West Hollywood, California (December 22, 2009) – Another busy night broke out only ten days after inebriated concert-goers at a House Of Blues (HOB) Ice Cube concert allegedly fought with Sheriff’s deputies and then fellow prisoners – this time two people were hospitalized and three arrested at a punk rock concert, complete with mosh pit.
Sgt. Mike Caprioli told WeHo News that deputies first got called to HOB at 11:25 pm Sunday night to take away eight people who had created a disturbance and been subdued by security at a Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (DRI) concert.
Three of those were arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. “They threw bottles and used a concrete block,” he said.
Marcus Nicolaidis, HOB’s general manager, said the eight were non-ticketholders who had tried a variety of ways to gain entrance to the concert.
“They tried to sneak onto the property to see the concert and were hanging around on Olive looking for chances to get in,” he said. “They apparently threw bottles at our security and one of them picked up a cinder block and held it as they tried to crash through the gate.”
The house security brought the three men to the ground using “necessary force,” which sent one of the alleged intruders to the hospital with head injuries, Mr. Nicolaidis said.
Law enforcement charged each of the three arrestees with a single count of assault with a deadly weapon and held on unspecified bail.
The hospitalized arrestee is a 27 yr-old in stable condition, but was not identified pending notification of next of kin of his condition.
The other two were identified as James Fraiar, age 24, and Patrick Jara, no age given.
That incident, however, was only the beginning, as HOB management called LASD back twice more – at 12:16 and at 12:40 am, according to Sgt. Caprioli.
“We went back because a security guard got in a fight while detaining a client,” he said, “and the security guard ended up in the hospital.”
The band prides itself on its violent message, sporting a logo with a swastika-like human figure and a web site that says, “For the past 27 years, D.R.I. has been the epitome of the aggressive, hardcore-punk thrash…”
Mr. Nicolaidis said that the, “mosh pit can lead to a lot of arm swinging and leg kicking, and as [our security guard] was breaking up a situation, strictly in self-defense, broke a knuckle,” sending him to the emergency room for treatment.
The knuckle breaker in the mosh pit was not detained or removed from the club, so far as Mr. Nicolaidis knew, and Sgt. Caprioli said no more arrests were made.
The sheriff was called back at the show’s end, he said, because of the gridlock that developed when so many concert-goers left the venue. Deputies cleared the intersection by 1:20 am, he said.
Mr. Nicolaidis admitted the size of the audience took him by surprise. “On Friday we had sold 300 tickets, Saturday 500 and on Sunday night we were near full capacity [of 1050].”
Last year HOB was placed under a microscope by the city after a raft of violent incidences that culminated in a 100-person brawl that sent a woman to the hospital and shut down the Sunset Strip.
Council member John Heilman threatened to shut down the club, one of the city’s top taxpayers, such was his pique. After the club underwent a public safety review, Live Nation, the venue’s owner, agreed to restrictions on the types of groups allowed to perform there and also to share the concert schedule with the city and the Sheriff’s Department two weeks in advance.
The agreement stated that groups that commonly attract concert-goers who exhibit a higher propensity for violence – hip-hop, rap and punk bands, for examples – were to be kept to a minimum and to “safe acts” as judged by the locale’s GM, who had veto power over the bookers at headquarters.
Mr. Nicolaidis told WeHo News that, although he had no information on DIR’s concert history, he knew from experience that Ice Cube was a “good act; we’ve never had any trouble at an Ice Cube concert.”
Because of these two outbreaks within the last fortnight, Live Nation’s president and California director of operations plan to meet with city and law enforcement officials on Wednesday to review the club’s practices in light of that April agreement, said Mr. Nicolaidis.