There are few solid metal venues in OC where you can rely on breakneck riffs and top-notch brutality on a weekly basis. And even though we knew it wouldn't last forever, it saddened us yesterday to get confirmation that Slidebar is ending its weekly Metal Mondays showcases following another brawl and mosh-pit/crowd-surfing incident last Monday featuring Exhumed and Phobia. The rowdiness in the crowd apparently caused the bar to shut the show down.
Though he doesn't blame Exhumed in particular, Slidebar manager and entertainment coordinator Joshua Stolo says the club is going to stop booking the metal night.
"We put Metal Mondays on hold so that we could book other genres on Mondays and book metal shows on any other day we want," Stolo says. "We often change up promotions and campaigns to try out different ideas. Ultimately, it's our goal to keep having quality shows and to keep them free as long as we can."
Last Monday, a fight inside the club and and the subsequent violence led the Fullerton Police to be called and the show to be shut down. Exhumed were not even allowed to begin their set and were forced to cancel the night's performance. Founding member of grindcore, gore-obsessed miscreant Matt Harvey told the Weekly what he witnessed before the shutdown:
"I'm not exactly sure of the history of stuff that had gone down before we got there, but I know someone was pretty seriously injured at a show there, so the club instituted a 'no moshing/stage-diving/crowd-surfing' policy in response. I also know that Fullerton P.D. had beaten a homeless dude [Kelly Thomas] to death nearby in the recent past. So there was definitely some cause for caution as far as keeping things mellow."
Harvey said he understands the liability issue that concerns the club, but, he added, "a no-moshing policy at an Exhumed/Phobia show in Orange County is simply not going to work."
Harvey said that despite its negative connotation from outsiders, he considers slam dancing or moshing to be a form of energetic release. "I've always thought that by allowing the kids to get wild at shows–not fighting, but moshing–you allow them to release a lot of negative energy and usually avoid more problems that way," he said. "The whole experience that we're trying to put across is more of a cathartic thing, not a get-riled-up-and-be-a-thug thing, but that's just my take on it."
Previous Metal Monday headliners have included other metal acts such as Sangre, All Shall Perish and Black Breath.
Of the night in question, Harvey continues: "I was at the bar when everything went down, so please take my account with several grains of salt. During the second set, from ACXDC, there was some kind of fight that broke out and the participants were taken outside, which I guess drew the attention of Fullerton P.D. . . . But the show continued, and ACXDC finished out their set. Phobia then got up onstage, and after three or four songs–and in Phobia terms, that's less than five minutes–the kids started to mosh, and then the lights were turned on, the PA was turned off, and it was announced over the PA that the show was officially over.
"I'm not sure exactly how the shutdown occurred–whether the club called the police, the police told the club to shut it down, whatever–but when I saw the boys in blue, I knew that the night was winding down," he continued. " Ramon, the promoter, was sincerely apologetic and seemed genuinely bummed out about the turn of events, and he immediately assured me that both us and Phobia would be paid in full. I proceeded to get pretty hammered with friends at the bar. At one point, 'Eye of the Tiger' came on over the PA and, like any rational person, I dropped to the floor to do some push-ups. After 10 push-ups, I switched to sit-ups, and at that point, I was told by security that I could not do sit-ups at the bar, which was pretty lame."
Exhumed plan to return to Southern California, although an exact make-up date for that Slidebar show at this point is uncertain.
Harvey also said the band are returning in April with the mighty death-metal band Suffocation. "We apologize to anybody bummed that we didn't get to play for the kids who turned up for what should have been an awesome night of beer, bullet-belts and blast beats in Fullerton at the Slidebar," he said. "We'll see you all sooner rather than later!"