The Music Slut


15.5.07

Pela Gets Gay Bashed & Threatened In CT

What the hell is going on? First A Brief Smile and now this, courtesy of Pela's MySpace bulletin:

*Hey everyone. We just played at Sweet Jane's in Hartford on Friday. We're telling you about this to let you all know of our experience and to give you some fair warning of the people you will encounter at this venue. We had a fine experience up until we got done playing. About 2/3 into the show the owner came up and yelled at us to turn down. Mind you we had already been respectful and had our stage volume well below what it normally is. Besides it's the soundman's job to deal with volume issues.

When loading the equipment out we apologized to the owner and he slammed the door behind him. We went in to grab the rest of our equipment and the owner proceeded to say -'you loser faggots get the fuck out of my club before we kick your asses'. This aggression and the derogatory statements continued with the owner's friends joining in and threatening to fight us. All the while the promoter woman, Natalie tried to intervene. Only after it cooled down and we had security making sure we left quickly.

We figured that anyone in our extended community that might have to deal with people like that can at least get a fair warning and ultimately question whether they'd like to walk into a place that promotes those ideals. If anyone would like to let these people know how they feel you can contact one of the owners who is responsible for the derogatory statements.- russ@sweetjaneshartford.com.

xo-Pela*

MP3: Pela - Lost To The Lonesome

Labels: ,

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This situation has been blown way out of proportion. Our night is by no means a place for gaybashing, in fact it's a safe haven for many of Hartford's gay community. The other bands that played wrote us to say that they had an amazing time. One jerk that we don't even know saying something out of line is no reason to slander our night like this. This was my response to the band:
"I wanted to write to ask that you consider the larger effects of your attacks on Sweet Jane’s and Hartford’s indie dance night. I understand you had a bad experience there. Unfortunately those things do happen, despite bands, promoters and agent’s best efforts to make things run smoothly. Maybe a band member is in a bad mood, a club owner doesn’t handle things well, bouncers are jerks - sometimes people are drunk or having a bad night or whatever. Any combination of things can arise. Bands should never be treated badly. They should also show respect for the people around them.
I am sorry that you had a bad experience at Sweet Jane’s. I wish it had gone differently.
I don’t think it is necessary, though, for you to try to kill the little indie scene we’ve managed to create in Hartford. It’s been a long time since indie music fans could find music they like and bands they can relate to in Hartford. A small group of us have worked very hard to reach out to people in the area. Over the course of a couple of years, we went from one dance night a month to hosting regular shows with some great bands. Our DJs and promoter are dedicated and committed to making a place for indie rock in Hartford. We’ve worked hard getting people hyped for the music, passing out flyers and trying to create a night that is a good experience for everyone. I wish you had had that good experience, as many bands have had. But you didn’t, and that is deeply regretted on everyone’s part here. I ask you to please think if you truly believe we should be stopped – that bands shouldn’t play here and we shouldn’t be allowed to keep the momentum we’ve built. There are many more people to be hurt here than just a club owner. There are real music fans – your fans – that are effectively seeing their efforts and successes being negated.
I’ve been listening to Pela on KEXP for a while now. John in the morning plays the best bands. I was so excited to see you live, and I posted bulletins about the band and the show that night to get people excited. I wish more of our usual crowd had come (with a show the week before, we had dwindling numbers). I don’t expect you to say that what you experienced was OK. I do, however, hope you can stop for a moment and think, will it all be made right if no one ever plays Hartford again? Will you feel better if we can’t do what we’ve worked so hard to do?
It might not have been an important show for you. Hartford might be just a blip on your map. But it’s all we’ve got. It’s our home, it’s where we come together over music. Our night is so much more important to us than you could imagine."
Thank you for listening to me, and for considering the point of view of the people who are working to bring a scene to Hartford.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having played at Sweet Jane's before as part of this "Shag Frenzy" indie-dance night, I just wanted to say we were treated so well when we played that we actually felt guilty when we left because we didn't feel deserving of that kind of red carpet treatment. We still to this day talk about what a great time we had.

Of course, the above statement is not to be confused with an excuse for the owner to behave the way he reportedly did.

Sounds to me like it sucks in general for both parties... Pela had to have a bad night, and the poor organizers of this monthly dance night are facing a boycott.

Maybe the staff at the bar lost their temper ... who knows how drunk everybody was. It's just that based on my experience there, it's definitely a surprise to hear this kind of controversy surrounding shows there.

I definitely agree with Amy to make sure you don't confuse the venue owners with the show promoters.

Ian of Middle Distance Runner

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

Like Ian I just wanted to contribute to the debate after my experiences at Sweet janes / Shag Frenzy.

I'm from London, and earlier this year one of the artists we manage ended up being added to the bill for a last minute warm-up show and I feel obliged to say what an overwhelmingly positive experience we had in Hartford. The people running the night and working at the bar were very hospitable and we got fed and watered in a way that puts most venues to shame. What was particularly outstanding was the responsiveness of the crowd who were lively and welcoming and much more involved than most of the kids in the big cities. Indeed, we went on to play Bowery, Middle East, Slims, El Rey and Zona Rosa amongst others and yet this is still the show the band talk about most from this tour.

In fact to illustrate how different our experience appears to have been from Pela's, one of the venue managers (not sure if its the same dude or whoever) bought me and the band a round of shots afterwards in thanks for a great show.

Now the reason I have added this is because reputations are a fragile thing and there seems to be a disproportionate backlash against the club amongst the music community and I’m not convinced this is a particularly positive thing. After the show I got chatting to a couple of regulars and they were telling me how even a city like Hartford had absolutely nothing until Shag Frenzy came along. Apparently there is now a strong scene building in the city thanks in large part to what’s been happening with this night. There appears to finally be an outlet for all the indie kids and music fans in the area and an alternative has been found to what is otherwise a pretty staid environment. I found this really encouraging. Now if memory serves me correctly, it came up in conversation that there was no other venue in Hartford that could cater for live music, and if this is so, what is gonna happen to this nascent indie scene if this night shuts down and there’s nowhere left to go? I feel its super important for nights like this to get all the support they can from all of us who live in the music world and I just wanna make damned sure the negative press they’re getting is justified. Now obviously if the club are like this regularly then they deserve everything they get. But then presumably their reputation would sink without trace through word of mouth anyway if that were the case??? Doubtless there was at least one if not two other bands playing that night and I’d be interested to know if they had similar experiences? Ian's and our own (and the other bands we shared the bill with) would suggest this may be being blown out of proportion.

The fact that this blog and others like it appear to be using pretty emotive language probably isn’t helping. I can understand that the band were upset by this incident, but the fact that a club owner allegedly used colourful language isn’t in itself a shocking revelation is it? Most of the ones I’ve ever encountered are full-on crooks! Everyone makes mistakes, and if they make them consistently then the chances are they will inflict their own undoing. But if this is an isolated incident then the wider impact of this reactionary response could be harmful to a good number of music fans in the area who want nothing more than to meet up and exchange ideas in a conducive environment. I’m not trying to justify bigoted comments, it’s just your reporting seems equally as partisan as the kind of retarded ideals that you are supposedly against. I hope it works out for all the people in Hartford. We hope to be back soon.

Will

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, it breaks my heart to see the place I love and support attacked in this way.

First as a disclaimer, I take photos for Shag Frenzy. I was sitting right by the stage snapping pics when Russ approached Pela to request that they turn down the volume. Now of course I couldn't hear what Russ said, but I did hear what the lead singer said in response. He turned to the crowd and said into the mic something to the effect of "They just asked us to turn it down because we were too loud, but we aren't going to". Not an exact quote, but that's how I remember it.

I can't vouch for anything else that was said or done that night. If the events occurred as stated by Pela, I'd be very sorry to hear it. But, my experience working with the people at Sweet Jane's over the past year has been completely civil, respectful and enjoyable as hell. There are always at least 2 sides to every story, and maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

I sincerely hope that this can be put to rest ASAP. As Amy stated, personalities might clash, but there is absolutely no reason to try and destroy our beautiful little night. We pride ourselves on being gay-friendly, and it is just absurd to take one allegation of misconduct as an excuse to try to destroy our scene.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the "promoter woman" discussed in Pela's inflammatory post, I feel I cannot sit quiet while this band tries to wreck something we have worked so incredibly hard to build.

I'm not one to mince words, so I'm going to be completely honest here. The lead singer of Pela was arrogant and disrespectful, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the audience, the staff, and the other bands involved in the night. He did not turn down the music when he was asked to, despite the fact that the volume of the band was causing people to leave the venue. When he walked off stage, he told the owner that Matt Glasser - our excellent sound guy who also does sound for Live Nation events -- should be fired because he doesnt know what the f*ck he was doing. At this point, Russ told them to leave. Russ did not call the band members what they claimed he did. There were some other jerks in the club, whom the band is characterizing as his friends, who uttered those inappropiate comments. But for some reason the band has chosen to attack Russ. A significant portion of our audience is gay. Insinuating that the owner of the club who supports our nights 100% is some sort of a homophobe is just ridiculous. It was a very unfortunate situation. I am very sorry that Pela had a bad experience, but it is certainly not characteristic of the experiences that other bands have had. Sending emails out to other bands and agencies telling them not to play here is just unprofessional on their part.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. I have been a loyal attendee of Shag Frenzy for nearly five years and have had nothing but positive experiences at Sweet Jane's. Pela should stop to consider who they are really hurting by their derogatory statements. Because, interestingly enough, it's the gay community (which makes up an enormous percent of Sweet Jane's attendees) and the music lovers in Hartford. By deterring musicians from playing in Hartford, something that we have worked very hard to have happen, Pela is only hurting their own audience.
I was at Pela's performance and saw firsthand the disrespectful way Pela's singer was acting. I know for a fact that Russ did not utter the word 'faggot'. Perhaps someone else did and they should be held accountable for their actions. But so should Pela. And they should not drag down Hartford in the process. Please don't ruin this night for us.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is beyond ridiculous. It sounds as though they're just using this as a tactic because it's a topic/issue that so many people have a strong opinion about. Regardless of what was said or not said, they knew the way to create a chaotic situation as a response to how they felt, and sadly, it worked. As a new resident to the Hartford area, I've found the Shag Frenzy community to be friendly and accepting of anyone who showed interest in having a good time with some great music and great people. As a member of the LGBT community, I have felt nothing but acceptance by the people at Shag Frenzy and at Sweet Jane's and am shocked and saddened to hear that somebody who was in our club said something like that. What worries me more is that something hurtful is being used to cause more hurt. We've all seen that tactics such as these don't accomplish anything. No one is for the better, only for the worse. And that seems to be what is happening here.

Shag Frenzy is all I have to look forward to musically every month. If this alleged incident results in the loss of all that the Shag Frenzy crew has put their faith and energy into, it will do nothing but hurt all of the hospitable indie music fans in Hartford.

12:14 PM  
Blogger The Jaguar Club said...

So in response to Will above. We shared the bill that night with Pela and had a partial view of the scene as it escalated. I'll say first that we personally were treated amazingly well. Everyone involved with the night, including the bar manager, was gracious and warm in their interactions with us.

As far as what happened with Pela. While it is absolutely the case that the manager overreacted and that kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable, I think that Ian from MDR has it right when he says that it was just kind of a bad situation for both parties.

The sound was not ideal that night and from our vantage point it seemed that the bar manager glimpsed a few occasions when the band might have let their frustrations show through their performance. Again, this by no means justifies the manager's actions, I do think, though, that this was an isolated incident that night and should be viewed as that. From our view and from speaking with the other band that night, 2/3's of the bill had a very different experience.

Natalie and the other folks involved with Shag Frenzy work with great professionalism and, like promoters the world over, they surely have their share of troubles with the venue(s) that makes their night possible. I think it's important to make sure this separation - between promoter and venue - is acknowledged when people consider Hartford or Shag Frenzy in their touring plans.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. what a sensitive band. they obviously have no idea what gay bashing is, and I can tell you being called a loser faggot is not gay bashing. It's a phrase commnonly heard at sporting events towards the losing team, or maybe even on the school playground. And I have even used the phrase myself while playing one of my favorite video games and being caught up in the fantasy of beating someone up, or going on a mass rampage.

What a bunch of whiners, and it's def. time to get out of the music biz, and accept the fact that your going to have to keep your day job at best buy.

besides, any event called shag frenzy is moslt likely not going to be a homophobic event.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other guys in the band are pretty nice guys, but the singer for Pela is a dick. I don't doubt in the slightest bit that the singer single-handedly created this incident.
To say that the club is "homophobic" just shows what a stupid loser that guy from Pela is.
He's a typical ex-jock loud-mouth, hot-head jackass! I know for a fact that he has has been in a LOT of confrontations with other bands, venue personel, etc.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what it sounds like to me, Billy from Pela owes the venue an apology.
I think promoters should boycott Pela until they apologize for their stupid dramatic outburst.

2:10 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home