Chicagomuzik

I've got a whole city to hold down

May 27, 2004

Dear Abbey

Or, 10 Things We Hate About You:

1. Overpriced tickets. Fifteen dollars for Eyedea & Abilities? The third-string (at best) members of the Rhymesayers crew? On their first headlining tour?

2. Exorbitant online-purchase fees. That Eyedea & Abilities show was billed as a $13 ticket in advance. But the Abbey's web sales partner, Ticket Web, tacked a $3.77 fee onto each ticket. That's almost a 30% markup, nearly a $17 ticket price, and almost $2 more than the cover charge at the door. To compare, Schubas' web sales service charges just $1.50 per ticket.

3. Extortionist drink prices. Six dollars for a bourbon?

4. Poor sound. We can't hear anything upstairs or under the balconies.

5. Poor choice of sound personnel. Gary 'Elvis' Schepers is one of the town's best sound men, yes - for rock. He seems lost trying to mix hip-hop though. Is it too much to hire someone who knows what's up?

6. Zero ambience. Paint over the silly murals. Turn off the freaking neon ads during shows. Or just let the place go to hell - at least dives have a vibe. At least then we'd know we were in a club.

7. Surly attitudes. Dan the Doorman was tolerable, even lovable, as the cranky troll protecting the gold that was Lounge Ax. Sitting atop this dungpile, however, he is just rude, bitter and unpleasant. And in that department, there's plenty of blame to share with other staff as well.

8. Incompetence in handling crowds. How many times have we stood in an endless line, in the middle of the night, in a downpour - or a deep-freeze - as the staff snoozed and bumbled their way through checking IDs, tickets, will-call, cash and guest list. And the bands we wanted to see played on inside.

9. Jungle-like conditions. Yo, we see the massive AC unit on the ceiling, plus the fans. Let's use them. We're sweating through our hoodies over here.

10. Lame-ass openers. It's cool to support local bands - but it's cooler to support good bands, and do so by putting them on bills that make sense. The number of inane, horrible local openers we have seen at the Abbey far exceeds anything we've suffered anywhere else. We won't name names, though - in part because you've never heard of any them before or since, and for good reason.

Oh yeah, and we'd say we hate your lame booking, but that's actually a plus 'cause we're rarely compelled to suffer your venue as a result. Fact is, if it weren't for MP Shows putting up excellent rap bills there, we'd probably never need to visit.