Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The HiFi: A Few Months In

The HiFi has been operating in Brisbane for a few months now. It seems that people are not wholly sold on the venue. Several associates of mine have been less than impressed.

For instance, an online friend's legitimate concerns about safety at the venue were answered in a rather off-the-cuff and arrogant fashion, as you can see here. It would seem that the tone adopted by 'general manager of operations' Scott Ahpee is not one that would win "best email response to the concerns of customers" at this years webby awards. Probably wouldn't even get nominated.

Another friend of mine was supposed to be reviewing a Tiki Taane gig at the HiFi for local radio 4ZzZ but was refused entry and inferred to be a liar by the security staff. Lucky he has a sense of humour and wrote a hilarious "review of the gig he didn't go to".

I've only been to the HiFi once, and that was for the opening night. I won free tickets to get into the venue on opening night but through a small error I missed out on receiving the tickets. However, I have to say, the girl who I dealt with in rectifying this error was extremely helpful and apologetic for the slip up. I was fairly pleased with this. Other than that, the venue was nice, though the line for the bar was enormous - but that wasn't a huge problem for me. I would go again if any band I was interested in seeing actually played there (there doesn't seem to be many that I would go see, but eh, can't please everyone all the time, right?).

What I'm asking is are these just isolated incidences? What have been peoples general impression of the HiFi since it opened and now has a few gigs under its belt. Interested to hear, so comment away.


Josh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh said...

I attended the Ghostface Killah show last sunday and it was an extremely unpleasant experience, there were no security guards at the barricade, where one would expect most of the possibly "violent" activity to be. Me and a friend were threatened to be glassed by two different people, had our hands smashed against the barricade in an attempt to get us to move and had elbows smashed into our sides. I mean, i've attended hardcore shows before and know what general moshing is, but this was something else. And if normal security levels had been maintained/glass not used it could have been more tolerable.

Memily said...

I went there once, also on the opening night. I had a free ticket via the Drones' mailing list, though when I turned up, the door staff didn't have that list. Of course, I can't necessarily fault the Hi-Fi for this oversight, but the venue staff requested that over a dozen of us wait on the other side of the road for maybe half an hour or so until, still not having the list in their possession, they ushered us in, taking our names down. Bit weird. Very awkward.
The venue still smelled strongly of paint, and for the first couple of hours while the VIPs were partying in the upstairs lounge, you'd have to swear to the girl checking VIP passes at the bottom of the stairs that you were just going up to the bathroom. Bit weird, very awkward.
Everyone else has mentioned the drinks lines already. Possibly the one good thing I can mention about the Hi-Fi is the tiered standing room, so even if you're a shorty you can manage to get an okay view. Still, I'm not too keen on the venue.

Darragh said...

Hi Josh and Memily. Thanks for your comments.

Josh interesting to note your comments. From years of going to gigs in around Brisbane I can't really recall seeing security at the front of the stage at other venues (i.e the Zoo etc) - perhaps it was at the Arena (I suspect it might, but my memory is fading me!). However, it remains that venues like the Zoo don't play metal bands or hardcore hip hop acts and the HiFi has a responsibility to provide the necessary security for such gigs. Hopefully they will improve!

Memily - I had a similar experience, I guess with the rush to get the venue finished in time for opening night there was bound to be a few oversights, including with the free tickets. The paint thing was going to be a bit unavoidable. I agree that the amount of room was great and the Air con is a definite plus!

Andrew McMillen said...

Interesting discussion guys. I'm pretty disappointed in the Hi-Fi's response to Kathleen's obvious distress. They don't seem to care much about their audience, do they?

I've been there twice - The Drones and Ratatat - and had mildly unpleasant experiences due to the general complaints of overcrowding and bar queues. That was two months ago, and it doesn't seem to have improved, based on the experiences detailed here.

Good on you for picking this story up, Darragh. It's important for Brisbane gig-goers.

Darragh said...

Andrew, thanks for your comments as always.

I agree that the HiFi don't seem to be choosing the best way to win over Brisbane by attacking the credibility of their potential customers. I know that there can often be people who act disgruntled for the sake of being bothersome. But this is clearly not the case in the two examples I've talked about above. If I treated people with such disrespect while operating my own business, I wouldn't have any business.

Also, with the nature of social networking and blogging, bad news travels fast!

Anonymous said...

I saw Ladytron at the HiFi... can't say I was overly impressed with the venue, but it was't terrible. No issues with security. Bar staff were efficient (always a plus especially when you're at the end of a long session). Most disappointing of all was the damn crowd: What is it with Brisbane concert crowds that no one seems capable of doing more with their bodies than simply standing, starring at the stage, arms crossed???

Darragh said...

Well, anon. Can't really comment on the Ladytron experience as I wasn't there. Though I think it is a bit harsh to judge all Brisbane crowds simply by this one off experience. Crowds at the Zoo, Tivoli or other music venues are often pumping.

fraz said...

I saw Drones and Ratata and quite enjoyed the gigs. Sound was good, well at least for Ratatat. But the venue just seems to be missing something, just a bit sterile. I suppose its only young.

I hope it goes on to lay down memories like other great venues and past gigs have. Maybe i'll be proud to boast of seeing its opening night back in the day. I hope so.

Darragh said...

Fraz, yeah, I agree. I just think it needs a bit more gigs under its belt to gain the cultural identity that other venues have. It also needs to review the attitude of its staff as well.