Devil's Night Gig Shot Down In Flames
The following article has been written on Vancouver's weekly entertainment newspaper, the Georgia Strait:
A local live-music promoter is claiming that Vancouver police forced the cancellation of a bar gig she had booked for the Halloween weekend. The show, dubbed the Devil's Night Metal Festival, was slated for the Asbalt at the Astoria Hotel (769 East Hastings Street) and was to feature performances by the black-metal bands Descention, Demyse, and Anatolian Wisdom. According to the promoter, wendythirteen, members of the Vancouver police department showed up at the Asbalt twice in the week before the scheduled event and issued informal verbal warnings about the show. "The cops came in on Wednesday [October 27] of last week and said, 'This show can't go on,'" wendythirteen told the Straight. "So my doorman vouched like, 'Hey, these are friends of ours. We've done this for five years. Nothing's going to happen.' Didn't matter. The cops came back the day before [October 29] and said, 'No. You do this show, we will fuck with you till the end of time,' basically. And the owners decided just to shut the whole bar down. Last call was 5:15 [p.m.] on Saturday, and then they shut the bar, just so there would be no issues."
The problem, she explained, was that the band Descention had performed at the 2800-block Watson Street house known in underground punk and metal circles as "the Compound" on September 25. That was the night that the house, located near the intersection of Main Street and 12th Avenue, was burned to the ground in an out-of-control house-wrecking party. Members of Descention were arrested that night but were released without being charged.
"I think it's just payback for Main and 12th, because it took every cop in the city to deal with that," wendythirteen said. "And the only band they could link with that is Descention. They were playing, so how could they be starting a fire when they were in the middle of their set? They were grabbing their gear and running for their lives, basically."
Wendythirteen said she would have gone ahead with the show despite the warnings but the ultimate decision rested not with her but with the Astoria's owners, who chose to comply with the wishes of the police. "When I talked to [the police], they said, 'Well, we really can't do anything legally to shut you down, but we can threaten your owners," she said. The Astoria's owners declined to be interviewed by the Straight, and, according to police spokesperson Const. Sarah Bloor, the officers involved did not submit any paperwork related to the exchange.
"I don't have a file on it or anything," Bloor told the Straight. "I'm not too sure as to what the exact reasoning would have been, if it was a licensing issue or if it was just an agreement that was made between the promoters and the police, but it's not a 'threat', and if the owners or the promoters wished to go ahead with [the concert], then that was their prerogative to do so." Bloor stated that the VPD does not practise prior restraint, and said that although police might warn event organizers about potential trouble, the choice of whether to go ahead with an event rests with those planning it. "If there was a discussion between an officer and promoting staff in regards to a potential concert where there could be difficulties on-site, that's a decision that the promoters have to make," she said. "We'll still police whatever event it is, but it's for the promoters to make the decision."
Source: Georgia Straight
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