Posted in music | venues on May 2, 2008

nobody was killed. yes, I said it.

Webster Hall - May 1, 2008 (tightlyunwound)
fire @ The Kills

I almost forgot the text I got last night...

Hey! Are you at the Kills? they stopped show for 10 min in middle. fireman were here. weird. i hate webster
The Kills were the headliner. The Child Ballads and Telepathe opened the show.

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Comments (23)

scary. really glad nothing came of it.

peace.

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 12:56 PM

WE DON'T NEED NO WATER, LET THE MOTHERFUCKER BURN!

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 12:59 PM

It was pretty scary for a few minutes on the balcony. People started running and the smell of smoke was pretty bad. I don't even think most people on the floor even knew what happened. They turned on the lights for 10mins and then started the show again.

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 2:28 PM

Not going to affect the Hold Steady show tonight, is it?

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 2:38 PM

no - hold steady on as scheduled.

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 2:50 PM

It was completely scary. I'd recommend staying on the floor, making note of all the exits, wear good shoes and be ready to run. That place is a complete hazard, fire and otherwise. It amazes me they can stay open.

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 2:50 PM

It has historical status thus it will probably never change or be updated to a safe venue.

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 2:55 PM

The best part was after the fire. When the last fireman left the stage, he yelled, "Are you ready to ROCK!" into the mic. You could tell from the look on his face, that he had achieved a childhood dream.
The scariest part was actually how horrible the sound-mix was at Webster hall. Running shoes might help with a fire, but they can't keep the bass from washing out all other sounds.

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 4:22 PM

Yep. Was on the floor, close to the front. Had no freaking clue what was actually going on, same with everyone around me.

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 4:26 PM

I was up in the balcony and the people behind me told me to get the soundboard dude's attention. I naturally, was reticent to do so, but then they pointed to the wood trestle thingy hanging from the roof and there were 3 little fires on them. I threw my empty cups at the light operator and pointed to the fires. They seem to extinguish themselves but evidently something caught the soundboard crew's attention because for the next 10 minutes there were goons all over the place with flashlights and walky-talkies. About 10 minutes after that the fire-fighters appeared. Everyone around me agreed that it looked like fires up there and we could even smell a faint burning smell so I couldn't just chalk it up to being a drunk idiot, which I was at that point. I have to say, it was pretty weird watching the Kills and the capacity audience below knowing that they were minutes away from a potential raining inferno. It sure gave some "zing' to the proceedings. Evidently everything was put under control because they continued the show as you know. So to all of you little shits out there, the next time you see me, you owe me a beer cause I saved your lives, man!

Posted by Avalanche | May 2, 2008 5:23 PM

i was on the floor towards the back and noticed the bouncers playing flashlight tag and then pointing them up to the ceiling. you could actually smell smoke on the floor but no one knew if it was just the smoke machine or something more ominous. (i still find it pretty ironic that they ban smoking in clubs and venues, but they can still use a smoke machine to create that rock 'n' roll atmosphere...) at any rate we were asked to leave once the firemen took stage and as we piled out onto the street we were told that the show was over, so we left. no broken hearts here as the sound was incredibly bad and we were just about to give up anyway.

i was about to say i'd never been at a show where a fire had broken out but that's not true.
Bunny Brains in Danbury, CT playing an Easter Sunday show at TK's Punk Rock cafe (back in the day of smoking in bars). They brought along a pinata filled with airline sized bottles of booze. drunk, smoking bunny brain's fans and a pinata filled with liquor? it was a disaster waiting to happen, an so it did.
it was quickly dowsed and no one was hurt.
now THAT's entertainment!

Posted by anonymous | May 2, 2008 6:21 PM

did it take long to clear the venue? i could see a place like webster being a really awful trap in the event of a fire (much like the other nightclub fires, of course).

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 6:33 PM

What time does Daft Punk stop playing with kerosene?

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 9:18 PM

webster hall=worst venue in nyc

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 9:53 PM

They didn't end up clearing out the venue. Thankfully. I can't imagine what that would have been like. I was on the floor, and didn't know what was happening at all. About 5 songs in, I smelled something burning, but they seemed to respond pretty quickly. The lights came up, and the fire department was on the scene. They checked it out, and decided it was okay to continue with the show. So to answer your question of "how long did it take to clear out the venue?"... As long as it took for people to recognize that the sound quality at Webster Hall is horrible. The Kills are amazing live, but at Webster, you almost wanted a catastrophe to bail you out of the misery.
The funny part is that when the firemen appeared on stage, Hotel's (the dude in The Kills) first thought was that someone got them a stripper as a joke.

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2008 10:07 PM

Does anyone realize that the reason they didn't announce exactly what was going on was to avoid a stampede towards the exits once it was announced that there was a fire in the building? From where I was (about 3/4 back from the stage to the floor bar) I could smell and see the smoke and the exit strategy looked pretty dismal. There was about 5 minutes there where worried about what to do if people rushed the door. Those guys handled the situation perfectly. And, no, they didn't clear the place out. The show resumed after a 15 minute or so break.

To answer the question of why a club can use a smoke machine yet they ban smoking, a smoke machine isn't real smoke from fire. it's a liquid that becomes smoke as it vaporizes, so it's not flammable. It's not bad for your lungs unless you breathe in large amounts of it directly for a long time, which is not how it's used at a rock show, so don't worry.


Oh, and from where I was, the sound was great, but yeah, there isn't a lot of consistency in the place if you move around, but what do you want? that place wasn't designed for that kind of sound.

Posted by Anonymous | May 3, 2008 10:11 AM

i dont know why people are saying the sound is terrible, i saw minus the bear and portugal the man at webster a few weeks ago and the sound was great!

Posted by Anonymous | May 3, 2008 10:19 AM

I've always thought that place is a fire hazard, the way they bottleneck everyone down those one set of stairs once a show is over. There are other exits, but they do this so that the indie crowd doesn't interrupt 80s Prom or whatever crap is going on elsewhere in the building.

Posted by Anonymous | May 3, 2008 11:58 AM

When I first walked in I commented on it having the best emergency exit capacity I've ever seen in any venue. I think it was 3 sets of double 4ft(?) wide exit doors on the right side of the stage.

The sound WAS terrible throughout most of the show. You couldn't hear any of the stuff they were playing live, just a heavy muddled drum beat. Such a shame!

(Architect who sometimes has to figure out exiting capacity from building codes and always checks out where the exits are in clubs)

Posted by Anonymous | May 3, 2008 6:35 PM

Snarkitects >>>>> Architects

Posted by Anonymous | May 3, 2008 7:41 PM

Those 3 sets of double wide exit doors are NEVER USED to exit crowds, not on a Friday or Saturday when club night is going on downstairs. Instead everyone is forced through the doors at the opposite corner (including people exiting from upstairs).

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2008 9:55 AM

THE CHILD BALLADS, THE UNDERGROUND MONIKER OF A POET GANG LEADER NAMED STEWART LUPTON AND THE GROWING ARMY OF ESTHETES OF MUSICIANS - PAINTERS - SHAKESPEAREANS ACTORS AND THE LIKE (AS KNOWN AS MUCH FOR THEIR DELINQUENCY AS THEIR ANTIQUATED CHIVALRIC CODE, ARE THE MOST COMPELLING PHENOMENA I HAVE SEEN SINCE GIVING BIRTH. IF THERE IS ANYONE ALIVE TODAY ON THIS COLD ROCK HURLING THROUGH SPACE THAT HAS INHERITED THE MANTLE OF LORD BYRON ( COMPLETE WITH THE GLORY, HUMOUR , SUFFERING, HUMOUR MADE FROM SAID SUFFERING, AND HEART STOPPING-SHOW STOPPING, GOD GIVEN TALENT, AS WELL AS INNER SENSE OF DAMNATION AND A FACE SO BEAUTIFUL TO BLOCK OUT THE SUN) IT IS STEWART LUPTON. SURE, HE’S AN EASY TARGET. A HISTORY OF SELF DESTRUCTION, POETRY AWARDS AND A CERTAIN, INIMITABLE ‘ TOUCHED’ WAY ABOUT HIM , COMBINED WITH HIT OR MISS SHOWS, HAVE MADE HIM A POPULAR CHAT ROOM RELIGIOUS FIGURE /PUNCHLINE. NEVERTHELESS, THE MAN HAS “IT.” WATCHING LUPTON ON A BAD NIGHT IS LIKE WATCHING ALI LOOSE A FIGHT. IT STILL BEATS THE LIVING S H I Tut OF 80% OF THE PROPHETS OF MEDIOCRITY THAT ARE CLOGGING THE ARTERIES OF ROCK AND ROLL. SCREW ALL THE NAYSAYERS, THEY ARE LOWERE THAN THE PEPPER SPRAY LISTON PUT ON HIS GLOVES TO BLIND HIS OPPONENTS. THEY FORGET THAT LUPTON CAN DANCE. THE MAN CAN DANCE MOST FRONTMEN IN CIRCLES WHILE RECITING ‘CHILDE HAROLDE’ PT.S 3 AND 4. HE TRULY TRULY HAS IT. ALL HE WANTS TO DO IS PASS IT ON, GIVE IT TO YOU, GIVE YOU A NIGHT TO REMEMBER. HE IS BACK. MANY HAVE FELT A RECENT DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE. THE MAN IS BACK AND HIS DANCING SHOES ARE SHINED. I THINK HE MIGHT LOVE US. LET HIM. it feels really really good…
LADY JOE FRAZIER | 05.05.08 - 1:28 am

Posted by lady day frazier | May 5, 2008 8:32 PM

Pretty scary incident.Nobody was killed that was the most important one.It's a relief to hear.

Posted by pepper spray expert | November 12, 2010 4:40 AM

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