Some friends of mine came back from a concert tonight at Webster Hall complaining bitterly about their experience there tonight.
It wasn't just the fact that they are herded like cattle through Webster Hall's security check points, or that the sound system sucked, or even the $9 beers and $30 admission..
It was the fact that Webster Hall charges $2 to any patron that wants to go outside for a smoke. Talk about taking advantage of a bad situation.
Back in July members of NYNA (including myself) were invited to come speak to the employees of Webster Hall about our upcoming rally on July 24th.
Just as we were about to speak we got a stern warning from the club's manager that Webster Hall in no way supports NYNA and it's fight against the smoking ban. We were warned not to try and recruit any employees for membership in NYNA either.
Not very nice people to say the least. No wonder they don't want to fight the ban. It's more profitable to bleed $ from the smokers than to fight for their rights.
I said it then and I'll say it now, F*** Webster Hall!
Some of my friends say that how sad that is considering how great the Ritz used to be, but the Ritz sucked too.
I remember an editorial from 1980 in the very cool and long gone NY Rocker. It was all about how the Ritz was ruining the club scene in NYC. It was this big and impersonal club
with a lot more money than much cooler clubs like Hurrahs. With more money
they could lure all the big Brit bands at the time like 999 or Siouxe. It
wasn't long before those other clubs had to close their doors. And they had
a lousy sound system back then as well.
I can remember many nights at the Ritz going to see favorite bands and
having to stand around the stage for many hours until the band came out
which was usually between two and three am even during the week. There
really wasn't too much else to do at the Ritz. The bar was way over priced,
there was no food, and if you wanted to see the band than you had to stake
your place by the stage early on. I remember preparing to go to the Ritz
with my friends was like planning some camping trip or something. We had to
make sure we ate before hand or we would be miserable all night. No re-entry
you know. By the time the bands came on you were so pushed and jostled it
just was more trouble than it was worth.
PIL once actually caused a riot there because they made the crowd wait for
hours and then refused to play in front of the crowd. Instead they played
behind the video screen with their image projected on the screen. The crowd
was not having any of it and proceeded to tear the place apart starting with
that big video screen. I was going to see that show but decided to go see
Bad Brains at CBGB's instead.
It wasn't until Danceteria opened that we saw what a real fun club was. It
was great to be treated in a civilized manner by a club owner. Danceteria
was a wonderful multi leveled club with a restaurant (cheap and fun), video
lounge (complete with a tranny waitress), a dancefloor and a live floor
which had much better sight lines than the Ritz. It was fun to check out the art in their gallery called Congo Bills and in the summer you could go up and party on the roof .
They did have a door policy but once Howie Montage (RIP) got to know you it
was no problem getting in. And they managed to keep the jerks out. No single
guys allowed in unless they were accompanied by a female. Danceteria
rejects usually wound up at the Ritz or Pitz as my friends would call it.
You could actually have a fun night and you didn't have to stick to the
stage in ensure that you could see the bands. There has never been as cool a
club as Danceteria ever again. And they charged less at the door than the
I guess that the Ritz was better than Webster Hall is today, but I still
think that the Ritz was the beginning of the end of fun clubbing in NYC.