Saturday, April 26, 2008
worst venue in america
okay, i haven't been to every venue in america but i've been to my fair share. i was just reminiscing about 2007 and i started thinking about what a shitty, shitty place the starland ballroom in sayerville, nj is. i went up to philadeplhia to visit brynn and bri and see ben kweller with guster last july. at the last minute, brynn and i decided to go to the sayerville show as well (barb and kristin were already going so that was an added bonus for us). i spent quite a bit of time on the starland ballroom's website trying to figure out if the it was an indoor or outdoor venue. i figured with the name "ballroom" it was indoor but a lot of the pictures looked outdoor. fyi: it was indoor. the best part about the "trip" to new jersey was stuff yer face in new brunswick. i can't recall much about the food, but i really liked the entire atmosphere of the place. and of course, the name. apparently chef mario batali used to wash dishes there back in the day. you know, before he became a chef. anyway, back to the shitty ballroom. i don't know how many people the place holds but we got there after doors opened, i believe, and had to wait in the LONGEST line ever. it weaved in and out of the aisles in the parking lot. i started to get concerned that we were at a dave matthews concert that i didn't know about. the inside looked like a roller rink. hideous. and, it was one of those swell places where you can't have booze "on the floor". i don't know if that is a new jersey law or not. i've encountered that in washington and oregon so i'm no stranger to it. it's still tough for me to wrap my head around since i'm from texas, there are no such laws or rules here. hell, passengers could drink in the car here until just a few years ago! so during ben kweller we were in the back by the bar because we wanted to pound some drinks before guster. i was behind two of the most annoying girls EVER. they were chit-chatting so loudly that i had to tell them that i, in fact, had not paid x amount of dollars to listen to them flap their traps. so they moved. i normally try to be really nice at concerts because nobody needs the bad juju, but they were really on my nerves. it was still super noisy back there, apparently no one in new jersey likes ben kweller. or if they do, they're 15 and can't stand back by the bar anyway. it was ungodly crowded. (i just looked at their website to see if they list the venue capacity and this is what i found in the FAQ section: Q: How many people will be at this concert I'm going to? A: It depends on how many tickets sell. Starland's capacity is expandable depending on the show, ticket demand, etc. Some shows may be more populated than others, though it's Starland's goal to consistently provide a comfortable concert experience. wtf? comfortable concert experience? BULLSHIT.) before guster went on we ventured into the crowd. we finally ended up towards the left side of the stage where it was most bearable. the whole place was still a hot mess though. i can't really pinpoint exactly what i hated about it, i think it was just a little of everything. the only redeeming quality were the restrooms in the back. it was like a movie theater, stalls galore, it was also clean and well air conditioned. but really, nice bathrooms aren't enough for me. i don't spend enough time in the bathroom at a show for that to really make a difference. also, i've endured enough disgusting restrooms in my time that i'm pretty used to having to squat it out. hence the ol' saying, "when in doubt, squat it out." so the starland ballroom gets my vote for worst venue i've ever been to. honorable mention goes to the place in portland where we saw gomez last year. only because they herd all the drinkers up onto a rickety balcony while the kids get the entire floor. bullshit. i wish i could remember what that place was called... oh edit! i found it. it was the roseland theater. their redeeming quality was that their security guards didn't give a shit about anything.