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Boston Police attempting to infiltrate house shows
March 29, 2013 7:09 AM   Subscribe

“What is the Address for the local music show tonight?"
posted by Greg Nog (72 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
My first thought is The Young Ones.
Bastard Squad, maybe.

And, I'm not from Boston, nor am I a pig (nor narc, nor copper, not fuzz) but:
As one of the many amused music fans who scoffed at the screencap as it was shared around on Tumblr pointed out, “he/she said concerts ... concerts.” Anyone who's ever been to a concert like this knows that it's not called a concert. It’s a show.

No, they are concerts, or gigs, not shows. What the hell?
posted by Mezentian at 7:14 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was a hilarious article. On the subject of house shows, I'm a little torn. I love the idea of them, but as a 60 year old man in a mid-twenty year old's body, I certainly wouldn't want them in my neighborhood. Curse those kids and their damned local music shows!
posted by Think_Long at 7:16 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


No, they are concerts, or gigs, not shows. What the hell?

In our local parlance it seemed that a concert was usually a performance in a place with seating. When you went to see a band play in a club or a basement we always said "show".
posted by sourwookie at 7:24 AM on March 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


No, they are concerts, or gigs, not shows. What the hell?

It's a gig if you're the band. It's a concert if it's in a stadium or features a tuba. Otherwise, yep, it's a show.

(Even that is pretty awkward though. At the risk of giving the pigs advice, it'd be better to just say "Where's ______ playing?")
posted by Sys Rq at 7:24 AM on March 29, 2013 [16 favorites]


Hey Metafilterites,

I just joined up, but I was wondering; I know that some of you are pretty liberal, I mean OMG republicants are just such a bunch of nerds and dorks.

So I was wondering, not that you knew I'm kewl and down with this scene, could 1 of you drop me a ring if you know where I can score a some maryjuana. A big bag of good stuff, I guess we'd need to meat up somewhere, like that cool ice cream shop across from City Hall would work.

But I really need some of the riffer, or weed if that's all that's availble. Not a cop, for reelz. I'd also like some meth or any other drugz you can bring. Not picky lol. Just want to hagn out and get super wrecked.

Ice cream shop, gimme a call. You can hit my pager idf you i don't answer.
posted by quin at 7:25 AM on March 29, 2013 [66 favorites]


What is cracking tonight, fellow ne'er-do-well? Skulls, I hope! I love the unofficial house concerts where teens are allowed to abuse intoxicants. As an underage troubled youth myself, I want the deets! Where might you be performing with your ensemble tonight?
posted by naju at 7:26 AM on March 29, 2013 [43 favorites]


You know, I used to think the DIY spaces on DIY Chi are trying too hard to be cryptic and mysterious as to where the shows actually are (ADDRESS: ASK SOMEONE WHO KNOWS) but apparently not.

I have always recieved prompt answers to my "Hey, what's the address to The Mousetrap/Swerp Mansion/The Dustbowl etc" FB messages and emails and such, but I'm also pretty obviously a Real Live Girl. I got no strings on me, pigs!
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:27 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, I just smoked some primo LSD and am ready to party! Any MeFites know where I can score some more drugs?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:27 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


But I really need some of the riffer

hey man got two pints of "sweet tea" (grass) here for smoking into lungs, so glad u dropped the "good word". meet me by the fire hydrant on 2nd ave and 14th street next to the unmarked van which belongs to a friend of mine whose name is david
posted by Greg Nog at 7:28 AM on March 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh yeah, 1 othre question; when we're burning and getting for realz wrecked and shit, maybe we could check out at new band. I here they're awesome PHAT! Wherez they pplaying again tonight. Don't wanna miss itwhile I'm flying high on some good hard drugz.

lol
posted by quin at 7:29 AM on March 29, 2013


Yeah, they're hilariously inept with social media, but it's worth mentioning that most of the uproar over this is because folks around here are furious that the cops are breaking up house shows. I guess I'm sympathetic for people who want to get their NWA on, but most of the raids have been on places that were fire hazards. The Station fire happened less than fifty miles from here, and yet there's massive discontentment from people when the fuzz breaks in to stop music events from cramming seventy-five people into the basement of a woodframe house with a single exit. Why aren't they, like, off cuffing murderers, man?
posted by Mayor West at 7:31 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a concert if it's in a stadium or features a tuba.

*scribbles furiously in small book of aphorisms*
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:35 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Not A Cop twitter was worth the price of admission alone.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:35 AM on March 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


hey, are you guys going to the black eyed peas show tonight? i heard there was going to be beer there. i'm going to record the concert on my samsung maximinipro (c) wireless digital phone cam and upload selections to social media, it's going to be so radical!
posted by facetious at 7:37 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's going to be an awesome show at 1 Schroeder Plaza. Check it out, man!
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:39 AM on March 29, 2013


Many years ago, I went to a gay bar with a bunch of undercover Royal Navy detectives who were investigating a sailor for homosexuality. For some reason, known only to himself, the Admiral decided to come along with us. When he turned up in blazer and cravat the lead detective pointed out that this might make him slightly conspicuous, and suggested how he should dress instead. The Admiral frowned, then the lightbulb went on over his head and he said "Ah, you mean my GARDENING clothes".

It was quite an evening.
posted by unSane at 7:41 AM on March 29, 2013 [35 favorites]


I have lots of opinions about this, but instead I'll just share that "Thanxs" might be my new favorite sign-off forever.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:45 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the shows the police did shut down, could they not have obtained the intelligence not by posing as teenage troublemakers but by intercepting the Facebook messages of show organisers? If they are committing an offence, could the police not obtain a warrant to monitor their communications?
posted by acb at 7:46 AM on March 29, 2013


They bugged The Pit, man. They bugged The Pit. So me and Fresh Pond Jetty paid those Peruvian dudes an extra five bucks to play really fuckin loud and gave a sandwich to that crazy Chinese violin guy. Now the pigs just get like five hours of panpipes and warbles and we can like hang and talk about stuff in peace.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:46 AM on March 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


The Not A Cop twitter was worth the price of admission alone.

Agreed, but I would also add that as a fan of noise rock living in the St. Louis metro, the local band that highlighted the ineptitude of the cops in this instance is worth a listen.
posted by mysterpigg at 7:46 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


What a bunch of friggin jagoffs.
posted by lumpenprole at 7:48 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


So I was wondering, not that you knew I'm kewl and down with this scene, could 1 of you drop me a ring if you know where I can score a some maryjuana

Sure. Quin can hook you up.
posted by tyllwin at 7:49 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


House shows and DIY spaces are great, though. Probably 75% of the shows I've played as a solo weirdo electronic act have been at those kinds of shows. It's hard to have an underground experimental music scene without them, even in a big city, and most of the bigger experimental acts had their start playing them (Animal Collective, for example.) Good luck getting an unestablished drone or noise act (what does established even mean in that context?) to play at a bar where a good chunk of the money is about getting patrons to buy drinks and have a good time, not have their senses assaulted by art terrorism or whatever.

Oddly house shows have more receptive audiences and more respect all around - people listen attentively, not gabber on and shout at their friends like at a bar on a Friday night. There's more of a sense of community. You're a peer playing to peers, not a band on a stage performing. I've never seen any harder drugs than liquor and weed, and you'd definitely get kicked out of these places if you were looking for a fight or shooting up in the bathroom. I haven't seen any dangerous fire hazard situations, so I suspect that's overblown too.
posted by naju at 7:50 AM on March 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


This thread is reefer mad, yo.
Bazinga!
posted by Mezentian at 7:52 AM on March 29, 2013


This makes me miss the days the D's (bad grammer important because Ds looks wrong) used to raid the clubs (what had skinheads for security) dressed as lumberjacks.

No one knows why, but man, did they fucking pick grunge a year or three early or what?

They did.
posted by Mezentian at 7:55 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a little confused. If there's a noise nuisance ordinance, it should be pretty easy to determine what behavior, and where, violates it. And being a noise nuisance, wouldn't it be easier—not to mention cheaper and less inflamatory—just to send overcover cops to the scene of the crime once a complaint is received?

I gather this is such a widespread problem that prompt police response would be too expensive so they think they can fix the problem cheaper this way. As usual, you get what you pay for.
posted by maniabug at 7:55 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Once again television misrepresents cops. Detectives Hanson, Penhall and Booker would have had no problem getting the 411,deets, infoz, or whatever kids say. Remember that episode Hanson shoots up while shooting b-ball, or whatever kids call that game, and they arrest the entire performing arts school.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:01 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Law and Order: Musical Intent
posted by unSane at 8:04 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


"For those who intend to rock!" *guitar wails*
posted by Think_Long at 8:07 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Funny there didn't seem to be a problem with the private concert I tagged along to awhile ago, being in the afternoon, un-amplified harpsichord, but the singer could really project... perhaps the underground crowd masquerading in garden party get up or perhaps it being associated with a certain large church organization with an expansive presence in Boston gave them clout.

Ok, there should be some coordination with the fire-marshal, one of the most infamous fires in history has not been forgotten. But there is likely a certain culturally heightened concern for drug use.

Now does anyone have a hook to get an invite to that south end artist performance space: Lee Barrons Cloud Club?
posted by sammyo at 8:12 AM on March 29, 2013


"The local music show tonight? Who talks like that about a DIY show?"
posted by griphus at 8:19 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: investigating a sailor for homosexuality
posted by mintcake! at 8:19 AM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Many years ago, I went to a gay bar with a bunch of undercover Royal Navy detectives who were investigating a sailor for homosexuality. For some reason, known only to himself, the Admiral decided to come along with us. When he turned up in blazer and cravat the lead detective pointed out that this might make him slightly conspicuous, and suggested how he should dress instead. The Admiral frowned, then the lightbulb went on over his head and he said "Ah, you mean my GARDENING clothes".

A bunch of strapping young sailors and an older gentleman with a cravat in a gay bar... that sounds like it is leading somewhere.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:25 AM on March 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


> the Admiral decided to come along with us. When he turned up in blazer and cravat the lead detective pointed out that this might make him slightly conspicuous

A blazer and cravat? I assume they had to tell the Admiral that they were to investigate the sailor, not seduce him.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:25 AM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Thanxs" might be my new favorite sign-off forever.

A friend started using "thankiss" and it took me forever to parse. I am old.
posted by arcticseal at 8:29 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


A bunch of strapping young sailors and an older gentleman with a cravat in a gay bar... that sounds like it is leading somewhere.

A revue at the Tobias is Queen Mary?
posted by griphus at 8:31 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq: "It's a gig if you're the band. It's a concert if it's in a stadium or features a tuba. Otherwise, yep, it's a show."

*That's US-centric. I believe that Brits (or, at least Scots) generally refer to shows as "gigs," even when they're not in the band.
posted by schmod at 8:42 AM on March 29, 2013


Mezentian, you don't think it's called a show because you're not from Boston.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:45 AM on March 29, 2013


What is cracking tonight, fellow ne'er-do-well? Skulls, I hope! I love the unofficial house concerts where teens are allowed to abuse intoxicants. As an underage troubled youth myself, I want the deets! Where might you be performing with your ensemble tonight?

Wait, I think I actually talk like this when I've been drinking.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:47 AM on March 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


If we're taking a poll, in NYC I've never heard anyone -- audience or band -- refer to a show as anything but a show.
posted by griphus at 8:50 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does anyone want to meetup and do a marijuana before the local punk rock band plays their concert? I used all my marijuana on St Patty's day. That's how I celebrate the wearin of the green! lol. (marijuana is green in color).
posted by mcmile at 8:51 AM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I take a couple of cops showing up at my gigs if that means we finally get more people in the room than on stage.
posted by monospace at 8:55 AM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Metro-Boston cops -
Metro-Boston cops -
Metro-Boston cops -

they ain't too smaaa-art ...
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:55 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sure, let's do a marijuana or four LOL.
posted by acb at 8:56 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Many moons ago, I was leaving a club with some friends when a guys pulls up alongside us and asks where he can score some (direct quote) “Mary Jane.“ Never mind the crew cut and standard-cop-issue moustache; he was driving a white Ford Crown Victoria! Complete with the radio and computer, right in plain view!

After a bit of “no officer, why would we know that?“ ribbing, I asked (and you pretty much have to ask) if this approach ever worked. And he told me that yes, in fact, it did work. “More often than you might think,“ he said. Which to be honest, means it‘d only have to work once.
posted by Jughead at 8:56 AM on March 29, 2013 [25 favorites]


Juicee Kouture (a 16 year old white girl rapper from ATL who probably doesn't play in many basements filled with broken glass and cigarette butts) has created pretty much the perfect soundtrack for this debacle. (youtube, george-jefferson-level racial slur used in the hook if you're at work)
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:04 AM on March 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm just pissed my friends saw Ted Leo this past fall in an Allston/Brighton basement and nobody called me. I'm not a narc! Seriously!
posted by jalexei at 9:39 AM on March 29, 2013


The DIY PHL Facebook group just posted a status saying basically "just so you know, we've been checking in with all the show houses we know of to ask whether they want their addresses listed publicly or not." Now I have to ask my friends who live in a big show house whether they've ever gotten a hilariously inept cop message.
posted by ActionPopulated at 9:52 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Juicee Kouture (a 16 year old white girl rapper from ATL who probably doesn't play in many basements filled with broken glass and cigarette butts)

At last we have an answer to the question "What if, instead of transforming the Key into Dawn Summers the Slayer's little sister, those monks on Buffy had turned the Key into a 16 year old white girl rapper in 2013?"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:54 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


At last we have an answer to the question "What if, instead of transforming the Key into Dawn Summers the Sister's Slayer, those monks on Buffy had turned the Key into a 16 year old white girl rapper in 2013?"

At last? That's the subject of all my fan fiction.
posted by Area Man at 9:57 AM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am from Boston. If you see a band, it's a show.
posted by loriginedumonde at 10:07 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Boston has a foodie-type organization that has farm-to-table dinner parties. You can't find out the location until the day of the event, and only trusted people get the address. It is like a house show, but instead of noise ordinances and underage drinking, it's the Board of Health and Inspectional Services out for your (pig's) blood.
posted by mkb at 10:22 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


If there's a noise nuisance ordinance, it should be pretty easy to determine what behavior, and where, violates it.

In Boston, the Alston neighborhood especially, there are long stretches of apartment buildings that are essentially off campus dorms. Apartments with narrow staircases, 3-5+ residents per unit. It would need to be noticeable blocks away for a public nuisance to get called in.
posted by sammyo at 10:46 AM on March 29, 2013


My first thought is The Young Ones.


Open up...it's the Pigs.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:56 AM on March 29, 2013


This is initially funny - then it's not so funny.

The cops were pretty laughable - but they got out there and did it, and now there are all these articles critiquing their performances. They'll keep doing this, and they'll do a better and better job.

From having gone to hundreds of shows in New York's underground scene and at least dozens that were closed by the cops/fire department, I'd say that at least half the time the "fire department" is just an excuse to shut the place down because they aren't paying off the right people.

I've seen places where I was dubious about the fire safety, and when the Man showed up, I've seen money change hands and the uniforms leave.

On the other hand, there's someone I know who used to organize parties and refuses on principle to pay off cops. They raided every party he ran and closed them down - he was scrupulous about fire safety, insurance, security. For New Year's Eve, they showed up at around 11:20, kept everyone in suspense for about 25 minutes, and then kicked us all in the street - and they gloated about it, it was absolutely clear they knew and relished the fact that we'd all be in the street for New Year's Eve (and dispersed, they threatened to arrest you if you hung out in front of the place).

It should all be quite legal. Getting a special events license is quite easy and very cheap - everyone gets them unless they're actually organizing a drug or sex party. But the police systematically harass certain venues until they die.

The Cooler in Manhattan is the worst example - they were in the meat packing district, a basement that had been an old meat cooler - never any complaints from the area, but the police started closing them once a week or more because people were dancing - until they closed their doors for good. And worst, they didn't even have people "dancing" - they mainly ran art/avant-garde music, Thurston Moore sort of thing, an older crowd - one of their attractions was that they had closed circuit TV from the stage so you could sit at the back and watch - they had people nodding their heads, basically! Please remember - this was a completely legal club - they had all their permits and followed the law to the letter, as best they could - but the law is that if two people are rhythmically moving parts of their bodies to the music and you don't have that special "cabaret" license that lets you dance, the cops can padlock the club. (Bloomberg hasn't been enforcing that at least...)

Due to that pressure, the vicious taxation and rents, and other such issues, most of the clubs I liked to go to have closed down and not been replaced - thus the underground scene.

But if the police are starting to spy on us to prevent it, well, that's bad news indeed.

Again, I have no beef with the enforcement of fire regulations. If promoters knew for sure that just honestly following the fire regulations would prevent parties from being busted, everyone would go the distance and then some. There is a huge amount of work going into these parties - the marginal effort to completely follow the fire regulations is comparatively quite small and as far as I know all the professional promoters or organized groups like the burners (Burning Man people) are careful to follow the letter and spirit of the fire regulations every time they have an event.

What the police refuse to understand is that young people want to go out and party on the weekend - but they don't have the $100+ it takes to party in a Manhattan club, and they don't want to hear the shitty music either. That desire to party leads people to become "criminals". It'd be funny if it wasn't so sad.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:57 AM on March 29, 2013 [23 favorites]


Oh, and ditto on the "noise complaints" issue. I lived next door to an illegal salsa club for years... shudder.

But there are few if any major cities that don't have industrial districts where no one is living there (legally).

Again, enforce the laws that protect us - but don't use parties and shows as a revenue raising source for corrupt police and firemen.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:59 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Flowers By Irene
posted by 4ster at 11:07 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Too true. I've seen normal bars shut down week after week for random reasons while a bar up the street the entire staff gets PBA cards with that "dearest friend of" verbiage so you know it's legit and uniformed cops glad hand in the bar while they are shutting down the competition.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:22 AM on March 29, 2013


I was in a bar once when the DOHMH dropped by with the police to check out "health violations." Because, you know, Friday night, that's the best time to do something like that if you're not shy about clearly having other motives.
posted by griphus at 11:25 AM on March 29, 2013


Yeah, I've seen them shut places down on a friday night for stuff like one blown out lightbulb in the emergency exit sign. Huge fines for missing an "employees must wash hands" sign. They also drive customers away, who wants to go to a bar and have to deal with cops coming in giving you looks.

The crazy thing is I was in an after hours that got raided maybe 5 weeks ago, the cops just sent everyone home and they were back open the next night yet legit bars go under because of constant harassment driving away customers.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:35 AM on March 29, 2013


Man, I hope they don't find out that Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:23 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Crust punk is pissing on my house, my house
I'm callin' the cops, kid, callin' the cops
posted by naju at 12:56 PM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Actually, this is more like the old SCTV bit, "Plainclothes Mountie," but I can't find a clip right now.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:21 PM on March 29, 2013


At this point, perhaps people in the scene should adopt different methods of organization and communication.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:27 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This would've worked had they thrown a little YOLO on it.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:01 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]



Crust punk is pissing on my house, my house
I'm callin' the cops, kid, callin' the cops


This whole time, I was thinking of a friend who used to run a space in an old warehouse that was right next to a police station. She spent a lot of time and effort keeping things in check, and one of the main things she yelled at people for was pissing outside the building, because, y'know, there is a police station right there.

She managed to keep it going for a few years. I am positive the police knew what was going on there, and tolerated it for so long because, while not legal, there was a strong regulating hand running the place. The clientele gave her a lot of shit, but this was a group not exactly known for picking their battles wisely.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:50 PM on March 29, 2013


The cops were pretty laughable - but they got out there and did it, and now there are all these articles critiquing their performances. They'll keep doing this, and they'll do a better and better job.

Ha ha... oh. Well, crap.
posted by homunculus at 11:07 PM on March 29, 2013


Before I met my wife, I used to frequent a house show in JP every week. It was awesome, the show was free (mostly - there was a perform edict, and the whole thing was recorded every week) The guys that put it on were awesome hosts, and the number of bikes were... well... lets just say there's no way Boston PD could have missed it if they were looking. The sound external to the house was occasionally loud, but generally we were courteous and aware of the neighbors. Louder shows went on before 11, and by the end of the night (4:00-5:00) it was generally slam poetry and acoustic. There were custom instruments, plays, a guy that did pieces closer to the Seven Seconds version of Bitchin' Cammaro, and all around some awesome fun. The place was BYOB, though if you wanted to last the night, generally you couldn't over-party, which meant folks actually policed themselves. There were a few potheads, but once again - over-stone and the show was lost on you as well.

Boston PD is not actually concerned about the show - they're concerned about the secondary behavior. They're concerned about the noise complaints (a good show generates few). The gentrification of neighborhoods like JP and Somerville mean that the artists who put on things like this and the up-and-comers who buy in those areas because of the bohemian atmosphere clash. The police side with the homeowners, not the transient college kids renting a crappy apartment because the homeowners will be there forever - (and the college kids will eventually graduate and a new crop will move in, or as some hope, further out and into a neighborhood where they don't keep people up all night with their noise). The cops are concerned about the number of people, because a house party has no health and fire code compliance, and that means put enough lighters in people's hands and you'll eventually see a house go up in flames (though this is something I haven't seen, and I'd bet that its less of a risk than they'd like it to be). The cops are concerned about the one kid there that sees a few beers, and decides to up the ante by selling to minors at a tidy profit. The cops are concerned with the kid that sees the pot there, and is bringing in 8 oz. or so to sell . The cops are more concerned with the kid that sees the pot being sold and brings in the opiates and barbiturates. The price is, the creative class pays. They get driven further out, and the positive outlet becomes harder to find.

Honestly, going to these shows is a lot like going to summer camp as a kid and being in the talent show, except everyone now has actually got some skill, or they are really really passionate about their creative vision. Its positive, its fun, its reassuring, and its generally safe to be an artist. That's all.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:36 AM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


yet there's massive discontentment from people when the fuzz breaks in to stop music events from cramming seventy-five people into the basement of a woodframe house with a single exit.

Often because:
A. This is a strawman, and
B. it's part of a disturbing pattern even if that specific instance isn't one.

Where I'm at, the fire Marshall systematically shut down several sweet underground/DIY venues for really bullshit reasons. Like "ceiling on the stage is 3 inches too low" type shit. These places had multiple exits, one of them even had sprinklers, and were old concrete bomb shelter type basements. One of them even disallowed drugs/drinking/etc entirely. It was very sudden as well, like this. These places had been throwing shows for years and were suddenly all stamped out, and only in specific areas of town. A couple of them tried to go get several relevant(expensive, and expensive process) permits that they had been skirting by just throwing "parties" in "art galleries" and such, which the city usually looks the other way on, were told to get stuffed or just continually thrown more requirements that were insane. Along the lines of "rip apart this entire wall and put in larger windows, even though they aren't exits and the place already has exit signs and everything", or the stage ceiling height thing.

So yea, even when it's the basement of some house which sounds like a weird hill to die on... I can understand the outrage. The good places that weren't just shitty house basements are gone. I can think of maybe, two actual decent large DIY venues in old commercial spaces in the entire city that haven't been fucked over majorly in some way. And only one of them regularly has shows more than occasionally anymore.

All that's left is the houses. And these kind of shows are where most of the bands you've ever cared about got started. I've had several friends go down the house show>venues>large venues>signed to indie label track, it's just how it works. By crushing this "unsafe" starting point you're pretty much pissing and shitting all over the community, and local musicians trying to get a foot in the door.

I've also, in my fairly decent sized city, never heard of one of these places burning down nor anything that horrible happening.
posted by emptythought at 1:45 AM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm with the fire marshall on that stuff. If he knows the place is being used as a venue and it's not up to code, guess whose ass is on the line if something goes wrong there? His.

Put yourself in his shoes. Twenty years on the job, family, pension. Some kids have found a 'really sweet venue' which has some minor code violations which they either aren't willing or aren't able to fix. What's he supposed to do? If he lets it go and subsequently there's a fire, or God forbid something like the Great White disaster, it's on him.

These kinds of things work where there's plausible deniability. If it gets to the point where the Fire Marshall is doing an inspection, that ship has sailed and you need to be at code or better.
posted by unSane at 3:55 AM on March 31, 2013


This BPD persona still has more punk cred than Green Day, though.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:14 AM on March 31, 2013


Unsane, what bugs me is all the places they let go which have similar violations. When your on the ground watching it happen its pretty obvious they're only busting the places the cops/city(or random busybodies) complain about, even when they inspect a lot of other places. It's the selective enforcement that's shitty. Stuff like a place that had applied for all the permits to have actual shows that cost money and be above board. They had been inspected already IIRC, and were just waiting the few months for the cogs of bureaucracy to turn. They then had a party with a couple bands playing which the cops somehow heard about, ala this article. and instantly they were violated on a few tiny stupid "door 1 1/4 in too skinny for code" type stuff and facing repairs that cost probably tens of thousands or being shut down.

I get how you could have no sympathy in that situation because they hadn't gotten the paperwork already, but it was an obvious "if we don't like you you're fucked" message since it had been looked at already. Other places that were inspected/approved as art galleries, commercial spaces, etc pretty much just got shut down because someone somewhere had an axe to grind. It's not like there were 200 people in a 170 max room or something, the main place that always popped in to my head were pretty big hardasses about not letting too many people in, no booze, etc.

So yea, I would have more sympathy for the fire Marshall if the rules were enforced unilaterally and consistently. There's places on the outskirts of town or in different areas that I know they're very well aware of that have never been bothered. They remind me of a shitty boss or school teacher playing favorites and only enforcing the rules on people they don't like.

Framing this as some kind of "well the rules are the rules" thing would fly if it wasn't blatantly "the rules are the rules, but not for him because uhhh.. Reasons". It's pretty much "these are the fire code rules in this neighborhood, the rest of the city... Meh".
posted by emptythought at 11:13 AM on March 31, 2013


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