First off, our apologies to the audience, the bands and all the people employed by the bar, but a dispute about a coat check escalated into a bizarre and potentially dangerous situation.
The venue we chose to do our show at is new, 2ninety2 at College and Spadina in Toronto. We had never done anything there before, but some of our friends had without incident. We were dealing primarily with the bar manager, a nice guy who wanted to turn the place into a live music venue as opposed to the club it had previously been. Toronto is short on venues of that size that are willing to book music shows on a Friday or Saturday so we were excited about the putting a show together in a new space.
Once doors opened, we noticed that the venue was charging $3 for a mandatory coat check. We objected to this surprise charge to the owner of the club who responded by threatening to have us beaten up by his bouncers. We then told the bar manager, whom we had been dealing with up to this point, that we didn’t appreciate being threatened, which resulted in the bar owner throwing a screaming fit, repeatedly stating “now I am threatening you.”
With a mind to the $20,000 worth of equipment our bands had in his venue, and the intensity of his reaction to an argument about a $3 coat check we decided the wisest course of action was to get our equipment and ourselves out of there while that was still an option and before anyone or anything got hurt.
Bars and show promoters are business partners, in effect. You’re both aiming for the same thing: a successful, enjoyable and profitable night. If you own a venue, don’t do stupid shit that will make the event less enjoyable. If you’re a promoter, don’t trash the place. Mainly, don’t be an asshole.
At this point, it should probably be obvious that this isn’t an owner you want to work with. We strongly advise that you avoid this place and that if you already have something booked there, you try to find an alternate venue.
As for the show, we are going to do the same lineup in the near future, and will get an assurance from the owner that no one will beat us up. See you there.