"The public gets what they deserve not what they demand unless we all decide to be in a business not a band" - Agent Orange
Chances are, if you have been to a touring punk music show or festival in the Bay area in your lifetime, it is highly likely that it was brought to you by St. Petersburg based concert promoter, No Clubs. For the last twenty-nine years, No Clubs has been booking and promoting punk, ska, hardcore, metal and indie shows within the area, often times using local support from the Tampa Bay music community to open for the touring national artists that they book. When the opportunity came up this past week for the fans to voice their opinion through an online poll of who should open up for the upcoming Agent Orange show, the community responded.
For the next three days, bands were added to an online poll on the No Clubs Facebook page where fans could vote for their choice as the opener for the March 12th show at The Local 662. The nominated bands and their fans, hoping for a coveted slot opening up for the legendary Southern California band, continued to share the poll on their social media feeds. Quickly, the word of mouth advertising that was created for the show went viral within the local punk rock community. Local new-comers, Broseph Skalin, appeared to be running away with the contest in votes, followed closely behind by PIG PEN, Tidal Wave and Slade and the Wasters. But, what happened next shocked and disturbed everyone.
Instead of going with the popular vote as dictated by the fans, No Clubs instead opted for the relatively unknown Gino and the Goons, who were not even included on the poll. Rounding out the bill was Car Bomb Driver, who was on the poll, but finished ninth in voting. And that is when feelings got hurt. Broseph Skalin bassist, Smervis Ghurkant, said, 'It's not anything against Car Bomb Driver, those dudes are local legends and deserve any show that comes their way, (Car Bomb) Dave goes to more shows than any other dude around, much respect. I just don't like being used as a tool.'
'Wow, it's just like a real election! The votes didn't count!' - Richy Scally
It wasn't surprising to some people that No Clubs treats local musicians this way. Vikki Marie, a fan of Slade and the Wasters as well as the local music scene said that it is 'literally not a new thing at all. This happens all the time. But now maybe they'll (No Clubs) actually listen to the fans since people are actually realizing it now. Joe Dissolvo, knowingly added that 'No Clubs pulled a No clubs. Big surprise'.
The fans were even less enthusiastic, and had a lot to say on the subject. 'Why did we waste our time with the survey? They knew who they wanted to book from the beginning. F--k em', said Sic Mic, who does a weekly radio show online. Andrew Hawthorne, a St. Pete local said, 'So nobody won, correct? F--K NO CLUBS and now I present my n-t s--k in their face'.
Now that the resentment has bubbled over, it seems that No Clubs may be the one's soon feeling the effects. Nerds Raging guitarist, Rene Otero II had this to say, 'Wow. F--k you no clubs. Don't ask the crowd what they want, then give them something completely different. I'm sure it doesn't matter to you, but I'm for supporting my friends and our scene. I've never seen Agent Orange, and would love to see them, but if you think you're getting my money after pulling that s--t, you can go s--k 47 d--s'. Nafa Fa'alogo, guitarist of the Florida Chapter of the legendary paper mache rock band, Green Jelly, says that he'll save his $12 for Brosepg Skalin swag.
Even though most everyone had no idea who Gino and the Goons were, those who do know them were quick to point out that they are not the ones to blame here. Fa'alogo went on to say, 'This is not to criticize the bands that were chosen, it's just this kind of political trickery takes the fun out of even attending the show. If they'd (No Clubs) just said they were the openers from the start no one would have batted an eye. Now the promotion just seems deceptive and manipulative.'
The question remains is why did No Clubs decide to ignore the answer to the very question that they themselves asked? They did release an official statement through their Facebook page stating, 'Your opinions are very important to us, and we're sorry many of you are disappointed with the outcome. We passed on the results of the poll to the powers that be, and ultimately the decision was theirs. That said, we hear you and understand your frustrations. We want to give you what you want and will be sure to keep the winners of this poll in mind for all of our future events'.
Conrad Petzinger, himself a one-time concert promoter, said that 'It was an opinion poll, not a popularity contest with the winner getting the slot. If you think the local "scene" is being let down, then book your own shows with local bands and build it up. Book touring bands and make sure they get paid. No Clubs has been doing shows long enough to pick what band will play the show. If anyone can do better, then by all means, DO IT!! Don't cry about it. Any local band that supports the"scene" will be happy for, and support this show. Don't try to divide everyone. Have an after party show and make it a fun night, not a bitchy one.
As a result , there is now a 'Reject Show' being planned two doors down from the Agent Orange show. That event, which will be held at FUBAR, will be free and on the same night as the Agent Orange show. Slated to play will be several of the top vote-getting bands that were overlooked in the voting process, however none have been confirmed as of press time.
Not everyone is deterred from attending the Agent Orange show. One fan, Paul Mallet, spoke with a voice of reason and took the high road when he said, 'This whole thing was mismanaged. Accidents happen and while it sucks that a lot of us feel like we were "misled", it's not Agent Orange's fault and they shouldn't suffer a s---y show because of this. I've seen them a bunch of times and they're awesome. Don't let this nonsense keep you from seeing an iconic punk band.'
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'I am not impressed. Dinosaurs will die...' - Kenny Cooley (Guitarist of Broseph Skalin)