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Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Letter in the SLC Weekly

I wrote a letter to the Salt Lake City Weekly in response to a letter written last week, and it was published in this week's issue. Below you can read the letter that I responded to followed by my letter. Well, it's not so much a response letter as an "I second that motion" letter. If you pick up the publication, please note that the SLC Weekly edited my letter a bit, and all the nasty grammatical errors belong to them. I'm also not responsible for the really stupid title.

The other guy's letter:

Venue: Snap to It
In the Venue connects the "sh" to the "itty."

Eighty-two miles, four gallons at $2.67, $30—and all I heard was three songs. Oct. 15 will be the last time I step foot into In the Venue.

A month of excitement and anticipation was crushed when, a week prior to the Shout Out Louds' scheduled Urban Lounge performance, I heard a rumor that the show was moved to In the Venue. The Swedish band I have been promoting for the past two years was now going to be an opening act at a shitty club for $30 instead of a headliner at an energetic bar for $10. I seem to remember the same move happening when TV on the Radio last played. I protested the move then.

In the Venue has already won awards for the worst name in music-club history, but I am willing to nominate it as the overall worst venue in the universe. To date, I have seen shows in Seattle, Portland, Boulder, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Iowa City, Duluth, Madison, Milwaukee and Ashville. In the Venue is by far the largest s—t stain I have witnessed. It doesn't even have a Web page!

Although pissed, I still wanted to see the Shout Out Louds, who have been on top of my "bands I need to see live" list for two years. So, Monday night I arrived at the show as doors were scheduled to open. I wanted to make sure I would be inside when the one band I paid $30 to see hit the stage.

Past the front doors and around the street corner, the entrance line stretched within feet of 500 South. Thirty-five minutes passed before I got patted down. The club frisker found my cell phone which, to my surprise, needed to be returned to my car! While we were standing impatiently in line, couldn't a friendly employee have informed several hundred of us no cell phones were allowed?

Arriving when doors opened, waiting in line, running to lock my harmful phone, running back to the friskers, and I was finally inside the club to catch the final three songs of the Shout Out Louds set. I have never been so angry at a rock show and probably never will be. I am sure some devoted fans missed the set completely while they waited along the curb. Why did the show get moved? Why did the music start so early? Why didn't In the Venue let those who came just for
Shout Out Louds in once the band started playing? Certainly, I was not the only one in line coming just for their set.

After watching my band for 12 amazing minutes and, before the headliner took stage, I waited 20 minutes for a beer. I ordered a jumbo Heineken.

"We're out."

"Do you have any other jumbo beers?" I asked, not wanting to wait in line again.
"You drank them all." The bartender said with a monotone, hateful voice that seemed to parallel her black attire, which included her hair.

"I'll take a PBR."

"We're all out of taps." She pointed at the black plastic backs over them.

They ran out of kegs before the headliner took the stage! Unbelievable. No—believable, because this is the In the Venue, after all. Even if I could have purchased a 3.2 Pabst, I would have been forced to watch the show sipping and looking through a metal cage that separates the floor from drinkers and nondrinkers. They ran out of kegs!

In the three years I have lived in Utah, there has been a shift with touring bands. Instead of stopping in Salt Lake City on the way to or from Seattle or Portland, many are playing Boise. I imagine such a trend will continue to grow as long as In the Venue hosts a majority of shows. I would rather drive five hours to Boise before In the Venue ruins another show for me.

Joe Singewald
Logan


My letter:


Joe Singewald's letter about how shitty In the Venue is was music to my ears. Actually, I haven't had a bad experience with the larger shows at In the Venue, which are held on the southerly half of the building -- what I consider the Venue. My beef is with the smaller shows being held on the northerly half of the building -- what I consider Club Sound. It's the side with the little stage shoved up in the corner by the windows and the bar in the back instead of on the balcony.

I have gone to many shows on both sides of the building and, with the exception of one or two shows, all the shows in the Club Sound side have had exceptionally bad sound. The bass is frequently too high, while the vocals can often barely be heard at all.

The last straw was the recent Deerhoof show at Club Sound. This is an obscure but excellent band that doesn't come around very much, and so I was super disappointed in how awful the sound at the show was.

So disappointed in fact that I actually took the time to write a complaint message to Club Sound on MySpace. They responded by saying that no one has ever complained before -- I am the first -- and that I obviously don't know what I'm talking about since most bands bring their own sound guys there (which may be true, but I suspect that the bad sound has more to do with the Venue than the bands). They said I shouldn't expect CD quality sound at a live show.

And I don't. I expect BETTER sound. I expect to have the kind of experience that prompts me to pay MORE than I pay for a CD for a one-time listening session. I expect to experience sound produced by professional musicians in a professional concert environment.

If you ask me, Club Sound is anything but professional, and I am henceforth boycotting any of the shows that will be played on that side of the venue. I suggest that anyone else who has had a bad experience (or several bad experiences, as in my case) at Club Sound also boycott the shows, or at least write them a message so they don't think there is only one unhappy customer out there!


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