’ve seen from any band,” McCloskey said, reflecting on his 10 years of bar experience. “There’s never a reason to jump off the stage and hit someone that paid 20 bucks to come see your band play.”

An official with the band’s Tennessee-based management firm – Average Joes Management – declined to comment and said they were still looking into the matter.

The Fargo man did file a police report on Wednesday morning, said Lt. Joel Vettel, and police are working on contacting witnesses and the band, whose website says they are touring the Midwest right now.

Lamb said he was not heckling the group, and he speculated the singer might have been mad at the poor turnout. If anything, he admits his dancing may have rubbed the singer the wrong way.

“I know it sounds crazy, but I was dancing too hard for the show,” he said. “I was really into it.”

After being punched, as other Rehab fans started to yell at Lamb, McCloskey said he remained very rational.

“He’s always been genuinely nice, never caused any problems. Just a happy dude,” McCloskey said.

After Lamb left, McCloskey said the lead singer did come up to apologize, but for him it was too little, too late.

“I wasn’t about to shake his hand and tell him it’s all right,” McCloskey said.

He said unfortunately the only camera watching the stage was too far away, and the lighting was too dark to catch the altercation.

Vettel said the incident is under investigation but he doesn’t suspect any arrests will be made.

The incident prompted an outpouring of comments on the Rehab Facebook page, many but not all of them critical of the band.

A fan who said she was at the show said in a post she thought Lamb was being obnoxious and “was completely asking for it.”

“I hope they will consider coming back sometime,” she said of Rehab.

One Fargo man who was not at the show criticized the band, saying in a post, “I guess you’re a two-hit wonder after last night.”

That prompted this post by Rehab: “I understand YOU MAY be frustrated cause you’re stuck in Fargo. But see we go WORLDWIDE and make a good living doing what we love.”

Yet another user criticized the band, suggesting they play a show sober once and a while. The group responded and said they were sober but Lamb was not.

Regardless of fault, the band won’t be returning for an encore at the Nestor anytime soon, McCloskey said.

“The last thing we should have to worry about is a band that we’re paying a good chunk of money to come play jumping off the stage and assaulting one of our customers,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518