A rock band accused of faking a huge social media following to land a European tour has been playing to crowds of zero – because it doesn’t have any real fans.
Threatin is suspected of paying for many of its 38,000 likes on Facebook, which it used as evidence to convince music venues that it would attract big crowds.
But in a number of UK cities just two or three fans turned up to the gigs by the band from Los Angeles – and in one case there were allegedly no paying punters at all.
The band Threatin play to a near empty room at Rebellion Manchester on Wednesday last week
At the Bristol Exchange, lead singer Jered Threatin was forced to walk to a cashpoint to withdraw £180 to cover the site’s costs before he could go on stage.
The tiny crowds have lifted the lid on what appears to be an entirely fabricated act and exposes how Facebook can be manipulated to create fake personas.
Threatin is yet to release any music in the US but used its apparent popularity on social media to book a ten-date European ‘Breaking the World Tour’.
Promotional material describes founder Threatin as a ‘hard rock icon’ and ‘one of the most promising rock artists of the last decade’.
Slick music videos were posted on YouTube but footage of their stage shows cleverly avoid showing the non-existent crowds.
But the charade began to fall apart at their first gig at The Underworld in Camden, North London, which was told that 291 tickets had been sold.
‘If you purchased tickets for tonight’s Threatin show, both of you can get refunds from the point of purchase,’ wrote the Belfast Empire on its official Twitter account
In fact, just three people up turned to the gig on November 1, the first of seven dates on the UK leg of the tour.
The Underworld later posted on Threatin’s now-deleted Facebook page: ‘What happened to the 291 advanced ticket sales your agent said you’d sold?
‘THREE PEOPLE turned up. Please don’t lie about ticket sales, and please don’t contact us again for a show.’
Undeterred, the band went on to Newcastle, Glasgow and Bristol, where the owners of the Exchange were told the promoter had sold 180 tickets.
Bartender Jonathan Minto explained: ‘We were expecting it to be a busy night because the promoter had supposedly sold 180 tickets.
‘It really seemed weird when the only people to arrive were the support band’s guest list.
The Exchange venue in Bristol now plans to host an event to help raise money for ‘everyone Threatin ripped off’
‘We had to ask Threatin to pay the venue’s hire and staff costs before anyone else played.
‘The singer eventually huffed off and withdrew the money so the show could continue – and they could play to literally zero people.
‘Turns out, Threatin are essentially a fake band – 38,000 likes on Facebook which have all be paid for.
‘The 100 or so people attending the event page – and all the other event pages for their tour – are all based in Brazil.
‘Just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all, something like this comes along. Truly amazing stuff.’
The farce continued at other venues across the UK.
The tiny crowds have lifted the lid on what appears to be an entirely fabricated act and exposes how Facebook can be manipulated to create fake personas
Manchester’s Rebellion Club tweeted a picture of Threatin playing to a crowd of two on Wednesday of last week with the caption: ‘Threatin’s SOLD OUT show here at Rebellion on Wednesday…’
Barbara Blair of Trillian’s Rock Bar in Newcastle played host to Threatin on Sunday, November 3, where only nine people watched – and these were all with the support band.
‘He said he had all these followers and all of these likes online,’ she explained.
‘But when they played there were only nine people in the crowd, and they were all friends of the support band.’
Ms Blair said she had never seen anything like it in three years of running the well-known music venue.
‘Maybe (he) was hoping people would believe the hype and turn up,’ she said.
Lead singer Jered Threatin (pictured in a publicity photo) was forced at one gig to walk to a cashpoint to withdraw £180 to cover the site’s costs before he could go on stage
Meanwhile Threatin has achieved a kind of fame, as stories of empty venues and fake fans gone viral online.
‘He clearly wanted to be famous, it looks like he’s got his wish,’ said Ms Blair. ‘If he’d been playing this week we might have had a few people come down.’
Following negative coverage the band’s tour in the music media, guitarist Joe Prunera and drummer Dane Davis are reported have quit the band mid-tour.
‘The effort that he’s gone to to portray himself as a big star is quite phenomenal,’ said Rob Moore, singer and guitarist in hardcore punk band Dogsflesh, who supported Threatin in Newcastle to an audience of four people.
‘In all the years I’ve been involved in music I’ve never known anything like this,’ he added.
Tom Kiggins travelled to Camden to play with Threatin as the guitarist in Brighton-based band Tales Of Autumn, and said: ‘We had paid for the train to commute to the gig from Brighton so promises of exposure and opportunity to network were slashed instantly and we were all left pretty annoyed and out of pocket.
All of Threatin’s social media accounts have been locked or disabled and the band website has been stripped of details
‘We left half way through his set to get home,’ he added.
A similar story played out at other venues on the tour.
Moore, who has spent the last 35 years touring the world with Dogsflesh said: ‘It was bizarre, I’ve never witnessed anything like it.’
In Bristol, Threatin allegedly promised venue manager Iwan Best that 180 tickets had been sold, more than two-thirds of the venue’s capacity, but instead it was claimed the audience consisted solely of the support bands and staff.
‘It doesn’t make any sense, there’s no end game. It’s a really extreme version of ‘fake it til you make it’,’ said Mr Best, who claimed the singer had to go to a cash point and withdraw hundreds of pounds to pay the venue hire costs.
The Exchange venue now plans to host an event to help raise money for ‘everyone Threatin ripped off’.
‘Threatin has done nothing but fleece several UK venues out of money and time that would be far better spent on genuine artists. People like this deserve to be outed for who they are. Or aren’t,’ wrote Kamino, who supported Threatin in Bristol, on their Facebook page.
The agent StageRight and record label Superlative Music Recordings, which were used to book and promote the tour, also appear to be bogus, music website Metal Sucks reported. None of the clients listed on their sites have a visible online presence.
Jered Threatin – whose real name is not known – has not responded to requests for comment. He cancelled his last UK performance in Belfast on Sunday November 11, and references to the remaining European dates have been removed from the venues’ social media accounts.
‘If you purchased tickets for tonight’s Threatin show, both of you can get refunds from the point of purchase,’ wrote the Belfast Empire on its official Twitter account.
All of Threatin’s social media accounts have been locked or disabled and the band website has been stripped of details.