On Wednesday night The Airliner club replaced its security guards at the popular Low End Theory party, following widespread reports of bribery.
The uber-popular beat scene gathering regularly hosts big-name performers in its tiny space, drawing massive Wednesday-night crowds hoping to see artists like Thom Yorke and Erykah Badu. Things came to a head after the July 6 show, featuring Flying Lotus. Scores of people were turned away, and many complained that bouncers required cash donations to gain access.
"I've bribed the main cat at the door, paid triple the cover, he pocketed everything on top I'm sure," wrote concertgoer Justin Sherwood shortly thereafter on the event's Facebook page. "I was told it was the only way I'd get in."
Slipping the door guy a couple of bills is nothing new, of course, but the Low End Theory incidents inspired mounting frustration. "There were some issues our patrons were having with security," says event co-founder Kevin Moo, declining to comment specifically on the bribery allegations. "We had to do something visible to let our patrons know that we care about them." Last week he mused about changing the party's location -- asking Facebook followers which other venue they might prefer -- but following the security overhaul his mind is at ease.
"The problem is not the venue," continues Moo, who is also a hip-hop and electronic artist who performs as Daddy Kev. "The venue is perfect for us. There's no other room in LA that sounds like that." Noting that the switch applies only to Wednesdays and that The Airliner will retain the displaced bouncers on other nights, he asserts that the party will remain there for the foreseeable future.
He adds that revelers often chide him for event's lines and crowding, and also accuse him of leaving money on the table by not vacating the 140-capacity spot for a larger space. "But we're not here for the money, we're here for the art," he retorts. "I'd rather have a packed club and not be able to meet the demand than a huge room where we're 70 percent full."
In any case, the new bouncers appear to be a hit. "Was is just me or was the new security being extra nice to everyone?" posted attendee Austin Harkey on Facebook, following the most recent event.
Says Moo: "The new guys they brought in were great. People loved them."