Monday, June 18, 2007

Attention "Serious" QC Bloggers

Okay, I've got a beef.

But it's something I can't write about in the papers, because it'll seem as though I'm entirely biased and a party with a vested interest. So let me air my beef, and if one of you politically-minded bloggers wants to take it from there, that'd be pretty sweet.

See, my beef involves the District of Rock Island. Now, most of you guys know that I DJ at the club 2nd Ave. down in the District, which is why this entire argument might sound like all I'm trying to do is advance the image of MY club at the expense of the others down there. That's not the case, but it's your call whether or not to believe me. But I think I have a valid beef here:

This weekend, a lot of the clubs down in the District united together to put on an outdoor concert. This event did NOT include the clubs I'm affiliated with, 2nd Ave. or the Rock Island Brewing Co. (who have the same owners.)

Having been a member of the RIBCO/2nd Ave. team for several years, I've seen my share of street fests down there. On many Saturdays, we put on shows outside. And time and again, we bend over backwards to ensure that our outdoor events are held within the letter of the law. To wit:

(1) That the sound levels do not pollute to the point of illegality. I believe -- I could be mistaken, but I'm almost positive -- that the max volume allowed by Rock Island law is 95 decibels directly in front of the stage. This is done to ensure that we have fun but don't keep the entire town awake with the music outside. RIBCO owns a decibel meter, and I've seen our crew many times take readings around the plaza to ensure that we're operating at a legal volume.


(2) That the artists onstage do not break open air profanity laws. I know that RIBCO instructs all of their bands to refrain from vulgarities while playing outside; sometimes it's even written into their contracts.

Well, if WE have to abide by these rules, why don't the other clubs?

Saturday night, the band Buckcherry played outside to a healthy crowd in the District... annnnnnnnnd...

(1) It was LOUD. Like, really loud. Like, I actually heard via the gossip of District employees that the sound crew hired for Saturday night's event registered 120 decibels on their meter. It was CRAZY loud. I could, in fact, hear it from my apartment, and I live over by Augie and nowhere near the District. As I was pulling up, it was rattling the windows on my car... and I was parking TWO BLOCKS AWAY. At my club, one block away from the show, you couldn't hold a conversation with someone while standing directly outside our door.

(2) The show was FILLED with profanity. The band took to the stage yelling the F-word. I must have heard the F-word 30+ times in a half hour. The band's big hit single alone says it at least 10 times. The opening band covered Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name Of," which drops the F-bomb repeatedly at the end of the song.

Now, I am no fuddy-duddy, and anyone who knows me knows that I'm capable of and likely to drop the F-bomb myself. And the thought of me complaining about somebody cursing makes me laugh uncomfortably. But I can't deny that there are FAMILIES who live in the District. Families with kids who shouldn't be exposed to non-stop overly amplified swearing. It's the same reason why I watch the lyrical content of the stuff I DJ during festivals where kids might be present.

Yet the show went off without any apparant hitches. So what gives, City of Rock Island? I heard nothing about anyone getting cited for profanity or noise pollution.

I swear to you that I'm not just bitching because it wasn't MY club's festival. In fact, the gig this weekend didn't hurt us one bit; 2nd Ave. was jumping like any other night. And ANY attempts to showcase the District as a great place to come and have fun are welcome in my book.

But for our clubs to go out of their way to abide by Rock Island law while providing a fun night out, shouldn't the other downtown clubs be held subject to the same rules?


Anonymous said...

I would have called the police and told them to shut it down. Though I do not live in RI I do live near a place that has outdoor music. I and others in my neighborhood have done so many times. The police are not always excited about the prospect of arguing with the bar owner but they have learned that the neighborhood will not take the excess noise especially after eleven p.m.

QuadCityImages said...

You Rock Islanders just don't complain as well as we do over here in Davenport. We could give lessons.

Anonymous said...

Rock Island needs to do everything in its power to keep the image of the District from deteriorating any further. Keeping music to a reasonable level and profanity out (at least early in the evening) would help. You are right, Shane.

J.S. said...

First off, I know of approximately zero families who live in the district. It's not exactly a great part of town to raise children in. Secondly, the band was Buckcherry.
What did you expect? They're not exactly John Tesh.
How was the crowd? Were there alot of people down there for the show?
You should be happy that the concert scene is alive again instead of complaining about f-bombs and loud music.
A D.J. complaining about loud music? Being a little hypocritical, aren't we?

-shane- said...

Well, I know SEVERAL families who live in the District who have small kids... and even if those kids were in their bedrooms, they'd be subject to the non-stop barrage of vulgarity coming off that stage. I LIVE 19 BLOCKS AWAY and was subject to it in my apartment's parking lot - THAT'S how loud it was.

Like I said in my original post, I'm not trying to be hypocritical. If you walk into my DJ, you'll hear swearing on the records that I play. If you walk up to ME and say hello, odds are good that I'll swear at some point in our conversation. I'm not trying to play it off like I'm Mr. Moral or anything.

What I AM trying to say is that NUMEROUS city laws were broken at that show this weekend and that action should have been taken that night and wasn't.

You're right - you totally expect a loud and profane show out of Buckcherry, it's kind of their schtick. SO WHY DID THE CITY ALLOW THE SHOW TO GO ON?

I AM happy that the concert scene is thriving in town. I LOVE LIVE MUSIC. I LOVE CONCERTS. But if promoters put on live shows with disregard to city laws, guess what's going to happen? People will complain, the District will get a bad name, and the city will try to interfere with the outdoor entertainment. If you want the concert scene to thrive as I do, then you'll encourage local promoters to put on their shows LEGALLY to ensure the future of live music in Rock Island.

anonymous said said...

Not only are there homes but the hotel is right off the district. During really loud concerts they can be heard in parts of the hotel that face the district. Plus it is not uncommon for the hotel to be full of young kids attending various local sporting tournaments. If I had and children in the hotel and heard the f-bombs blasting away I would have called the police myself.

J.S. said...

There are many laws that get broken every weekend in the district. That's nothing new. I'm sure that swearing and loud music are the least of their worries.
Permits were signed and i'm sure a few rules were broken but it sounds like the show went off pretty well, otherwise.
I still find it quite ironic that the only complaint I've read so far was from a chubby DJ who works at a neighboring bar that was not involved with the show.
Just wait, in two more weeks you get to do it all over again with everclear and candlebox.

-shane- said...

Well, it's like I said before, we could care less about the fact that we didn't have anything to do with the show, coz it didn't hurt our crowd ONE bit. We were still body-to-body by 1am. My bar fills up with hip-hop and club fans, and there's not a whole lot of cross-over between them and Buckcherry. And the more stuff that happens in the District, the better... it'll just serve to raise the District's image as a great place to hang out on the weekends.

And yeah, we'll likely have to put up with overly-loud Everclear and Candlebox in a couple weeks... but THIS weekend WE'VE got The Brat Pack outside, and I can guarantee you that we'll be within legal decibel levels.

Just don't be surprised if there soon comes a backlash against outdoor shows in the District altogether because SOME of the promoters don't know how to abide by the law, that's all I'm sayin'.