The economic downturn (10.2% unemployment, the only statistic that really matters, in the U.S.) has clobbered California, in particular, with businesses leaving the state in droves, a huge real estate slump (even only a mile from the beach), a collapsing educational system (believe me, I’m on the front lines), a farcical governor, a “do nothing” state legislature that taxes the Hell out of the citizenry, and a broken electoral system that does nothing but put forth referenda that can never be paid for (high speed rail, my ass). In Los Angeles, the economic realities are businesses shutting down, and empty buildings beginning to appear. Pretty soon, whole swaths of L.A. are going to look like the bombed out ruins of “The Warriors”.
The poor economy has hit the metal concert scene pretty hard, although, plenty of acts are still booking in the near future (the upcoming concert schedule is pretty full, at least for now). Attendance is noticeably down at shows, and I’ve had to cut back my own concert going for various reasons. For example, at the recent Kult Ov Azazel show at The Black Castle, attendance was near SINGLE digits. Another example that comes to mind was the nearly deserted HOB Sunset Strip (according to Etan) for the Absu tour last spring. Yes, a number of acts, Glorior Belli being one, dropped off that tour before it even began, which certainly didn’t help, but the economic pinch undoubtedly has something to do with it. Hell, even the mallrats couldn’t afford to come out and sell out this year’s incarnation of Summer Slaughter.
Although I’ve chided the Knitting Factory about the poor state of the bathrooms during shows, the Knit has been a great place to see concerts with a good location and a good facility. A number of bands that may have had trouble getting booked into the larger, glitzier venues on the Strip were able to play at the Knit, and the local booking agency, Church of the 8th Day (COT8D), kept up a full schedule of great shows to see, both in and out of metal.
I urge you to read a detailed interview with Daniel Dismal, CEO of COT8D here, before reading my post any further.
The Knit was in a rather strange mall, sharing the space with a L.A. Fitness gym (plenty of pretty people preening and hoping to be seen), a hip clothing store, a grocery, and a drug store. Metalheads lining up for shows were always given strange looks by other patrons of the mall, particularly by the pretty people, even though we fit right in on Hollywood Boulevard. One time, I was walking up to the entrance of the Knit and two girls out trawling for a Hollywood club experience asked me what kind of music was featured at this club. I said, “Death Metal”, and they were astonished. I got the obligatory, “DEATH… metal?!”, and looks of incredulity.
Although the Knit is now gone, as Daniel mentions, The Ultraviolet Social Club is already booked with upcoming shows, including imminent performances from Eyehategod and the Heathenfest extravaganza. I always did enjoy the shows at the Knit, though, and I’m disheartened to see it gone...
The Black Castle is also closing down. Although I’ve only been there once, The Black Castle was generating plenty of interest, being able to book some obscure acts such as Archgoat, Horna, and Bahimiron, acts that you would expect to hardly ever play outside of their immediate area, or only in Europe.
Read The Black Castle owner’s statement here. Although attendance was light, the KoA show was well done in a comfortable setting, and I was looking forward to going to more shows at The Black Castle. Maybe The Iron Room will fill the void…