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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CMJ 08 Tuesday
An Open Letter to Stereogum

What the F***!!!???

Your CMJ party at the new Studio at Webster Hall, was an RSVP-only event (via, to be held from midnight to 4AM on a Tuesday night. I RSVP'd. I made my way out in the cold. I waited outside in the cold for nearly 40 minutes. I got inside. I got a beer at the bar on the DJ level - bad dance music, hardly anyone was interested in dancing, or even hanging out in this room. In fact, Leo Fitzpatrick (of "Kids" fame) was standing at the bar next to me and uttered to his friends, "Guys, I'm out of here. If I wanted to hear music like this, I'd have stayed home and DJ'd myself."

I went downstairs to see the live bands I had come out for - Crystal Stilts, Ponytail, Marnie Stern, Gang Gang Dance. While letting random pockets of hipsters in, the security guy at the door to the "live" room was insisting that a sound check was in progress, so he couldn't let the rest of us in - "Come back in 15 minutes!" This happened at about 12:40AM.


I went back upstairs to the empty dance floor and got another beer. Loitered around a bit. Then decided enough time had passed and headed back downstairs. The crowd surrounding the door had at least tripled. I made my way down, nearing the door, watching as the doorman again let random pockets of people into the coveted "live" room. When I finally got to the door, he barked, "Where's your wristband?" Shocked, I said "What wristband?" He started shouting over my head at the masses behind me, "VIP only! Only those with wristbands get past me!" Now, there is no mistake here on my part. I checked in at the door, stating my name on the list. The girl quickly found it and told me that I was all set.

What the living f***!?

I stayed put at the (second) door for a minute, wondering what I should do. Someone muttered, "Wristband? For what?" Another complained, "This is the worst thing ever, I don't even care." Another guy, growing increasingly impatient, "No one got wristbands!" In all fairness, that last one wasn't true. I saw a couple of folks with wristbands on, though many without wristbands had just been let in. Anarchy!

After another 5 minutes or so, another security guy yelled, "We're doing soundcheck! Come back in 15 minutes!" Again! This was at 1:05AM. Feeling completely at a loss, I decided "f*** this s***. I have better things to do with my time. I mean, the very concept of "VIP-only" to see the only show billed is outrageous!! No offense to the artists involved, but it's not like David f***ing Bowie was performing Ziggy Stardust on the other side of those doors! I commend you on your line-up, but the vibe was foul.

The overall organization and treatment of the crowd at Webster Hall Tuesday night was borderline detestable. And why in God's name are you performing a soundcheck after one in the morning for a midnight show on a Tuesday night? If you wanted to throw a private party for you and your select VIP friends, why not do so in private, at say, your house? Your avid readers who RSVP'd via your site mean nothing?

CMJ can only get better from here.

Scot Bowman

PS: When I got home from this debacle I listened to the live stream on And I should give credit where it is due. Ponytail sounded great, though the audience seemed lost. Marnie Stern didn't go on until nearly 3:30 in the morning, but also sounded pretty damn awesome. Crystal Stilts, who played until well after four in the morning, got off to a fairly rough start (sound issues), but seemed to gain footing for a rather hallucinatory and engaging set, though they really started to fall totally apart toward the end (exhaustion?).

1 comment:

kevchino said...

Beat . . . Scot! sorry to hear about this! What a mess. I waited in the cold for 45 minutes for a Stones Throw Records party last night and was denied too.