“The motive for the attack remains a mystery. Moby had just finished performing a two-hour-plus set that began with songs from his albums Play and 18, plus older, more dance-oriented material. It was a triumphant clubland homecoming that climaxed with a charming set of cover songs from artists as diverse as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Radiohead. Moby was attacked when signing autographs after the show.” This happens in the context of the legendary intolerance of Boston; the simmering feud between Moby and Eminem; and perhaps, by extension, between the dance and hip hop worlds in general. Was it veiled, or not-so-veiled, homophobia? ‘brawn against brains’?
”Perceived weakness in America prompts a strong reaction,” said Boston University social history professor Joseph Boskin. ”If someone is perceived as effeminate, it prompts an even stronger reaction. What goes over big in popular culture is a sense of authority, a sense of masculinity.”
And even Moby has confessed that his music is not particularly masculine.
”A lot of these kids, white and black, want music that reaffirms their masculinity,” he told Spin magazine. ”I’m straight, but I love going to house-music clubs and flirting with women and gay men. This is a leap most of America seems unprepared to make.”
At the Paradise show, Moby endured heckling from at least two men. One, clearly under the influence and perhaps mistaking the diminutive performer for Axl Rose, yelled ”I want to hear some rock ‘n’ roll!”
Referring to the World Wrestling Federation, Moby shot back, ”There’s something about the whole guttural voice thing that’s so WWF.” Boston Globe