By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
I got to watch bands grow up in the club. Pokey LaFarge started playing little tiny shows at Off Broadway, and then he'd play another and another, and now he's outgrown the club. That's cool, to watch someone grow within that venue.
There were also some shows that were almost too big for Off Broadway and maybe shouldn't have been in that small of a room. Mumford & Sons had booked this tour, 300 to 400-seat rooms.
I remember not being able to get into that show.
The record had just come out, and they could have bailed, but they did it. From my perch behind the stage, I could see all these people singing those songs like they'd known the band all their lives. The record had only been out for a few months. They knew they were never going to get to do this again, to see a band in a club like that, to look the band straight in the eye like that.
Another memorable show was one of the early crawfish boils. I didn't work that night, but I came back two days later and the place still stunk of crawfish. I think every stray cat in the neighborhood was hanging out in the courtyard. I noticed that the smell of crawfish was still in the room, coming through the air conditioner. Turned out some joker had thrown his crawfish shells up on the roof by the air-conditioning unit.
What would you say was the least pleasant interaction you had with an artist or a patron?
Very rarely with an artist. If you're good enough to draw as an artist, you're smart enough to be polite. There are a few that think they are too big for their britches. But they're always pleasant to me, and I think that's because of how I, as a concierge, treat them. It's like life. If you're nice to them, they'll be nice to you.
There have been some patrons who get too rowdy, which is associated with bands that get rowdy. Some bands play that kind of music, and the audience takes the shtick too seriously. At an original music venue, it's actually pretty rare that you have to bounce someone. Maybe if they've had a little too much drink. But at an original music venue people come to hear the music, not to look for a fight or to get laid. But there have been times. I've had eyeglasses broken, a hand broken.
You punched someone?
That was from helping someone exit the venue. So there are a few bruises, but it was so infrequent. Those times when I've had to ask people to leave, I've always tried to present it as being in their own best interest: If you leave now, you might be able to come back again. If you don't go now, you won't be coming back. But it all goes back to that first conversation: Welcome to Off Broadway, glad you're here. I want you to have a good time.