Back to Archives

Club Impact battles

Two fights rage on the corner of Ninth and Pacific Avenue

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Battle one

During round one, “the metal round” of Club Impact’s Battle of the Bands on Sept. 22, a band from Tacoma/Seattle called Embalmed arose victorious. During round two, “the punk-rawk round” on Oct. 6, Lakewood’s own Sane Through Disorder was the clear winner. Oct. 13, after the pop/rock/alternative round, Puyallup’s Return of the Bison took home the blue ribbon.

This weekend, these three bands will go head-to-head against each other in the finals for $1,000 cash and prizes such as drumsticks, guitar strings and gift certificates. Second prize is $600 plus prizes, and third place is $300 plus prizes. Because the difference in genre makes comparing them to each other like comparing asparagus to lollipops, the only criterion for winning this round is which band brings the most people.

Will these bands call on the power of hometown pride to win? Will Puyallupians invade downtown Tacoma in herds to support Return of the Bison? Will Lakewooders turn Pierce Transit’s bus #48 into one big party van as they head down to cheer for Sane through Disorder? Will Embalmed have the hometown advantage, or will their split-city status cause their fans to miss half the show due to I-5 traffic? Saturday, Oct. 27, these and other questions (like, “Hey baby what’s your sign?” and “Do you come here often?”) will be answered.

What won’t be answered is who are the mysterious judges? Apparently their identities will not be divulged — like — ever. They will blend with the crowd. What we do know is that they are musicians and/or are in the music business/industry/scene. Club Impact says the judges are not directly affiliated with them as staff or as volunteers.

Battle two

As you may have heard by now, Club Impact has been battling for its very existence. It was reported in The News Tribune that neighboring businesses accuse Club Impact patrons of loitering, vandalizing, urinating on buildings and using up too many parking spaces. KING 5 news also did a segment on it. Public comments numbering upwards of 200 on both these Web sites clearly showed that people feel strongly about the issue. Many of these comments were in defense of Club Impact and its patrons.

In response to the online debate, on Wednesday, Oct. 17, the neighborhood — including business leaders and representatives from the Downtown Merchants Group, Tacoma’s Business Improvement Area group, Tacoma Police, Pierce County Council, Tacoma City Council and more than 60 neighbors, customers, business owners and people from Brick City (Club Friday and Club Impact) — met at Sanford & Son Antiques to start a dialog on the problem and work together toward a solution.

Most people approve of Club Impact and its mission, but criminal behavior (by anyone — not necessarily Club Impact customers who have had only a few incidences) in the neighborhood and near Commerce Street and Larry Frost Park isn’t good for the businesses, residents or the teenagers who go to Club Impact. In other words, crime is the real issue, not Club Impact.

I also want to say that most of the patrons of Club Impact are good kids. I’ve been down there a number of times and I’ve never had the slightest feeling of uneasiness. Though some describe them as “at risk youth,” a more accurate description might be “youth who choose an alcohol- and drug-free social life and happen to enjoy live music.” These kids are commendable individuals; many of them are students of Tacoma School of the Arts and Stadium High School. The kids who are into drinking and drugs don’t want to hang out at Club Impact (or outside it) because it’s not their scene at all. It’s funny to me how fashion choices of kids that are completely in line with the times can cause older people to worry about their own safety. Have we learned nothing from our own youth?

Ultimately, it’s the individuals who behave badly and break laws who are to blame for the problems cited by neighbors. Crime downtown has been an issue since long before Club Impact moved in. If anything, I feel safer with those kids standing out there on the curb. They have taken back that street from the prostitutes and the drug dealers. On the positive side, this situation has become an opportunity for that section of downtown to find unity and discuss how to better work together as neighbors. While no permanent solutions have been found yet, there is talk of a neighborhood watch program.

In the meantime, Club Impact actually received praise last weekend from one of its more vocal critics. Laura Hanan, owner of Brick & Mortar Gallery, whom The News Tribune referred to as “a noisy urban pioneer” says, “Brick City’s Saturday night group — Club Impact — was 100 percent better tonight. It was greatly appreciated by the neighborhood. Club Friday operated very professionally as well on Friday night. Thanks to everyone, especially the BIA for hanging tough on graveyard in the miserable wind and rain.”

[Club Impact, Saturday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m., all ages, 754 Pacific Ave., Tacoma  253.274.1583]

My name is Angie and I’m just a shot away — If you can’t rock me, somebody will.

comments powered by Disqus