Does Club 347 Even Have A $10 Spending Minimum? (Venue Review)

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Last night, I attended the 2nd Recrd Breakrs event hosted at jazz club, restaurant and bar Club 347 for a networking event created specifically for local artists to meet with Baltimore bloggers and other media. I attended with my artist and we mingled with people at this event for a total of 25 minutes.

The night started off smooth with nice soothing jazz music. I jammed to lovely rhythms and live music from Lia Songbird & Fmajor and DJ Trelly Trell. The networking event was beautiful itself. But I wasn’t too pleased with the service from the waitresses or owner of the venue, that’s if he can be labeled as the owner because I’m not sure.

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I sat down and started speaking with my artist about a possibility of using Club 347 as a spot for future performances, when it wasn’t even 2 minutes later that one of the waitresses walks up to our table and asks us, “Could she get us something?” We told her “no, thank you,” and that’s when the commotion began.

“There’s a $10 minimum because tonight the club is open for free,” said the waitress who looked to be only 5 feet tall, a little on the thick side, and had long blonde tracks of weave.

We replied saying that we weren’t told about the minimum and the flyer didn’t specify it. We knew that the event was meant for networking, and that’s what we were there for. We were there to participate in the cause of supporting local talent.

The waitress walked away from our table on a mission. A mission that would start a chain of events that was completely unnecessary and could have been avoided if things were communicated slightly different. Little did we know the waitress after leaving our table went to her supervisor on a snitching spree.

Five minutes later, a guy who looked as if he’s of another nationality,  probably of somewhere of Eastern culture, like Middle East or Asia, walks up to my artist and signals with his fingers to follow him out the door. My artist follows him out of the club, where he is told there is $10 minimum and if he doesn’t have it, he’ll have to leave. Now heated, my artist walks back into the club to tell me we have to leave. I refused to budge because that night was not about the negativity. There was something positive happening around me, and I wasn’t for letting that guy ruining my night if the event was advertised as free. I wanted to be apart of the positive things happening. So we stayed inside.

We continued to mingle with a few folks. I met other artists who shared flyers for their event, which is below…

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…and the same waitress approaches us, a second time, reminding us of the club’s $10 minimum charge. My artists look to me with an expression on his face that told it all. He was too through, ready to turn on his “niggerdom” trait, a characteristic I refer to as pure ignorance and disregard when someone feels they’ve been disrespected. So I told him we weren’t staying there long. Then I proceeded to continue enjoying the music of the band.

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I moved around the club and started talking to some people, who I’ve spent time speaking to online but never officially met in person, as my artist mingled with the group of artists who were sharing their flyers with others. While I’m on the opposite side of the club, my artist witnesses those who were passing out flyers be told they couldn’t give them out at the event by the same Asian looking guy.

What?! This is a networking event, sir! This is how these artist are choosing to share what they do. How could they be forbidden of this right if the event was specifically for that?! Did this guy not know what was going on? Did he not get the memo that there was a live meet and greet event happening in front of him?

As the night continues, I sit back down at my original table. The waitress comes to me again to tell me, “My boss wants me to remind you of the $10 spending minimum.”

WTH! Am I the only one not buying anything?! This minimum wasn’t specified. How many times is this going to happen? To my surprise, this happened 4 times throughout the night. Look, I may be free loading from the experience happening in your club, sir and ma’am. But isn’t that what I’m there for, to experience a night of great music and meet some awesome people within the Baltimore hip-hop scene,  (cough, cough) and for no charge?

The fourth time was our last time. My artist stormed out and went to the car before I caught on to his whereabouts. I had to call his cell to get the idea that we just weren’t welcomed by the owner. We had no money. We couldn’t be there. So I met up with him at the car 3 minutes behind him.

Even as I get home to share my experience on Facebook with my friends because some of them were still enjoying the atmosphere, they tell me that the event was absolutely free. They were lost, also, at the reason for why I was treated like that. It was twenty-five minutes; 25 minutes of a man showing me his pure greed.

Why were we singled out? Why were we followed around the bar continuously reminded about a nonexistent mandatory fee? Were we truly the only two who didn’t buy a drink? If so, well damn!

I’m upset because I felt like I was singled out for not having money. It was embarrassing. It made me more mad as I thought about why I couldn’t pay $10, even coming to the event straight from work. I guess, that damn 9-5 of mine can’t support me attending even the FREE events and that’s truly some genuine bs!

I’m on a come up, seriously. I budget the events I attend under Doc’s Castle Media often. The ten dollars in my pocket that night was actually to go towards my attendance to Baltimore Crown Awards this Saturday. I’ll still be in attendance since I didn’t break down to give into a greedy old man.

Instead of creating a scene, which I absolutely felt like doing after being treated that way, I chose to avoid any further embarrassment to myself and my artist by writing why I’m not going there again. I don’t want to be that one customer who the owner feels is okay to single out. I don’t want to feel ostracized. I damn sure don’t want to spend the same amount of time spent driving there inside of the club, again. So there you have it. My artist won’t have the venue for future shows, and I won’t be writing about this club in future post for other artists, either. So greedy guy, thanks for my first experience in Club 347 and bringing me out of my writer’s block.

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Baltimore Is Too “Cliqued” Up To Have Supporters

“If we create a group of strong individuals who’ll support each other, then we’ll create a power house of people that will exceed all expectations. We’ll change this city for the better,” says every person who forms a group full of talented people, expecting it’ll change the turn out of their shows. Womp Womp!

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Too many people have this philosophy but in Baltimore it does not work. Content is key. Content is what brings people to an artist’s show! When was the last time you’ve decided to go to Kanye show because he had a power group with him there? The Jay-Z and Kanye power house was damn near three years ago. He’s currently standing alone. People go because of the content of his show.

I recently read an article from Baltimore Blogger Malika Muhummad titled “Why Baltimore Artist Can’t Make A Deal.” Malika talks of how many Baltimore artist lack originality. Why strive to be the next Lil Wayne when artists should be working to make a name for themselves? They should be striving to be unique. She also talks of how people should seek opportunities in the city that allows them to give support. There are multiple open mic events that happen throughout the city all days of the week. There are very few supporters of these events. She goes on to name a few examples. I’ve actually been to a number of 5 Seasons open mic nights, which is one of the example that she gives, and the crowd was dry each time I went, meaning there could have been more people there but it wasn’t. Majority of the crowd were artists waiting for their opportunity to have their shine on the stage.

What I see in Baltimore is a sign of doubt from the people artists hope would support them. Listeners in Baltimore doubt if an artist will bring what they enjoy so they stick to what they know. What they know is what they hear everyday, 24/7, on mainstream media. If a person was to listen to 92Q for the entire day, they’d hear the same 10-15 songs, minus the 12 O’Clock Rewind and the occasional rap songs they play on Rap Attack. Do people ever get tired of that?

When it comes to the individuals who claim they don’t listen to the radio or mainstream music, they continue to support people who have a larger followership than the artists from their hometown. Those artists are clearly closer to mainstream radio than ever. Take the Weeknd, four years ago we would have never heard him being played on the radio. Since Drake featured him on “The Crew,” the Weeknd’s spotlight has been heightened. We hear of him more because of the major support people had for him after that song, seeking his music wherever they could find it and going to his shows. Baltimore artists could have the same happen for them if their supporters became educated listeners. If they’d realized how supporting good content produced here can make talented people from Baltimore be heard on the radio, it’d be a greater selection of music to listen to.

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But how I see it is it all begins with the content creators and their attitudes towards this city. Baltimore artists need an opportunity to come together in support of each other first. They need to realize they’re all thinking the same. They must show each other that the outcome doesn’t always have to be the same way. If your purpose is to create a city who supports each other, live by it. Building a crew that supports only the people in that crew, shows selective treatment for that group, not for the city. That clique way of thinking will not work for Baltimore. It may work for other places but not with the unique listeners of this city. It’s better if we seek opportunities to help one another because on-lookers will see what we’re doing and want to be apart of it.

This is a message for every artist for all genres to hear. We must seek out those who deserve support and help them because it’s the only way to gain what this city needs; Artist for artist, blogger for blogger, or poet for poet. Then it should turn into blogger for artist, artist for poet, and poet for blogger. Etc., Etc.. Each time a creator finds someone making a difference in this city, they’ll feel enlightened to be apart of it and that exact feeling will bring in more supporters and a bigger audience for everyone. It won’t be easy, but nothing is that’s worth trying.

With everything being said, let’s stop this clique mess and build upon a new Baltimore city.

To read Malika’s “Why Baltimore Artist Can’t Make A Deal,” click here. To hear great music from Baltimore artist, check out Vivid Visions or AmirahRashidah. Both blog sites take submissions.

If you’re looking to be a music highlight on Doc’s Castle Media, send me stuff. Let’s change the city for the better.