Mom & Pop vs. The Kids: What happened at Monkeytown?

Jeremy Krinsley

Regular readers of Impose know that we've showered a lot of love and praise over the small group of musicians that had a free show scheduled at Monkeytown last week. Greg Fox of GDFX sent us a heated request to make public his experience at the venue, when him, dANA, Ana Lola Roman, Best Hits, and Teenage Souls, had to evacuate Monkeytown for Market Hotel as cop cars arrived on the scene. It's only fair to have Monkeytown's version of what went down, so here's two sides of the same coin, with Ana Lola Roman speaking for The Kids, and Montgomery Knott speaking for Monkeytown, or in his words, a Mom and Pop operation.

The Kids: Bad economy, an un-basement like atmosphere, cushy cushions, no RSVP’s, $6 burgers, and a strict, hardworking, tired-by-10pm bar staff was impetus for getting kicked curbside on this infamous pre-memorial day Sunday.

Doesn’t really matter that dANA traveled all the way down from Bard to play a free show only to have their car break down. Or that Teenage Souls rolled through from Baltimore with a fresh layer of post-driving sweat on his brow. Because the show was listed as “free”, this gave the author and her friends more incentive to invite people through word of mouth.

Mom & Pop: We're a mom and pop operation. I make less money than our dishwasher. We get noise complaints from our neighbors all the time. We're in the midst of a lawsuit with our landlords. Our waitstaff has had too many evenings where they're standing around with more members of bands than people in the audience.

The Kids:“We just didn’t understand or catch the bureaucratic undertones of their booking policies,” said Charley, from dANA. “We arrived early and were told to wait outside for 20 minutes before we could even load our stuff. I mean there was absolutely no personal communication with the bands. In a way, I felt like the staff was not interested in being calm or communicative with us.”

Bands arrived on the scene at 9:30pm. The show was listed on the Monkeytown website for 10pm. Minutes prior to pre-load in, Teenage Souls walks out the door and cryptically says, “I’m taking it to the streets!” Soon after, Greg Fox (GDFX) was immediately instructed to break down his gear by Mr. Knott, all while Greg had just purchased a $6 dollar burger.

M&P: By 10:30pm (for a 10pm show) there were about four or five audience members here and around a dozen band members. I said that if this was how many people were going to show up, we should just cancel the show, it's not worth if for us. Then, at a certain point in the “discussion” they started insulting me, our waitress, the venue and our chef.

At one point, they said, “We could have just booked a house party” and I responded, “Yes, you should have.” We're not a DIY venue; we're small, intimate venue that serves food and has to support a kitchen staff.

The Kids: Matt Weiner from Best Hits, who booked the show, had only received two emails from Mr. Knott, none of which informed him that he was required to RSVP, only that it was advisable.

M&P: [Our reservation policy] was laid out in our email to them, but they ignored it. There were no reservations, it was half an hour after door time and there were five people present. I offered to wait half an hour more, but then the verbal abuse started

The Kids: While loading up and getting away from an epicenter of negativity and all around bum out, Monkeytown took it upon themselves to call the cops. Bands and patrons stood outside in utter, total, stunned silence when NYPD’s finest pulled up in not just one patrol car, but three patrol cars. The men in uniform stood around in stern silence as all the bands tried to load out and mobilize in a calm, organized manner.

M&P: The reason I called the cops is because somebody in those groups (I don't know who) poured a glass of water on our 12-channel mixer. We still don't know if it will function properly again. We're a very small venue and that sort of thing harms us immensely. If I knew who it was, I would definitely have had them arrested.

We've hosted over 1,000 bands at this point, and there's an element in the pixelated-hippy aesthetic that gets pretty annoying when it trades in righteousness and a sort of privileged condescension.

The Kids:“I don’t know, I think maybe he felt threatened,” explained Charley about Mr. Knott. “He felt threatened and repulsed by who we were. I guess we were not the norm of people who play there.”s

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