City: Azusa, CA
Set length: I stayed for about 40 minutes
One of the worst gigs I’ve been to in quite some time. Let me explain… This was no fault of the Iron Maidens or their management, rather it was all venue and a few wannabe thugs that made this into a rough night for the band and a lot of the fans. Here we go…
This piece-of-crap club is located in Azusa right on Foothill and has quite a large facility with two large dance floors, huge bar area, decent sized stage, an outside patio, and plenty of parking.
Nobody was let into the venue until after 10PM, which was fine – no biggie. On the inside they clearly miscalculated the air conditioning needs for this size of venue because it was scorching hot inside. Again, not a huge deal but it was pretty damn uncomfortable. I’m guessing it is like this every night and it is probably management’s way to get girls to wear as little as possible – lame, right off the bat. A DJ spun records for at least an hour and it was the usual dance favorites of the area by the likes of Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Michael Jackson, etc., which packed the dance floor – and I mean packed! This DJ really knew how to get people out there. Unfortunately, the sound system was not that great! As a matter of fact, it was horrible. Sections of sound kept cutting out and sometimes it sounded as if the speakers were picking up a frequency playing a freight train rolling by, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. I’m guessing the band was using the same same speakers as their sound was very muddy and a pretty hard to hear the details. All the highs and mids were cut out and overpowered by the low end.
There were a few Metal-heads, Rebels, and Rockabilly-types in attendance but there was also a good mix of LaOrDo’s in the venue tonight. What is a LaOrDo? It’s what I call a person that wears the holy triumvirate of thug sports teams as regional attitude: The LA Lakers, Oakland Raiders, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of true fans of these teams out there but what I am referring to here are the wannabe thugs that follow these teams because of the societal street elevation they carry. These are the same people who riot, loot, and burn down half the city after one of their teams wins (or loses) a championship game. It is always a small percentage of people that seem to ruin it for everyone and tonight was no exception, thanks to these few assholes. I witnessed a guy get his point-n-shoot camera stolen by a girl right from the front of the stage. Seriously, she snatched it right out of his hand and ran out to the patio, which was packed with people and, I would guess, some protection. When the guy reported it to a bouncer, he just shrugged his shoulders and walked away – really lame that nobody from the establishment would try and help out. I felt bad for the guy but I wasn’t about to get into something with I had thousands of dollars in gear with me.
A pit started up within a few Maidens songs, which was comprised mostly of drunk, careless, and inconsiderate people who just wanted to slam. Look, I have no problem with hardcore pits as I’ve been in some of the biggest and most brutal ones including Hatebreed, Pantera, Suicidal Tendencies (back in the 80’s), Aggression, D.R.I., Slayer… Should I go on? What I am getting at is that this crowd had no respect for the music, musicians, venue, or other people trying to enjoy the show. Again, this was not everyone in attendance but at this point a mob-mentality started brewing and I could tell that things were going to get ugly.
Meanwhile, the audience was constantly throwing crap at the band and flipping them off – not cool. When the band’s stage crew came out and threatened to shut it down if it kept up, the chants of “guero, guero…” started up. Racism? Nahhh, not at all! This happened a couple of times. Also, I had a few jackasses give me some attitude and words for no reason right around this time so I decided I did not need to get into a fight and have my camera broken or stolen as well so I split. This was a little more than halfway through the show. If it wasn’t for my camera I would have stayed to see how things played out but I figured it wasn’t worth it at this point.
As I was leaving I ran into the couple who had their camera stolen and the guy was looking for the girl who did it. I told him that I saw her go into the patio area and he asked me to go back in and point her out (the girl he was with also saw her but didn’t want him to pursue). I felt horrible saying no but I had quite a bit of camera equipment with me and I was pretty sure he was not going to get his camera back and was only headed for a beat-down at this point. I told him that it isn’t worth it – at least not on this night. It was definitely the type of crowd that if a fight were to break out then a bunch of other punch-happy guys would jump in. I would be very surprised to hear that there were zero fights there that night. Hey, scraps happen all the time and I’ve seen a gazillion of them but this was a mob just waiting for someone to beat down. Also, sitting on a small wall in front of my truck was a guy with a bloody nose who said that a couple of guys rammed him into the speakers in the venue. Apparently he was in the pit and a couple of dudes grabbed him and slammed his face into the side of the speaker stack. He said they laughed at him after they threw him to the ground so he came outside to lick his woulds – again, this guy tried to get a bouncer to do something right after it happened but was ignored as well.
As I drove around the back of the venue to get out, I noticed the outdoor patio was wall-to-wall people getting down to the lovely and melodic sounds of what sounded like Reggaeton to me. As my friend Alejandra would say… “Ay, que chunti!” Yes, Chunti is the right word to describe this place!!
So, I did mange to get a few photos in the short time I was there but I can tell you I’ll never go to that club again… Unless Clutch is playing – but other than them, no way will I ever spend a dime in this shit-hole. I am all for supporting places that cater to live music but this is one place that flat out sucks. I’d be willing to bet that this place will close down in less than a year from now – or at least change owners and then it will start up the same crap under a different name.
Here is a link to Yelp that has more reviews of this place to back up some of what I’ve mentioned above:
No surprise at all… this place has closed its doors!! But it didn’t go down without a fight (pun intended). Between the time I was there a little less than 6 months ago, this place had over a dozen calls to the police for fights, a shooting, and horrible scores from inspectors. It is now a parking lot! Good!! It sucks for the community but a place like this is a breeding ground for shitty behavior (not the good kind of bad behavior either!)
Reviews, comments, and possible putdowns for the Iron Maidens…
The girls did play their asses off and it was too bad that the sound we were getting on the floor was absolute crap, the audience was way lame, the bouncers and staff sucked balls, the lighting was cheap and rigged by amateurs… but hey, things happen, right? Hopefully the band and management got paid in full without issue. I wonder if Phantom had a cricket bat with him tonight?!?
Here is the setlist from this evening:
- Aces High
- Die with your Boots on
- 2 minutes to Midnight
- Invaders (listed as Assvaders on the setlist)
- Wasted Years
- The Prisoner
- 22 Acacia Ave
- The Trooper
- Sea of Madness
- Phantom of the Opera
- Number of the Beast
- Children of the Damned
- The Evil that Men Do
- Run to the Hills
Phantom, once again; thank you very much for the chance to photograph the Maidens.
Just in case you want more Iron Maidens, here are a few past galleries I have posted:
– at Paladino’s in Tarzana
– at a Swap Meet in Santa Fe Springs
– at The Galaxy Theatre in Costa Mesa
– at 4th & B in San Diego