You probably noticed the painting behind the stage, the one with all the beer cans. It was done by our bartender Mary McIntyre.
So I noticed the Abadox drummer admiring the painting during load-in. It's a frequent occurrence, given the nature of the artwork.
While the band is loading out, I notice their drummer trying to smuggle something out the door behind their amps. Turns out it was the very same painting. I busted him on the spot and got nothing but a bunch of smart-ass conjecture. He told one of our regulars that he loved the painting and, since no one else could possibly appreciate its majesty, he decided to liberate it.
He put his time into it — the painting was secured to the wall via a mounting. His unleashing involved unscrewing the painting from the wall. This was not a drunken grab. It was a painstaking labor. I admit that I was not paying attention to the stage at the time, but it's rare that a band tries to steal from us. We run a good ship.
When accosted outside, I was met with nothing but a smart-ass attitude. "Yeah, I tried to steal your painting and I got caught," he said. "I don't know what the big deal is."
The other band members weren't much help. I gave them the benefit of the doubt — they didn't steal anything — but surely they must have been aware of their drummer's doings. And the more I and some of our regulars laid into him about it, the more flip and sarcastic he became. It took a lot of resistance to not make things physical, especially as the harangues kept on coming. He just plastered on a shit eating grin on his face and continued to flaunt his transgression.
What sucks is that he ruined an otherwise fantastic night of music. What sucks even more is that I paid the band before one of the members decided to go all jackass on us.
When I told him word would be getting out about this, he smiled even bigger and said to yes, by all means, let people know what he did. So here you go.
I’ve contacted Thomas-Kennedy to get his side of the story, which I’ll report as soon as he responds.
UPDATE: Here is Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy's response to Josephes' recounting of last night's post-gig incident:
First off, yes there was an attempt to free the painting from the venue; but I, Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy the drummer from the Abodox, was not present at the venue when this occurred. I had already gone home to get some sleep as I had to go to work in the morning at my day job at the Frye Art Museum. That's right, I guard art for a living. I will not throw any of my band mates under the bus though as it is our policy to stick together and support each other's actions...and mistakes. None of us did anything to stop this, so I guess you could say we are all to blame.
Its true that time and care was put into the heist. We respect the work and did not want to damage it. A "drunken grab" would have been much worse as it may have hurt the art which would have been a huge tragedy. We had no intention of getting away with it or damaging it. The painting is fucking huge and to think that it could be easily removed and walked out with is a ridiculous notion. I guess you could say that it was our way of showing our appreciation. we had no intention of keeping or hurting the art which, again, we fully appreciate.
When confronted, we owned up to it and returned the painting. Then in a moment of severe overreaction, we were violently threatened with physical accosting. The specifics of what was said are vague at best, but we did not resist or require this aggression at all. The venue even took some of our gear to "teach us a lesson." Thankfully, they returned it, just as the painting was unresistingly given back to them.
Also, we would like to confirm and defend what was perceived as our "smart ass-attitude" in the face of the staff's aggressive behavior and words. After apologizing repeatedly, it seems nothing more could be done to calm the situation as escalating threats were directed towards us. We are not liars.
JJ is also right that it was a great night. it always is at the Blue Moon and we understand how our actions soured it as such. We have been playing there for over 8 years and we would hate it if last night was our last set there. We are sorry for all the fuss. It was a fucked up thing to do and it won't happen again. We love the Blue Moon and we are sorry for being dumb asses. We have nothing but respect for the venue, the art, and the artist. We sincerely apologize.
As for the show itself, I had to leave before headliners the Abodox played (and thus obviously missed the drama), but Diminished Men acquitted themselves well without their bassist Simon Henneman, deftly moving through smoky, chiaroscuro-enhanced instrumentals that sounded as if they could be gracing Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns and Quentin Tarantino crime thrillers.
Wah Wah Exit Wound followed, playing songs that were so serpentine and knotty, they must have taken 10-hour rehearsal days to master them. Seriously. These labyrinthine pieces sound great—especially sans vocals—while they’re happening (thankfully, they aren’t fooling about the wah-wah part of their moniker), but they’re very hard to retain in your brain afterward. They dissipate like passages from a book written in a language you only half understand. But during them, it’s like riding a roller coaster in a forest full of pine trees. Compliment.