Geroni Listening

May 18, 2009

I Love Not Being Able To Support My Favorite Bands

Filed under: Misc. — Teddy @ 8:39 pm

December 2008. One of my favorite band’s, Deerhunter, had just put out a great new LP and was touring the country in support of it. The last US show for the year was here in Birmingham, Alabama at a local venue called The Bottletree. I had known about The Bottletree for a bit but had never been there, so I was excited to see what it was all about. I got my tickets and noticed on the site there’s a little “18+” point. No problem, I had questioned my friend who had previously been to shows at Bottletree. He claimed he got in hassle free, they don’t mind “underage” kids. Still, being 16 years old and trying to get in was going to be an ordeal, I suspected. So I show up with my friend Witt an hour and a half before the show. We go up to the door and the guy working there says, “Hey, uh, you guys can’t come in yet, they still have to soundcheck.” I plea with him to let us in, it’s cold out. “Well, oh alright.” We take a seat in the back of the venue and watch Deerhunter soundcheck (Never Stops, Vox Celeste, and a mixture of the Saved By Old Times “We are a…” part and White Ink for those curious). At this point I’m thinking, “Wow, what a cool place. Just a place for everyone to have a good time.” I should also mention the venue is a vegan/vegetarian cafe, and a bar. I’ve been a vegetarian my entire life so this really was Cloud 9. Just when I think things can’t get better I find myself talking Captain Beefheart with a bartender. Everything was just fucking awesome.

My, how things so ever quickly change. I’m stoked about The Bottletree at this point. In fact, I tell everyone I know about it. Hell, I’m heading back in a month to catch Los Campesinos! The show comes up and I head down to the venue. Walk in, smile at the guy working the door. He kinda stares at me and asks, “Hey, how old are you?” “Me? I’m 16. Why?” He pauses for a sec, then says, “No…no, you can’t come in, only 18+.” I just stood there for a second. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I let out a, “Wait…what?” And then suddenly big muscles manager comes out of FUCKING NOWHERE! “Hey man, how old are you?” “I’m 16? What’s going on?” “Nope, you can’t come in.” “No, I was just here last month.” “Sorry, it’s just company policy.” “Come on! I was here just last month for Deerhunter!” “Look man, I don’t want to be the prick that tells you this, but you can’t come in. Sorry, you’ve got to go.” I leave, fucking depressed. Honestly depressed.

About a month later the Black Lips are in town. No way in hell I’m missing this show. I can’t seem to shake the fact that I was kicked out, especially when everyone was so damn cool only a month earlier. I bought my Black Lips tickets, then called the venue earlier that day. “Nope, it’s 18+, you can’t get in no matter what.” “Well can I at least get my money?” “Well…yeah you can but you have to go online…” the rest is the explanation on how to get my money back which is very long and not clear. Disappointment arises once again. BUT March Dan Deacon is playing in my city at The Bottletree. NO WAY IN FUCKING HELL AM I MISSING THIS SHOW! I bought my tickets, but I took extra pre-caution. Knowing how damn cool Dan Deacon is, I chatted him up on Facebook. I asked if he could change the ages, and if he wanted it to be 18+ I understand. Dan gives me this reply, “let’s get that changed as soon as possibly”. This gave me hope for this show (and humanity as well). Skip to the day of the show, I call the venue. “Hey the show tonight is all ages right?” “No, it’s 18+.” “Well, I know Dan was trying to get the show all ages, what about that?” “No, all shows here are 18+, goodbye.” I got treated like dirt because I’m a year and a half short of getting into the damn place.

Now, the reasons Bottletree gives for making the shows 18+ are these:
The curfew is bullshit. I saw Mogwai a month ago at another local venue and was out well past 12 AM. The curfew is at 10 P.M. People underage go to shows here that run past the curfew, hell people go to sporting events that go past the curfew. The curfew is bullshit that our corrupt mayor’s office (not joking, our local community political team is really fucked up) feels the need to implement to keep gangster kids’ in the ghetto in their homes. I can’t begin to imagine when a thug is going to stop, check his watch, and exclaim, “Shucks, 10:01, guess I had better head home!” What the fuck is the alcohol shit they spew at me? 18 year-olds can’t drink, hell they can’t cigarettes. Just a total lie. And finally policy. I’m not sure if it gets your indie-cred up to keep 16 year-olds out of a venue, but something in the policy is very fishy.

The real reason I’m posting this (and not studying for my health exam) is because I feel bad not being able to support my favorite artists. In the next month I would be going to three shows at The Bottletree. Three shows, hell maybe more if I had a night off. I think something happened in that one month of The Bottletree. It’s like they left their indie label to sign with a major. It went from being about fun and great music to a money-grabbing scheme. What’s even worst is the fact I’ve been treated like a dick each time. So, I encourage bands to go to a new venue in Birmingham, Greencup Books (link at the bottom). It’s entirely all-ages, it’s entirely DUI, it’s entirely awesome. On the wall they have a Home Movies Franz Kafka reference. I nearly creamed my pants when I saw it. But seriously, I will throw support at any great band that goes by Greencup. As for The Bottletree, I’ll sit and wait for my “adult-hood” to hit me. I’ll have to pick out which shows I can afford to go to Atlanta to see, which means missing some of my favorites. Why is being a young music lover so fucking difficult?



  1. lol, butthurt underage b&.

    Comment by zissoutripfag — May 19, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  2. If you really feel strongly about this, you should do something about it. 18+ venues are a disgrace.

    What you need to do is get more people involved. Talk to everyone you know about this, and if possible, get them to stop going to this place. Get organized. Start boycotts, start petitions. Keep in contact with the artists like you already are. Explain in a rational manner to the venue why you feel the way you do, and why you think they should reconsider their policy.

    It’s not an impossible goal. It’ll probably take some work, but if you stick with it, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it lead somewhere.

    Comment by Twee — May 19, 2009 @ 6:37 pm

  3. Ok, the deal with this is the alcohol issue. If the stage has a bar in the same room its 18+, pure and simple. It is like this all over the country and is not a issue of personal ruling. many places deal with this by putting the bar in an adjacent room, there are venues in Birmingham that do this (workplay). The reason for this is that venues want the people watching their shows to be adults because they have to be responsible around alcohol, cigarettes, and some times the issue of lyric vulgarity comes into question. basically if people are ordering drinks in the same room not from a waiter, it’s 18+.

    Comment by Will Davis — June 12, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

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