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Monday, April 23, 2012

The Crocodile to be (More) All-Ages

Posted by on Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Supplies for the newly added hallway. Leads to Zone 2
  • Supplies for the newly added hallway. Leads to Zone 2

Brittnie, Jackson, Grant and I were invited to come down to the Crocodile two Thursdays ago to chat about what they’ve done to convert the club into an all-ages thing. We were enticed with the prospect of what I assumed was complimentary pizza*. Grant couldn’t make it, so I declared myself the Stranger music editor and started asking questions.

At some point when Hunter, Marcus and Meli from the Croc were showing us around, they took us up to the mezzanine in the showroom or what I like to call, “that balcony that’s to the right of the stage… that I guess you can hang out on?” I didn’t really think you could go up there. There’s a staircase I knew about, but it totally feels like you’re going to get in trouble if you go up there. If there are people up there, to me, it’s maybe five or six, and I’m wondering if they have a VIP pass or not. They assured us that you can go up there, and that they’re using the mezzanine as part of their all-ages configuration.

Here’s how it works:

There will essentially be two different areas of the showroom that fluidly change their roles for each event. Let’s break this down into Zone 1 and Zone 2: Zone 1 is the main showroom floor and Zone 2 is the mezzanine and the standing area underneath, which is directly in front of the soundboard.

If you’re familiar with the Crocodile, you’re aware of that iron rail that sits about three feet to the West of the soundboard. That's getting moved so that it’s bumping up to the stage will act as a separator between the main floor and the standing area underneath of the mezzanine (Zone 2). Security will make sure people are carded before they move between the zones. You'll still come through the same entrance when you first enter the venue, but now a security person will card people and usher them to the proper zone.

Online ticket sales, and the percentage of which are underage vs 21-plus will dictate which age group goes where. If, say, 75 percent of tickets for an event sell to of-age customers, they get to stand in the Zone 1, and the underage people get to hang out in Zone 2. Both zones have bars that will be open or closed depending on who occupies them.

I kept asking whether or not people would maybe feel alienated or have a hard time seeing if they were hanging out on the mezzanine, something Hunter reiterated wasn’t a problem, because you can see fine, and it’s just that before people weren’t occupying the area below the mezzanine, even if the show was packed. You be the judge next time you go.

Overall, I think this is absolutely wonderful! This is one less Seattle venue that doesn't have to be worried about losing money from having all-ages shows and one more venue that folks under 21 don't have to feel alienated from. My friend Savannah (who is 19, lives in Tacoma) was able to see our mutually favorite band Parenthetical Girls last Thursday!

Great job for being on top of this, Crocodile!

*we didn't get any complimentary pizza but Brittnie and Jackson did get complimentary booze. I don't drink alcohol.


Comments (11) RSS

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This is a step in the right direction, but the balcony situation is kinda wack. "Separate but equal" never is actually equal. Also, if I buy an advance ticket, the assumption is that I want to stand with the adults where there is access to alcohol. But I don't! I want to dance with my friends who are an age-diverse group of people, and I don't care about whether I can drink. I don't want my buying advance tix to skew the math and shove the kids into the balcony.

I'm glad they're taking this step now, and I know that local clubs didn't make the dumb WSCLB rules, but they could have oriented stuff in a more genuinely pro-youth way when they underwent their big expensive remodel in 2009.
Posted by Kevin Erickson on April 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM · Report this
Kevin, for someone who has made it your duty to speak for the "All Ages Movement" it is striking how little you understand of the actual legal restrictions venues have when setting up shows. With the cost structure as they are for paying for salaries, space overhead and the guarantees for bands, the only ave venues have to make enough profit to stay open is selling drinks, that is the reality. It looks like the Crocodile has found a way to open shows for All Ages, while still being able to sell drinks. It's a great step forward for Seattle.
Posted by Red Carpet on April 23, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
Josh Bis 3
This is a great development and I'm glad the Crocodile is returning to its all ages habits without reinstituting the hilarious orange beach fencing, but saying that you can "see fine" from the Mezzanine is being really generous.
Posted by Josh Bis on April 23, 2012 at 6:14 PM · Report this
@3, yep, that's an outright lie unless they've drastically changed the sight lines. Sure, if you're standing right up against the rail, you'll probably have a decent view (unless you're also standing in the spot where there's a beam going across), but everyone else is pretty much screwed.

I think this is a good thing overall, but bullshitting people is unnecessary. Standing in the mezzanine sucks, but at least you can hear the music. I guess that's something.
Posted by serotonein on April 23, 2012 at 8:08 PM · Report this
I dig the fact this is happening, but I the separation aspect really bugs me. The main reason why it sucks is the way they are doing it. No matter what happens those who are above 21 will still access get the best "seats" in the house, Its a flawed system because only one side stands to really lose or gain anything.
Posted by Niko on April 23, 2012 at 10:20 PM · Report this
@2 Mr or Ms Anonymous, I do actually understand the legal restrictions and the financial realities pretty well. I try to be encouraging to any venue that tries to open its doors to all ages, but it is also my job not to be satisfied with anything less than full inclusion of young people, and shoving them off to the side or into the balcony falls fall short of that. But like I said, it's a step in the right direction.
Posted by Kevin Erickson on April 23, 2012 at 10:34 PM · Report this
Anyway, I agree with Kenneth that overall this is awesome and I hope that it is a successful move that spurs more venues to compete to provide concertgoers of all ages with more options and better experiences. Yeah!
Posted by Kevin Erickson on April 23, 2012 at 11:52 PM · Report this
Simone 8
This is great and I welcome the all ages accommodations. I have to say I agree with Josh. I guess either they never actually tried to see a show when the balcony was packed or their just giving you a used car sales man pitch.

I was at the School of Seven Bells show last night and can't remember if the balcony was packed. I of course didn't know about the all ages thing until I was at the show and then I didn't know about the rules associated with the separation.

Besides the upstairs being for all ages I also think it can be good for people who don't drink and don't want to be around those who have had too much to drink. Unfortunately I couldn't even take a water cup from down stairs to up stairs. I can understand why but it was annoying not knowing that rule until the last minute.
Posted by Simone on April 24, 2012 at 10:31 AM · Report this
Baby Blue 9
@5 The way I read it, the upstairs would sometimes be the 21+ area and sometimes the all ages area, depending on the show. I can't see anything from up there unless you are pressed up against the railing (especially if you're 5'2"). I get why they're doing this but I hate it. This is exactly why all ages shows at Neumos suck.
Posted by Baby Blue on April 24, 2012 at 3:49 PM · Report this
Hey All, we're going to post pics to make the set up more clear, but it's not only the balcony that's All Ages now, but 25% of the main floor as well. So there is still drinking on most of the floor, with a section of the floor up front on the stage being dry. There's also the option to switch that set up if more All Ages tickets get sold than 25% of the Cap. It's going to be show by show basis. Of course we'll work out kinks as they happen, but we've done some runs through with the new All Ages set up several times now and had a great response from patrons. Come check it out and we'd love to hear feedback about it, it's just going to keep getting better.
Posted by Alicia1000 on April 24, 2012 at 6:03 PM · Report this
Maybe they can do that whole "closed circuit tv" thing to a screen upstairs? I've seen it at other bars before, and it really does help the amount of rubbernecking one needs to do to see a show. The mezzanine at the Croc is great if you're in the first 3 rows. If not, well...those posters up there are really nice.
Posted by Casual_Observer on April 25, 2012 at 10:38 PM · Report this

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