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The Band vs. the Bouncers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    burning of rome

    Saturday morning, the Burning of Rome, a five-piece alternative synth-pop band from Oceanside, sent out the following tweet:

    "If anyone has pictures of us being assaulted by U31's security, we would like them. Not pressing charges, but pretty bruised and pissed..."

    Influenced by the likes of Mike Patton (Faith No More/Mr. Bungle) and Danny Elfman (Oingo Boingo), the Burning of Rome are known for being an energetic and exciting live act. The band's MySpace page elaborated on the alleged incident:

    "To everyone that came out to the show, we're sorry you had to witness such an ignorant abuse of power by the club staff. To U31, f*** you -- tame the Neanderthals working in your security staff. It is OK for live music to be interactive, not every band in SD plays shoegaze while crammed in a DJ box. That set was tame compared to shows that Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower, Locust and Swing Kids have put on in this town."

    U-31, a North Park cocktail lounge and bar, has hosted the Burning of Rome in the past without incident. Additionally, the band is listed as a "Top Friend" on U-31's  MySpace page. An online article from the band's manager, Scott Lloyd, offered his interpretation of the evening:

    "Roughly 20 minutes into the band's show, lead singer Adam Traub climbed onto his keyboard rig in his usual no-holds-barred fashion and jumped off the stage, making contact with a hanging mirrored disco ball and setting it into motion. Without any warning, club bouncers immediately wrestled Traub to the floor, punching the 5-foot-8-inch 150-pound frontman in the face. Guitarist Joe Aguilar pleaded to other club personnel that his singer's antics were just a regular part of the show. Aguilar, however, was soon met with a kick in the back that knocked him to the ground. The band members were ushered out of the club and not allowed back in to remove their instruments and amplifiers from the stage.

    "San Diego police were called to the scene and, after assessing the situation, asked Traub and Aguilar if they wished to press charges against the club. Opting to put the incident behind them, the pair declined and returned to the venue with the rest of the band to retrieve their gear."

    An e-mail exchange with U-31 owner Steve Billings offered a different perspective :

    "We were prepared for a high energy show, and although we felt that telling the crowd of people [exiting the bar] to 'f*** off' and 'f*** you, we don't want you here,' and spitting into the crowd was a bit over the line, we let it go as their act," Billings wrote. "But we stopped the show out of fear for the safety of the patrons of U31. We sincerely wish that process had gone more smoothly, but in the heat of the moment, we were greeted with much resistance. This was the last thing we wanted to have to do on a Friday night at 11p.m. with a fairly full bar. We all have several friends in common, and I am sure both parties would have liked to have seen the night turn out differently."

    Traub also sent an e-mail : "The whole demonstration by U31's security was unnecessary. We did the same set at the Casbah a few weeks earlier and security shook our hands and helped us out with our gear. At U31, they put me in a choke hold and kicked me in the face".