SHANNON Noll has offered up two middle fingers to critics of his infamous “beer can” rant.
Last month, footage emerged of the Idol singer abusing and threatening to punch an audience member at a show in Nyngan, in regional NSW.
His remarks were widely condemned and he immediately issued a public apology for his behaviour.
But at Penrith Panthers Leagues Club, on the outskirts of Sydney, Noll blamed media “bulls**t” rather than his own actions for the controversy.
“They all made out like it was just one can, you know what I mean?” he told the crowd last night, referring to news coverage of the video. “We were there for 80 minutes and there were 35 cans thrown at us onstage. So it wasn’t just the one that was reported.
“We only stuck out there because we knew the event would suffer if we didn’t, so we tried to do the right thing. But I tell you what — when a flying can’s coming within 30 metres of your forehead about 15 times, you start to get sick of it.
“So I appreciate that you’re not reading into that bulls**t, and coming out to support me.”
Judging by the vibe in Penrith though, no one is here ironically.
The audience — which ranges from loud, jacked-up meat-heads in their 20s to dancing, fawning women in their 60s — is drunk on Noll’s energy and hangs onto his every word.
Later on, in the lead-up to his 2005 hit Lift, Noll addressed the incident again.
“I’ve had a lot of people in the industry messaging me saying, ‘Man, I feel so bad for you, for what you’re going through at the moment’,” he said. “With all the turmoil and all the crap I’m copping at the moment, I just think of all the good things going on in my career … that’s what makes me go —’ he gives two massive middle fingers to the crowd — “That’s what keeps me going forward.”
“This song’s done more good than any of you big-mouthed wankers will ever do with their whole friggin’ lives, so I don’t care, they can say whatever they want,” he finishes, before launching into the song.
Noll unleashed the expletive-laden rant after a beer can was tossed on stage while he performed at the Duck Creek Picnic Races last month.
“Whoever threw that, come up here,” he said to the crowd.
“Come on then, that f***head in the tie. You’re a f***ing maggot. Have some f***ing balls to come up here … cheapshot prick.
“Shame that motherf***er right there. F***ing private school stupid f***head motherf***er. Have some balls and get up here and I’ll punch your f***ing teeth down your throat … then I’ll f*** your missus and your mum.
“Let’s everybody else, apart from that f***stick, sing along to that song, okay, here we go. I’ll give someone 00 bucks to punch that f*** for me.
“Enough with the haters, f*** the haters. There’s too many good looking girls here. That c*** couldn’t get a root in a f***ing … plague.”
His remarks were widely condemned in the Australian media. Fairfax journalist Kasey Edwards described the incident as “sickening and indefensible”, and symptomatic of Australia’s wider problem with rape culture and toxic masculinity.
Former fans said he had been “inciting violence”, and that it was “tasteless and uncalled for”.
It didn’t help that the rant ran parallel to Noll’s endorsement of loud-and-proud Australian patriotism — the theme of his latest album Unbroken.
Noll issued an apology to the public, saying it was “no excuse for the way I spoke” and “I feel deeply sorry for the terrible things I said that were purely out of frustration”.
A few years prior to the incident, Noll’s popularity experienced something of an ironic resurgence.
In 2016, a string of humorous memes about the singer started making the rounds — ranging from his being “robbed” of Idol victory to his long-gone trademark “flavour savour” goatee. Thousands signed petitions calling for him to be included in the Groovin’ The Moo and Splendour line-ups.
It was all a piss-take of Noll’s Aussie machismo; part-classist, part-internet mean-spiritedness, but ultimately done in good humour.
There’s laughter as he flexes onstage, whooping as he holds the microphone stand above his head, and cheers of approval as he rants about politicians and political correctness.
“This album is probably more personal than any other album I’ve put out,” he tells the crowd. “And one thing I’ll tell you about me I really love the country I was born in. I’m really proud to be Australian.”
At this point he stops, lifts up his shirt and points to the trademark Southern Cross tattoo above his left nipple, with a big smile on his face.
The crowd goes wild. Seriously — you will not find a more enthusiastic response to an inked nipple than in this room.
An inspired Noll goes on: “I tell you what, in this bloody day and age, they’re making people feel scared to be patriotic like that. It’s a wonderful country that we live in, and we should all be proud, and it’s a bloody privilege to live in such a wonderful country, with the company we’ve got. It’s just all these bloody politicians that stuff that up. S**thouse! Bloody s**thouse!”
Call it vague ear candy, but for better or for worse, it works. The energy stays high as Noll belts, fist-pumps and daggily gyrates his way through new songs, old favourites like Drive and Learn To Fly, and classics like Guns N Roses’ Sweet Child O Mine, before ending on a high with his biggest hit What About Me.
Evidently there are still some Aussies out there in whom Noll will always have a genuine fan base.
No matter how bad his rants get.