Tuesday, January 29, 2008

open latter about the knitting factory show

An Open Letter Regarding The Saturday January 26th NINJASONIK Show at The Knitting Factory

To Whom It May Concern-

First of all, we want to sincerely apologize to everybody involved with the show. We know there are a lot of people upset with the results and we are included. Obviously, we are willing to acknowledge that we are in part guilty for the way things turned out. To say the outcome is entirely our fault is a drastic overstatement though.

For those not informed, the story essentially went like this. Ninjasonik was approached with a show opportunity by a friend of our from the Knitting Factory staff. We agreed and put together a Dance party/Concert that was going to feature 3 electronic acts and one live hardcore band, as well as performances by DJ's. We had help from the awesome people Bikes In The Kitchen. In less than a week we pulled together a decent event that seemed like it was going to be great.

From the minute we arrived though the staff of the Knitting Factory (particularly the Security guards) seemed to be upset. The Night Manager seemed kind, as well as bartender and sound person, but the security guards were outright hostile. By 7:30 there were people waiting to get into the show. Security instead of allowing them to wait in the hallway outside the tap room so they could buy tickets when the time came, forced them to go upstairs. Then they told them to go outside. Then when these potential ticket buyers got upset about their poor treatment they began to respond negatively towards the security guards. The security staff then decided these people just weren't even allowed back in. Before doors even opened the SECURITY HAD INSTIGATED A VERBAL FISTICUFF. It was nonsensical. These people wanted to pay. They wanted to see the show.

On top of that, for some reason when we arrived, people were already in the tap room before the doors were open. They had not paid yet they managed to get in BEFORE DOORS OPENED. What kind of venue announces doors are at 8:30 yet allows a pack of people to enter the room before the promoter/organizers even arrive? Anyways, as it would turn out these people were willing to exit and buy tickets after we talked to them. Unfortunately, they were good friends with the people who were kicked out at 7:30, so they left. Essentially, the Knitting Factory security staff by being unnecessarily aggressive towards people that "they didn't like the look of", kicked out 30 potential ticket buyers before the show even started.

Then at 8:30 when doors were supposed to be open, they made us wait an additional 10 minutes because they had no bartender. Luckily things progressed. By 10 the room was starting to fill out. We were supposed to start our first act by 10 pm but since people were starting to dance (and since it was a dance party) we held off. The sound person obliged. After all, the first act was a short electronic set that required nothing but mics and a laptop and the band was already set up to go on quickly after. The first act performed by 11 pm. The room was very crowded by this time with people enjoying themselves.

Going back a bit, before the first act could go on, though, at around 10:30 pm Kevin (the appointed show organizer and member of Ninjasonik) was approached by the Head a Security, a short, angry man who kicked out the 30 people earlier. The Security staff shouted "Get outside. Get THE FUCK OUTSIDE!!" and began to demand that Kevin walk in front of him towards the hallway. Outside he smuggly stared kevin down and informed him in an incredibly accusative tone that somebody had photocopied drink tickets and been using them to get free drinks. Shocked and appauled by the notion that he was responsible for this, Kevin immediately told staff to stop accepting drink tickets and attempted to help find the culprit. For the rest of the night, this security guard would refer to Kevin as a "Liar", refusing to accept that maybe somebody else was behind this. This became incredibly stressful to Kevin and impaired his ability to manage the event.

Anyways, back to the show. By 11 pm the place was jumping like a good dance party should be. First act performed. Did about a 20 minute set. By 11:35 the second act, a hardcore band was on stage and playing. They brought a good following and got everybody really amped. A mosh pit broke out, like at any decent hardcore show. It did really crazy, but it was nothing that could not have been managed by calm security guards. But , At 12:05 when the band was just about to do their last song the management instructed the sound to be shut off and security swarmed the stage. They insisted the show was over and would not let Ninjasonik perform.

In response the obviously, excited crowd, many of whom had came to see Ninjasonik began to grow very upset. They chanted Ninjasonik and began to sing the lyrics to their songs. Management instructed Kevin to do something. He pleaded to let Ninjasonik do a 15 minute set. He acknowledged they were running a bit behind, but Ninajsonik according to the set list was meant to perform at 12 pm. They were only like 15 minutes behind.

In order to quell the crowd Kevin with the help of Jah Jah (the other member from Ninjasonik) demanded silence from the crowd of over 60 people. Almost everybody complied and in an orderly fashion, they all said in unison to the management "Can we please play the show??". It was an incredible sight. They still refused to allow it though, so Kevin told everybody to sit down on the ground quietly and not talk to security. At this point security began making racist statements and attempting to instigate a fight with the mixed crowd (there were people of many different colors, etc at the show, probably another reason the staff was so hostile). Kevin shouted not to talk to security or respond to them. He insisted they remain peaceful for the safety of both the staff and themselves. The crowd obliged.

At this point management still refused to allow the show so Kevin insisted they give refunds to the ticket buyers. They agreed. But there was a catch; you had to still have your ticket stub to get a refund, which most people didn't. To date we know of over 75 people who have not had their money refunded. The Knitting Factory is refusing to release the number of attendees (which was well in excess of 100) and is refusing to disperse the remaining money.

As everybody left, the security guards once again shouted in hostile tones towards Kevin and other people exiting "Get the FUCK outside". One Security member even attempted to climb the outside of the stairs in order to fight an attenddee. He had to be restrained by his fellow workers. Kevin luckily was able to catch the night managers attention to talk once more before he was forced to leave. He informed her of the awful negative experiences that many people had with her staff and she was actually upset to hear about it. Overall, Kevin and the night manager agreed the night had been a bit crazy and many things could have been done differently. She also apologized for the Security's hostility and promised to address it. Hopefully their security staff will be shaken into treating people with a bit more respect, but honestly we doubt it.

The management insisted that they never shut down shows, but we doubt that as well. We already have found people that have had similar experiences. It is sad. The Knitting Factory used to be a seminal venue in New York City. Now unfortunately it is far from that. The neighborhood of the Knitting Factory is way to upscale to ever be cool again. It is sad too because young people in New York are severely limited in their options. Most venues will not allow all age shows, and the ones who do treat the youth like vagabonds.

It is sad but true that it may be time for the Knitting Factory to either close their doors or find a new location that will allow for a more humane treatment of guests. The current location forces their security staff to act like hostile watchdogs barking at every person that enters the venue or goes outside to smoke. Also, we believe the obscene rent that the venue is most likely paying, forces it to be incredibly cheap with its resources and in turn cheap with the bands. It seems as if the Knitting Factory is raping bands, making them perform while severely limiting their energy on stage and forcing them to perform for little or no money (as well as one lousy drink ticket per person). They also appear to be raping fans, by taking their money coldly and in turn treating them like rotten cattle.

We truly believe that age and race were a factor considered by the Security staff as they intimidated and criminalized our shows attendees. We have confirmed reports that security was searching only the colored/ethnic attendees of the show, while disregarding whites. For instance, Kevin from Ninjasonik, a white man, was not searched when he entered the building, but Jah Jah (a black) was searched thoroughly. It is quite sad to see but not surprising at all. The Knitting Factory does not hire people who care about music. They hire thugs.

In summation, we believe this experience that we have had is not unusual for the Knitting Factory. We believe that many others will tell of similar stories. Talking to our friends in other bands it seems that almost all of them have had terrible experiences at the Knitting Factory. We commend them for their efforts in keeping great music in Manhattan but sincerely believe that their time is up. We ask everybody who has ever had a bad experience to contact us with a detailed report. We also ask for anybody who did not receive a refund to contact us as well. We want to compile accurate numbers to shame the Knitting Factory. Also, if you know who photocopied drink tickets we'd love to have that info cause that was fucked up too. Please come forward to help prove to the Knitting Factory staff that they were gravely wrong in accusing Kevin. Also, WE KINDLY ASK ALL BANDS THAT ARE EITHER BOOKED OR WHO GET BOOKED IN THE FUTURE AT THE NEW YORK KNITTING FACTORY TO KINDLY REFUSE TO PLAY. Feel free to tell them about this letter and their poor treatment of Ninjasonik and their guests. It is time to withhold our money from the Knitting Factory to show them their time is up as being a premier venue in New York.

The New York music scene does not need this any longer. DO NOT ATTEND SHOWS OR PLAY AT THE KNITTING FACTORY.




1 comment:

BreadCity said...

yeah, knitting factory sucks. they confiscated my fake id in 2002, and i've boycotted them ever since.