Thursday, August 09, 2012

Rant: The Black Lips Throwdown

Like many people in the music community, I attended the Black Lips show at the Hard Rock Hotel's Club 207 on Tuesday night. The show was presented as part of the monthly Soundcheck series which is a coordinated effort of the Hard Rock Hotel and Filter Magazine, as well as some in-name-only sponsorships by the Casbah and Invisible Children. I was there for the Allah-Las when everyone seemed to be in high spirits, and I was near the back of the club awaiting a drink when all of the shenanigans went down during the Black Lips which resulted in the show being canceled and forcing the bar to close prematurely. In case you haven't heard what happened, you can read Peter Holslin's CityBeat blog here. After stewing a few days, I guess I have something to say about it (after the jump).

*I have modified this post. I'm sorry if I called you out by name. I was bullying what I perceived as bullies and I'm just gonna leave it there. Feel free to comment if you really have something burning to say to me. 

Full disclosure, I am friends with the people behind the series at the Hard Rock and I work for the Casbah, but I speak here on my own behalf. I really wasn't going to say anything about what went down, but after reading all of the comments on Facebook, I have one major gripe and when I hear it in my head, I hear my mom's voice when I was disappointed that the bike I got for Christmas as a kid wasn't the EXACT one I wanted. "Stop acting like an ungrateful entitled piece of shit."

You don't have the right to free shows. Whether it is the Hard Rock Hotel and Filter or Sezio or Sounddiego or the Adams Avenue Business Association or North Park Main Street or KPRI private listener shows or whatever. This is marketing. You give something...your email, your address, your time, your Twitter/Facebook checkins...and in exchange you get the privilege of live music. Make no mistake about this...the Black Lips got paid A LOT of money to be there and part of their allure is that some sort of shenanigans always go down. They got paid whether they played one song or ten. Could things be better? Maybe YOU can redesign the bar that was never intended to host live music better so the line entering the club doesn't go in right at the stage (and pony up the money for modifications). Or maybe they should just cut it off and only let the first hundred people in and leave everyone else in a line wrapped around the block. Or maybe they just don't book the bands at all and then you wait on your favorite bar or talent buyer to take a risk on a band that is most likely going to cause some sort of destruction, either by their own behavior or because there are a handful of asshole bros who just take any opportunity to go aggro because they feel like the world is their playground to destroy.

The comments on the Facebook page have been particularly annoying. If I was Matt, I would take names and just ban any of those people who are admitting they were a part of the chaos or complaining about it. Simple, Bro. You're 86ed. Don't come back. You're all bottom feeders anyway. Instead, he is handling the situation with grace that I admire. Today, the Hard Rock responded to gripes:
Hi Guys - In response to your comments regarding the Black Lips show - Our primary goal this year has been to bring more live music back to Hard Rock Hotel and even offering up all of the shows for free to give back to the San Diego music community. We were incredibly excited to bring the Black Lips to San Diego and we're truly sorry that the fans and the band didn't have the opportunity to experience a full set. Our security made a call in the interest of protecting our guests, and while the result was less than ideal, we stand by their decision. As always, protecting the safety of our guests is our number one priority. We hope that as music fans you can appreciate what we've tried to do with our SOUNDCHECK music series - bringing free shows from YACHT, Best Coast, Built to Spill, Kid Sister, Pains of Being Pure at Heart and more - and will continue to support our live music efforts in the future. Again, we thank you for your support and your shared passion for live music.
Perhaps security overreacted or weren't properly prepared for the kind of night it was going to be, but whatever occurred initially quickly escalated and like it or not, there were bottles thrown both inside the bar and outside on the street, at which point their only concern was to diffuse the situation and get everyone out. If your enjoyment of a band involves putting other people at risk of physical harm, the music scene doesn't need you anyway. The PB Block Party, Street Scene, monthly TNT's...all of these have gone by the wayside because nobody can afford the security to keep you safe from the idiot bro next to you. Learn to behave like grownups and maybe the free stuff will keep coming, but if I was your mom, right now you would be grounded.

This is after the real stuff went down. From start to finish, the whole deal went down in a matter of about 20 minutes.


nicole said...

You are missing the point of people's anger following this show.  It wasn't that a free show with free booze was shut down prematurely. It's that a venue, which "wasn't designed to host live music", hosted one of the world's most infamously rowdy bands. Last time the Black Lips were in town they played at the Casbah where the crowd was rougher and security handled it by throwing out those who were being too aggressive. The result? A full set, happy fans, happy bar. It could've been this way at the Hard Rock had they been more prepared for what this particular band and its fans would bring. 

And for the record, I would rather get called out for being the woman crowd surfing than for a small comment made on Facebook.

Rosemary said...

The point is not lost on me, but from the vitriol of the comments I saw and the people whining at the show, the anger was misdirected. If there was a disconnect between the talent buyers/management and the security, it will be dealt with and is a lesson learned for everyone, but I'm gonna defend anyone who is trying to help provide this city with more options for live music and in the end, we can all really thank whoever threw the first bottle for everything going to shit. It could've been salvaged, but in the matter of 20 minutes, the situation intensified instead of diffusing. Mob mentality prevailed and the idiots won.

As for my calling people bottomfeeders, maybe the better word is trolls? Leaving comments on facebook/blogs like this one "FUCK YOU AND YOUR GUESTS, YUPPIE FUCKIN JOKES. HAVE ANOTHER REAL FREE ROCK N ROLL SHOW AND WE'LL FUCK IT UP AGAIN" and I see no need for that person in the scene. Feedback is one thing. Not much productive discussion happening on that facebook event page.

Matthew Raab said...

to reiterate what Nicole was saying, the Hard Rock should have known what to expect when inviting the Black Lips to play. While we thank and appreciate them for providing live music and good times, the show hosted on Tuesday displayed poor planning on their part. Pains of Being Young at Heart & Best Coast, while good, doesn't illicit the same type of excitement as a band whose anthem states "bad kids, ain't no College grad kids, living out on the skids, kids like you and me".... Maybe instead of calling out Sebastian ("I see no need for that person in the scene")you should realize that this particular scene belonged to the "idiots [that] won", before the almighty realm of "marketing" tried to co opt it. Speaking of marketing, the Black Lips, who got paid anyway, were always marketed as being a piss drinking, shit talking band of bros who not only incite, but condone ("#mission accomplished"), the behavior that was displayed on said night. No I am not a troll, or "bottom feeder", as I never comment on blogs(which, lets face it, fosters a community of "bottom feeders"), but srsly... don't ever call out my friends/griping fans in general for a fucking corporation that feeds in the name of "marketing". When you invited one of our own (The Black Lips, who although deserving to get paid, are still fuck ups who are marketed and champion the notion of being a fuck up) expect that shit will hit the fan.
come on, you said you were there for the Allah-Las. A Los Angeles band. If the hard rock cared to "give back to the San Diego music community", they could have had any number of SD garage bands (Shiva Trash, Teenage Burritos, The Bertos, the Last Years, [SDMA nominees] Mrs. Magician)play. Shit, Sebastian Mazura's own Ramp Locals, would have been a better fit. At least they still piss vinegar.
To summarize: do your research, expect/prepare for things to get "gnar", don't call out names on a thread for a "scene" that you don't understand.

Christopher Roberts said...

Hey Rosemary & Nicole,

My name is Christopher and I work at VICE Music. About 6 years ago, I had had the privilege of signing the Black Lips to our label. Needless to say, I've seen my fair share of Black Lips shows.

This is what I've learned: It is always more dangerous to shut it down, than it is to control the chaos. Always.

We just chalk this one up to inexperienced staff. Oh well, they'll be back soon guys.


blahblahblah said...

" we can all really thank whoever threw the first bottle for everything going to shit"

Really? Or maybe blame security for overreacting. An appropriate response to one person throwing a bottle is to kick that one person out. FWIW, I was pretty up front and never saw a bottle fly, two plastic cups filled with water, yes. But no bottles. Maybe I missed them or maybe the Hard Rock is exaggerating to save face. I thought the crowd was pretty positive. At no point did I think the crowd was getting out of hand or that being up front put me in harm's way.

As for defending the people who put on the show for bringing live music to SD, Black Lips would have found another venue to play if they hadn't signed on to this show. They promoters were hoping to attach their names to the band's, nothing more. I love a well put on free show (Slacker rules - thanks guys) but half-assing it and sending a crowd home with blue balls for a good band doesn't earn much of my appreciation. Kinda sad because other than the security, the Hard Rock staff was doing a great job. The venue was good, sound was great, the overall layout wasn't bad (similar to Soda Bar actually). Could have worked out well. Crowds always settle down once they get winded, security blew it.