Okay, it’s time to gripe. Yes, the economy is bad and the current administration is not quite what everyone wants, but what gets to me now more than anything else these days, is being the recipient of bad management. Hearing of a friend or family member being the recipient of bad management, or hearing of bad management at a local venue makes me want to just scream my lungs out. Anyone would agree, witnessing bad management just plain sucks.
Being on the local music scene for a while now, it’s devastating to musicians whenever a live music venue changes format to an “all DJ-run” format. It’s even worse when a live music venue goes belly up, never to be seen or heard from again. This is the proverbial sword to the heart for musicians looking to ply their craft.
Locally, I can think of at least one venue right now that has gone bye-bye due to bad management and another is dying a slow and painful death. Another one, Cowtown Sport Bar and Grill, defaulted on their liquor taxes and had to close for a while. (Not only bad management but guys, ya gotta pay the booze tax…no payee no drinkee.) And simply put, at another place the general manager should be taken out and shot for what he’s done. (Or at least put at the end of a rope and hung, if you are still into the “Old West” way of justice.)
Yep, this particular manager from the Baker Street Pub (http://www.yelp.com/biz/baker-street-pub-fort-worth) actually denied a very well-known and successful local band from playing his venue again, that is after the owner of the joint called the band personally and invited them to play. And play well they did! What’s just plain crazy is this particular band actually had the dance floor packed on every song, people were buying drinks right and left, and since it was “standing room only” for a while, the people actually standing were smiling and grooving down to the beats. But alas, this particular band has had their other two shows in the future there cancelled because they’re “not right” for that bar. What’s up with that?! I’m at a loss Mr. or Mrs. Bar Manager, what exactly is “not right” about this situation? Were the patrons having too much fun, buying too many drinks, or what? I’d say this occurrence reeks of bad management. (To keep things discrete and civilized, email me and I will provide you the name of the band that got shafted.)
The venue dying a very slow and painful death is Buffalo West, in west Fort Worth, (http://www.buffalowestfw.com/. It’s limping along gasping for breath. (I can see the Undertaker getting ready….) Not sure if this too is due to bad management, prices too high, not enough advertising, bad or mediocre bands playing , or a combination thereof, but this beast is almost dead. Vultures are circling waiting for their next meal. Inside sources tell me it’s only a matter of time. It’s a fairly good barometer when employees quit due to not having enough hours and pay, the new management (out of several prior changes) is not well liked, management types make unwelcomed come-ons to the waitresses, etc. Here’s a radical idea fellas: keep your paws off the wait staff, do some Gorilla marketing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_marketing), spend the money to hire top-notch, quality bands, and set reasonable drink and food prices, and you’ll GET the people in the place. Guaranteed.
And speaking of the Grim Reaper, the latest fatality is the Oui Lounge over on the Bluebonnet Circle in Fort Worth. Yep, that iconic lounge of many years and fabled stories is no more. Since Chef Tim Love and his group took it over, it’s taken those boys only a year or two to run it into the ground (or as the press reports, Love and the landlord couldn’t reach an agreement on “direction”) after “remodeling” the place to look like something out of a cheesy B-grade movie set. Love also added another Love Shack next door. (Pardon my ignorance here, but does Fort Worth really need another greasy spoon serving up rehashed bar food disguised as “something new and different”?)
Honestly, I ordered a plate of nachos there and swore I was at some ballpark or drive-in movie theater snack bar judging from the quality of food I got. Not impressed. Okay then, maybe an “off-night” in the kitchen? Perhaps, but when I pointed out to the cashier my bill was incorrect, that is was too high, it took 2 people 15 minutes to figure out the cash register system and how to fix my bill. Okay, so maybe they are training new people? (Trying to be optimistic here....)
Once back inside the Oui Lounge proper, I ordered a frozen Pina Colada for my honey. Holy Cow and goodness gracious!! You’d think I ordered that new mixed drink from New York City everyone’s talking about. Geez! Man was I ever surprised to learn these boys weren’t set up to serve frozen bar drinks. Um…fellas…it only takes a commercial blender and some nice rum and Pina Colada mix to make one. (I guess when I made some way back in my tweens after visiting the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico, and using smuggled Rum I brought back in my suitcase and my mother’s old kitchen blender with cubed ice, I “did it wrong”? A few years earlier I was a wee lad with zits trying to score a prom date.) Seriously guys, it ain’t that hard.
What’s disturbing about this fiasco is not only the cheesy décor, lack of a proper bar blender, talentless clerks, and not-so-good nachos, is the fact that this place once hosted some decent live music and equally decent musicians. The room acoustics were good. Seriously, I was hoping for maybe an open mic night or two from this bunch. One can dream, right?
The proud Oui Lounge, this once iconic bar of legend, has died. Victim of bad management. That trumpet you hear in the background is playing Taps.
Support Live Music. Keep it real.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org