What's With this City?

So last night I was stoked to go see a few friends' bands play with 1.6 Band for their "reconciliation" tour.

To make a long whiny story short, I ended up having to bail half way through 1.6's set because of how late the show was running (had to catch the metro, which means leave by 11:30pm) and I didn't even get to see one of the bands I wanted to see.

My list of complaints about the Velvet Lounge has grown significantly over the last 6 months due to some shady practices they seem to be embracing, but in an effort to stick to the issue at hand, I will present a short list of why the Velvet Lounge, for last night at least, sucked:
  • You have an 18 plus show on a weeknight in a city that is heavily public transportation influenced (last train out if you don't have to transfer lines is 12am) which is supposed to start at 9pm (and starts late) and has 4 bands on the bill. This is bad enough, any weeknight 4 band show should start by 8pm and be finished by 11pm.
  • There was virtually no time management during sets or in between. This means who ever draws the short stick and plays last has no one left in the audience, as I'm guessing was the case last night. This is a common occurrence in DC.
  • For those of us who drink, the Velvet Lounge advertised on their site, and I quote, "$2 natty bohs til midnight, $4 rail all night long!" When asked for said $2 Natty Bohs the Bartender (who I was not a fan of in the slightest) said, "We don't have natty bohs, we have Budweiser and miller highlife." (which to be honest was actually genuine draft...) When asked, "Are those $2 then" The response was "No $3." I know this seems like a small complaint, but if you advertise something to get people in the door, have it. Some of us have to budget our show going experiences because life is expensive. Do it or don't just don't fucking lie about it.
  • The staff seems to be getting increasingly more apathetic and rude. I mean I fucking get it, it's a rock club and all, but come the fuck on. There are a couple of exceptions here, the sound dude is a good enough guy. Which brings me to...
  • What the fuck is the deal with the Sound? I mean the VL used to tote that it had the most bad assed sound in the city... I mean they do have enough expensive equipment, but lately even when I go see bands who I'm into (by way of example, Tombs) play there, it sounds like crap. If you don't know how to make everything sound good, fuck it, just output the vocals on the PA and leave everything else live. Usually sounds better in small clubs anyway. And again, if you're a sound guy, and your not going to stick around for the set, and you insist on mic'ing everything, make sure it sounds good before you walk out.
I know this all might seem pretty petty, especially for a $10 show, but I gotta be honest, house/diy shows are getting better and better, with a high caliber of bands, are run WAY better, and even seem to sound better (as an audience member.)

If the Velvet doesn't shape up, I'm going to cross it off my list. For the mean time, I'm going to advise bands to be wary before booking shows there.

Big downs.

1 comment:

dustinswanson said...

DC expat here, just wanted to tell you the Velvet Lounge has never had good sound, and I've never seen it as a place worth playing. Occasionally, a promoter has gotten a wild hair up his ass and tried to make something out of the place, get decent bands and all, but you just can't get people to go there. It sucks because it would be a nice place for smaller bands to go, but it's just not worth the trouble, and you won't get anything from them.