How are you brother. Long time no see. Hey something pretty crazy happened this weekend at our Arlene’s Grocery Show.
That’s how the email from my buddy Kieran Sullivan of the band Cecilia Celeste started. Here’s what happened. The band were set to headline on Friday 11/19 at around midnight at Arlene’s Grocery (95 Stanton St, NYC). The place was getting packed with fans and the line outside went around the corner. This seemed to grab the attention of some astute members of the NYPD.
The officers began to question the doorman. They wanted to know how he was keeping track of the number of people he was letting in. This is usually done with a hand-held counter. The doorman did not have one.
They then asked how he was checking IDs to assure only those over 21 were getting in to the bar. This is usually done with a hand-held ID scanner. The doorman did not have one.
Inside the club, Kieran and crew were setting up their gear on stage when the house lights came up and the cops came in. It was now an official raid. The place was shut down due to being over capacity (of course how could they really be sure without that hand-held counter thingy) and everyone was told to leave.
Once outside, the club offered to refund everyone’s cover charge. I have to say, that was the one part of this story I did not expect. That was really cool and one of the reasons why Arlene’s Grocery remains a great place to hang, drink and see music. Providing you don’t get arrested. Which almost happened on this night.
People were actually being threatened with arrest for loitering as they waited to get their money back. Now, I know the cops have a job to do, but cut the crowd some slack. This was an awkward moment that they all had to deal with.
The band were really disappointed that they didn’t get a chance to play, but this there is an upside to this insanity. After all, how cool is it that they’ve grown so popular that the police raided and shut down their gig simply because there were too many people there? How often does that even happen anymore?
So, to anyone in any place of any authority in any part of the music industry that may be reading this, you’d be wise to get off your asses and work with Cecilia Celeste.