Apparently there's a reason I couldn't sleep tonight. Getting up and turning on Northwest Cable News brought me the sad news that "Seattle Police are investigating the first homicide of 2009": a fatal shooting inside Chop Suey. Apparently, at least one of the victims was a performer(by early accounts, an individual who goes by "Black Prez"). According to CS's website, the show was presented by what appears to be an outside promoter, "Big Kountry Entertainment," with a line-up that included headliners Young Soprano, Fatal Lucciauno, No Clue, Dividenz, and Anoniumous.
The Seattle Police Department has just released this statement with more details, and I'll have more as the story develops. I would expect the age-old argument about whether the music is to blame will erupt shortly (those more directly involved with that scene are debating the merits of the promoters involved over on the 206 Proof forums). Personally, I'm not interested in blaming a genre: I've been to plenty of warm-and-fuzzy hip hop shows, and I've been to ones where I felt unsafe. The same can be said of punk rock house shows I've been at, and even big, dumb arena rock shows. What I'm ultimately concerned about what clubs are going to start to do to protect their patrons (and performers) more consistently, regardless of what's being played on stage.
text-autospace:none">UPDATE: I spoke very briefly earlier today with Pete Greenberg, Chop Suey's obviously stunned and heartbroken booking agent. Greenberg was not present at the time of the shooting, but said he arrived shortly thereafter. This is what he has to say on the matter currently:
text-autospace:none">"Honestly, we're still trying to figure it all out ourselves...what the best way to proceed is. I'm still getting information on everything...there was speculation that it was Black Prez and the host of the night [who were injured]...right now we're working with the police trying to deal with this as best as possible. It's a really unfortunate tragedy that affects a lot of people."