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Tautologic will never again play the Underground Lounge in Chicago. Their shabby treatment of us, the opener Your Mom SRO, and probably countless others I don't even know - is reprehensible.
>From the moment we arrived, the doorman and barmaid were unrelentingly unaccomodating, unfriendly, unhelpful, and at times outright antagonistic. The doorman had this heavy-eyelidded lizard repose, and answered any and all requests with the same disdainful drawl.
The barmaid wouldn't accomodate any reasonable request we made - like turning on the stage lights so that our drummer could set up his kit before soundcheck, or turning down the blaring house music so that we could do a vocal warm-up before customers started arriving.
The owner required us to sign a contract guaranteeing the attendance of at least 40 people in order for the bands to get paid AT ALL - or else they wouldn't turn on the sound system. Since we'd already invested about $80 in promotion and considerable effort in preparing for the gig, I was hard-pressed to decline. I should have.
Before signing, I raised several rather valid points, which were ignored: (1) we were never informed that we'd be handed a contract on the evening of the show, (2) we were not properly informed of the terms, and (3) their "contract" was completely one-sided. What were we getting in return for their guarantee of attendance?
As it turns out - NOTHING.
We surpassed their 40 person requirement. Everyone I know who was there said the same thing. There are 44 chairs in the room, plus two couches that seat three. All seats were full and people were standing when we began our set, and our fans exited en masse shortly at the completion of our set. It was obvious that we brought the majority of the clients that evening.
However, when it came time for us to get paid, the doorman LIED about the number of people who came, and the bar kept the money paid our fans who came to see us specifically.
Jon Hain (from Your Mom SRO, the opening band) and I attempted to reason with the doorman, who offered us bogus "apologies". What he didn't say, but we learned from other people there was that all "production costs" - including the soundman and - you guessed it, the DOORMAN, came out of the door. There was no mention of deduction of production costs in the "contract" we signed.
In essence, we more than earned our money, but the doorman stole it from us simply by lying about the number of attendees, with the barmaid and the owner as his accomplices.
My advice to any bands considering the place for a gig is to avoid this place at all costs, and request that you pass the word along to anyone you know that this is not a venue which deals fairly with musicians. I also request that any music fans with a conscience boycott this room.
Thank you to all of you who came out to see us at this Saturday. Your support is appreciated. I'm truly sorry that your hard-earned money went to support the liars and cheats at the Underground Lounge.
Ethan Sellers Tautologic
-- Anonymous, May 14, 2001