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Friday, August 20, 2010

Updated: Man Dives onto Stage in Suicide at Thursday's Swell Season Concert

Posted By on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 12:32 AM

click to enlarge The stage at Mountain Winery - THEFLIRTYGUIDE.BLOGSPOT.COM
  • The stage at Mountain Winery
​A man jumped from a roof onto the stage during a Swell Season concert at Mountain Winery in Saratoga Thursday night in an apparent suicide, according to news reports and witnesses.

Update, Saturday, 11:49 a.m.: Swell Season members Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova have addressed their feelings about the suicide extensively on their Twitter feeds.

Update, Friday, 5:43 p.m.: The Mercury News reports that the suicide victim "was facing charges of assault with a firearm, domestic violence, and false imprisonment." Pickels was out on $150,000 bail, twice the normal amount, according to the Merc.

Update, Friday, 1:22 p.m.: The suicide victim has been identified as Michael Edward Pickels, 32, of San Jose, by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner.

Update, Friday, 10:46 a.m.: Santa Clara County Sheriff Sgt. Rick Sung reports that the man who jumped was not alone at the concert:

"The victim went to a concert with a friend," Sung says. "During the performance, he left his friend, leaving all personal belongings behind.

"The next thing the concertgoers in the audience see is the same guy up on the rooftop above the stage, and he jumps off the rooftop, landing on the stage."

Sung says paramedics and a doctor who was in the audience tried to revive the man with CPR for over an hour, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Several who were at the concert tell All Shook Down that the man climbed up onto the roof from the side of the building, then sprinted and stumbled to the top before jumping off as the band was finishing a song. He fell approximately three stories, possibly through lighting rigging, then landed on a speaker on the stage less than three feet from Swell Season vocalist/songwriter Glen Hansard, witnesses tell All Shook down in e-mails.

Concertgoers say a stunned Hansard walked over to the man before realizing what had happened. Then he and Swell Season member Marketa Irglova quickly left the stage. The stunned audience was asked to remain seated as paramedics reached the man, but CPR was abandoned minutes after it began, and a helicopter was later called off.

"Glen was joking about his new guitar player, poking fun at one of his songs when a body shot down from above and slammed downstage left," one witness told All Shook Down in an e-mail. "The guy fell like a dead weight, not flailing, not screaming, just hitting the stage hard and bouncing from the impact. Even Glen didn't know what it was until he stood over it and realized a man had just launched himself from the top of the stone church-like building at the back of the stage."

Update, Friday, 9:50 a.m.: The Swell Season released the following statement to Hot Press: "The band, crew and all involved with them are shocked and saddened by the unfortunate events of last night. Their hearts go out to the victim and his friends and family."

Also: a brief YouTube video shows the aftermath of the suicide Thursday night.

Update, Thursday, 12:40 a.m.: The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that the man who jumped is dead.

Update, Thursday, 12:32 a.m.: A witness says they were standing right next to the man before he jumped, and describes him as appearing in his mid-to-late twenties with dark hair. 

"He stood alone and he seemed melancholy and removed from the show ... but not necessarily distraught," the fan writes. "We made eye contact and smiled at each other and shortly after, I noticed he had left."

"Almost immediately, I noticed a figure climbing onto the roof. He pulled himself up on the roof and starting sprinting towards the edge. It's quite a distance and he lost his footing more than once. He kept getting up, determined to follow through."

Several witnesses tell All Shook Down that the man was lying totally still on the stage after the fall and that paramedics abandoned CPR. Some report seeing blood around the man.

Here are some of the reports we've received from witnesses:

At first, we thought it was a dummy (prank of sort)or part of the lighting, but after seeing the horrible shock on Glenn's face, we realized it was something very serious. He came out of nowhere. The staff acted quickly and tried to resuscitate the man, but to no avail. What a horrible end to a wonderful evening. There were some very young kids behind us enjoying the concert with their parents. I hope this was not too traumatizing for them.

Writes another witness:

Glen was just finishing a little song that one of his band members had made up. The crowd was singing along with him and he was looking for the band member as we finished singing along. I just happened to look up and I saw this guy falling from the top of the roof on the right side of the building behind the stage. He landed about 3 feet to the left of Glen on a speaker and he was motionless, like a rag doll. It was about 10pm. At first there was a split moment where everyone was like, what is going on and then people started to scramble to help. They did CPR. The show stopped immediately. The crowd was in shock, but pretty cooperative exiting the venue.

And another witness:

I saw him fall from what appeared to be the lighting rigging, which is why I thought it was a light at first. He fell about three stories, if he did in fact jump off [the] roof. It was about 10pm. The band was between songs with most of them off stage. Lead singer [Glen Hansard] had just led crowd in a sort-of sing-along. Crowd seemed stunned at first, like me. Then you could hear some people sobbing. He fell on the front right of stage as you look at it from [the] audience. They performed CPR.

We will update this post as more information becomes available. If you saw what happened Thursday night, please contact us at

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown

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Ian S. Port


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