Go-Team gig. Bouncers, Visuals, Teamwork etc

Ok, here are my two cents on Nialler9 post and the comments it has ensued.

Firstly I wasn’t at the gig but I have talked briefly to people who were at it and in particular the blog author and yer man with the ponytail! I met both Niall and Tim at Seomra Spraoi on Friday night and the subject of a blog spat came up. I had a look at the post yesterday. I will talk about my overall feeling to this and deal with the spat in the bullet points at the end. I things it’s fitting to do so as such!

The bouncers, or should I say front of house, welcoming staff or security or some other politically correct made up name that has nothing to do with their role? No, I won’t actually – I will call them bouncers! Ahem, the bouncers (and I could call them many things that are much more fitting) of the Pod complex have many negative complexes. You see where I’m going with this? They have no manners and them to look at customers of the clubs as potential threats. There has been countless stories of assaults over the years by the bouncers on the corner of Harcourt Street.
I should know, I’ve seen a few and my face has been on the receiving end of a bouncers fist there. One time I was going to a gig there and I’d just got off work. I was stone cold sober when I walked up to towards the door. There was one bouncer outside and being quite rough to a girl on her own. I could not believe it. I objected of course and asked what he thought he was doing? I was decked, knocked to the ground, flat on my back by a solid punch. When I recovered I was sitting at the corner of the street talking to the girl. She was a friend of the promoter and said she would get him to make a complaint. I won’t say who the promoter was here, but he did nothing. He most likely didn’t want any hassle for himself and his club. Well the first thing I did was to bring the girl with me to the Garda station across the road. We filed the complaint and a Garda there said he would have the CCTV tapes checked. Of course I followed up on this a few times in the days and weeks post the incident. The tapes had gone missing was the outcome.
Now, I tend to rebel against authority. Especially when I feel that it is an abuse of power which is often the case. I have had a particular long running saga with the bouncers of the Temple Bar Music Centre as it used to be called. I won’t go into that here, but it was not good. It is fair to say that some of the people employed as door staff are just thugs. They are the ones looking to cause hassle. It probably breaks the monotony of standing outside all night. They want to have some incidents. A quite night for them is boring. I could write a lot here about this subject and I have already with my own experiences, but that should at least give a lens on my feeling about bouncers. I think the only way to stop this is to band together and make official complaints directed towards all nightclub owners that this behaviour by their staff (or contractors) should not be tolerated. Boycotts don’t seem to work very well in this country and that is a shame, but this shit happens all the time. We need to do something about it. Perhaps this should be something that Give Us The Night as an organisation should look at?

The other thing I want to give some input on is the corporate take over of gigs. Ok, this has been happening for years and it was the big promoters that started this. Then came the situation that you could not afford to bring over international guests without having some kind of sponsorship. The reality is different though, as gigs I have promoted or helped to promote have shown me. It s not always necessary to have sponsorship, it has just become a trend. It is said it is done in order to keep ticket prices reasonable, yet gigs here are the most expensive in Europe (well, everything is really). But let’s see that as a given, I want to talk about visuals and independent clubs. I have been making live visuals happen on walls and screens etc. in clubs and parties since 2000. I hardly ever get paid for it. I don’t do as much at all now for many reasons and one is the payment situation. In other countries people can make good money from doing live visuals. Not so much here. Most promoters don’t see the value in it, even if the VJ is working the whole night and there is multiple audio artists (who all get paid). It’s not in the same league, as ultimately people come to clubs for the music and rightly so. So I do it because I like it and I work with a number of artists, bands and promoters that I like. I don’t do it for the money because I often don’t get paid, but it’s nice when I do. But I do see selling out to corporate sponsors as a bad thing. First off because of the obvious – most people don’t want it and it kills the experience of a gig. Some subliminal stuff could be ok if not overdone, but in your face marketing and pr bullshit is just annoying. Secondly is because it sets a bad trend (that’s the second time I used the word trend here – damn you Nokia) for the future of VJ-ing, live visuals etc. It crosses the boundary from art into advertising. This is not a good thing because we will soon have video billboards on buses and all over the skyline akin but much grander than the Blade Runner scenes. Putting it in clubs now is a big mistake. We will have to put up with it enough in the future. People go to clubs to socialise and there is enough branding going on anyway. There is no need to go over the top. Some beer-mats would be enough, people can take it or leave it. There is no need to become part of the show. The other problem as I got the feeling from this post is it’s the advertisers who should be paying the (visual) artists. Bollox to that. The advertiser (if there really is a need) pays the promoter. The promoter pays all artists. In this case it was the Pod, regardless of what the promotional material says.

Other thoughts in bullet points about the post and comments :

• plugboards can be left on stage all night, no reason why a laptop should be though.
• the aesthetics of the stage : the audience would care about this and not about blatant advertising?
• professionalism….. ah please… there’s limited space on a stage, things can be and need to be moved around… we were all at seomra spraoi weren’t we? it is normal to move things about on the stage.. i needs to be done… it always has been done this way.
• cables for vj-ing… there is always a quick fix. but be prepared for al eventualities – there are only really three!
• co-operation is very important on a stage. sometimes there are stage managers, sometimes there is not, but if someone is on the stage they most likely have a job to do.
• haircuts… we all have them, or lack of them… who cares?
• i prefer Sony Ericsson phones!…….. I like bluetooth, I use it, it’s’ handy for keeping my phone synced to my computer. it is also not very secure and i would not turn it on outside. it kills battery power too… Nokia.. put that in you market research and smoke it!
• benefit of doubt should be given. organisation needs to be flexible.
• be nice!