A near-police state has sadly taken hold at many venues. It's normal to get frisked and surrender prohibited items such as drinks from other bars or flash cameras. Since I've given up my younger and broker ways of sneaking in vodka masquerading as bottled water, I'm all right with that.
But what's massively, incredibly irritating is when a bouncer who Aldous Huxley would probably classify somewhere around Gamma-plus suddenly starts enforcing a new rule. Especially one that keeps me from doing my damn job. Specifically, I'm talking about the confiscation of every single one of my ballpoint pens last week at Revolution, where I had gone to check out and review the Pelican/Circa Survive/Thrice bill. Show reviews usually involve taking notes, which usually involves ... a writing utensil. Witness this exchange, pathetic on every level:
Bouncer 1: Owner said no pens tonight.
irritating club rules
Me: Okay, I'm press, though. I'm reviewing the show. I need at least one pen to take notes. Here's my business card.
Bouncer 2: You need a press pass.
Me: There are no press passes for this show, because there's no dedicated press area, and I'm not taking photos either. There are just review tickets.
Bouncer 2: You've got to have a press pass to have a pen.
Me: But there are none —
Bouncer 1: The place just got a new paint job. Owner says he doesn't want kids writing on the walls.
Me: I was here last Monday; there hasn't been a new paint job since then, and I brought in a pen that time.
Bouncer 1: Sorry, you've got to toss them in the box if you want to come in. See? Here are all the other pens we confiscated from everybody.
Last Monday's headliner was the industrial-metal band Ministry. Revolution's management apparently considers the heart-on-the-sleeve fans of Circa Survive and Thrice more menacing than Ministry's bearded minions. The goth kids are going to have to step up the creepiness in time for those upcoming Combichrist and Alien Sex Fiend shows!
And to deal with this onslaught, venues are going to have to start banning more arbitrarily. Here are some suggestions for things they might want to confiscate at a few shows in the area this week.
The show: The Birthday Massacre, Combichrist, and Mindless Self Indulgence; Thursday at Revolution, Fort Lauderdale
Recommended ban #1: Besides ballpoint pens? How about ties — the cute little ironic female ones that fans sometimes wear to mimic the Birthday Massacre's frontwoman Chibi, as well as the vinyl ones Combichrist's people sometimes add for that extra touch of fetish chic.
Reason: We all know if they wear black, they must be goth, and goths are completely depressed. Don't depressed people randomly hang themselves? Dangerous.
Recommended ban #2: Also, let's forbid all accessories that are fluorescent and black-light-reactive.
Reason #2: The barrage that appears wherever Mindless Self Indulgence plays might actually be enough to damage the eyes of anyone caught in the crossfire.
The show: The Jean Marie; Friday at The Vagabond, Miami
Recommended ban: Tevas, or any kind of mandal
Reason: The Jean Marie's members, while playing a strangely excellent, danceable blend of angular, funky party jams, are also sort-of-recent UM grads. And they still, often, attract an incongruous, hemp-necklace-and-shorts crowd. No safety issue here; it just offends my sensibilities.
The show: Laramie Dean; Friday at Churchill's, Miami
Recommended ban: Combs
Reason: Laramie Dean is South Florida's uncontested king of surf rock, a genre that also sometimes attracts the area's remaining rockabilly types. Don't those kids like to, um, rumble or something? Isn't that what happens in the movies? And in those movies, don't they always seem to carry combs, which could potentially be brandished as weapons?
The show: Taylor Dayne; Saturday at Peacock Park, Coconut Grove
Recommended ban: Pride
Reason: Enough said.
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The show: Foxy Shazam, Tera Melos, The Dear Hunter, and The Fall of Troy; Sunday at Studio A, Miami
Recommended ban: Books. No, really.
Reason: These all-ages shows start early so they can end early, and it's a bad idea to allow anything in that might encourage the brainy trio Tera Melos to extend its set. Also, a book ban might help deter attendees from forming their own bands with self-important, vaguely literary names like The Fall of Troy.