I’ve seen dancin’… and that ain’t dancin’

by

MoshThe Blue Room inside of Billiards of Springfield closed recently after a long run as a music venue in the city, taking with it the home of many a hardcore, punk, hip hop and comedy show. Billiards as a whole is now back in the care of a previous manager who wants to return the Blue Room to its previous incarnation as a sports bar. The reaction to the closing in the local music community has ranged from “oh well” to “good riddance,” but regardless of one’s personal feelings about the venue there is an undeniable, and much darker, truth behind The Blue Room’s disappearance. Local music–more specifically its fans–led to the room’s closure. In other words, this is one place where we’ve worn out our welcome.

In the months leading up to its closing, The Blue Room was host to a handful of incidents involving fans at hardcore rock shows inside. One we were witnesses to ourselves: Two men, who appeared to be in their late teens, began dancing in the style typical of hardcore shows–flailing, kicking, windups, et cetera–as the rest of the crowd made a circle for them to do so. When the kids intentionally collided with the walls of the circle of people, one man, clearly not interested in participating, pushed the kids back into the middle of the circle. The kids, apparently upset by his reaction, targeted the man the rest of the night, running at him and “dancing” at him… by which I mean punching, kicking, flipping off and shouting at the man about how they were going to f*** him up. After four or five such collisions, the man was left with a choice: Fight the kids, which was clearly what they wanted, or leave. He chose to leave.

Maybe a month later, another incident at a hardcore show involving fans and one of the Billiards bar staff was apparently the final straw. The Blue Room fulfilled its obligations to the shows already booked in the room, it added nothing to its schedule and, well, the rest is history. Let me say this again, to be clear: The Blue Room did not close as a financial decision. It closed as a “we don’t need this kind of hassle anymore” decision. It’s understandable that management doesn’t need the hassle; what isn’t understandable is why they were faced with such a hassle in the first place.

The bottom line is that these incidents should never have happened, and there are a couple of parties responsible who need to be aware of and learn from that fact. First is the collection of hardcore fans who choose to be aggressors at shows… I’m not in the mood to mince words, so I won’t: You disgust me, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. The Bar Ban was put in place because parents wanted to protect their underage kids from what they perceive to be going on in local bars and nightclubs in a worst-case scenario. Now with your actions you have become, in a way, the worst-case scenario yourselves, the protected turning into the ones others need protection from. Local music has been gradually clawing its way back from the hit it took as a result of The Bar Ban, and your reckless actions show a complete lack of respect for that. No one faults you the desire to express yourself in the music. In fact, that’s why the crowd clears out around you. You need room? You’ve got it. Most get this and stay in the cleared-off area, happily mixing kickboxing moves and haymakers to let out their aggression to match the music. It’s the other group, small but obnoxious, who insist on antagonizing the rest of the showgoers, and it’s this group that threatens to derail the ability to see hardcore shows going forward. Think this is the last venue that will stop dealing with you if this keeps up? Think again. Hardcore shows are already on thin ice with the Outland Ballroom/Remmingtons Downtown staff after they recently found a roll of toilet paper on fire and stuffed in a hole in the wall of the men’s bathroom at Remmingtons during the Emmure show. Adding attempted arson to a list of attempted assaults = one hell of a bad reputation for your music genre and its fans.

At least the Ballroom/Remmingtons shows are required to have paid security on hand, which brings me to Party #2. To the show promoters who didn’t bring on security for their hardcore shows at The Blue Room: It’s time to wake up. One such group, Vance Productions, has chosen to stop booking shows; it doesn’t have to be that way. The shows you put on are a boon for the community, and their attendance would seem to show the audience’s gratitude, but it’s irresponsible to think that crowds at shows such as these will be self-policing. As long as there remains a subgroup of showgoers such as the one I mentioned in the last paragraph, there will have to be people there to forcibly stop them from potentially ruining someone else’s show experience. It’s in your hands to have those people there, and without them the repercussions can be dire. There’s nothing worse for a promoter than to have a reputation for problems at shows. Rectify this now before it sticks with you. The slope only gets more slippery from here, and there’s no dancing one’s way out of it.

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7 Responses to “I’ve seen dancin’… and that ain’t dancin’”

  1. blondie Says:

    High-five derosh!

  2. Suburban Superhero Says:

    It’s really too bad that a few people had to ruin all the fun that everyone else was having. I don’t have issues with hardcore music, in fact they are some really amazing shows, but after having the tenth person drop kick me in the chest while I’m trying to enjoy the set it’s time to go.

    I want to stress as well that it is indeed a very small minority that ruined this for everyone. But the blame can be shared. There is no reason why you should stay quiet about these things. Having put on many shows at the blue room I am the first to be as vocal as possible when I see something amiss. I don’t care how much of an asshole you are, I have the utmost respect for anyone who will take the risk to let me put a show on in their place of business. The fact that these people completely have no regard for those around them makes my head hurt. I hope this trends wears itself out in a timely manner so I can go back to enjoying my music… And skanking!

  3. erik Says:

    Wow, as if I needed another reason to dislike metalcore. I wasn’t aware of the instances leading up to this. Now that I am enlightened I understand their decision.

  4. Jamie S. Says:

    Erik..you a a man of wisdom….and you speaketh the truth

  5. Anthony Narvaez Says:

    This is why shoegaze is on the rise. Club owners aren’t afraid to book bands that attract lethargic crowds. 🙂

  6. Scott Says:

    yo, I had a similar experience with those kids at the River City Rebels show in the blue room. It wasn’t a hardcore show, But I remember many people pissed off and eventually James had to kick them out. They were basically putting their heads down and ramming into anyone’s back that was paying attention to the band and not them. Finally some girls shins were busted and even the band told them to chill out. At this point these kids starting flipping off the band and yelling obsceneties. Come on really? There was like 25 people at that show! These kids are pathetic.

  7. stinkyedwards Says:

    … and what was this fiasco about? Anyone witness this:
    http://www.news-leader.com/article/20090928/NEWS01/909280368/1007/Officers-break-up-brawl

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