Screenshot from Santos Party House promotional video
Downtown Manhattan nightclub and independent music bastion Santos Party House has closed its doors and hosted its final show. The venue claims that their ten-year lease has expired and that a decision was made to not renew, but it seems to be less clear-cut than that, according to DNA Info.
The last show to be held at the club was the conclusion of “Oi Fest” on Sunday evening, the second night of a festival that had been moved from Williamsburg’s Black Bear Bar after its first night due to allegations of far-right extremism both on- and off-stage.
The Black Bear Bar originally defended the event even after the Southern Poverty Law Center posted a warning about the event last week. The SLPC had written that Oi was part of “a scene long associated almost solely with neo-nazis,” and declared that “The skinheads are coming to New York City” with the festival.
In spite of this, Black Bear Bar posted images to their social media page showing people of color in the crowd. They then made a point of saying that not every band on-stage was all-white. But the venue drew criticism on Twitter and Instagram almost immediately. Black Bear Bar's original posts have been removed and replaced on Instagram with a post saying that the venue "does not endorse" Nazism or racism.
First off, loud and clear: Black Bear Bar, New Island Music Group, its associates and affiliates neither endorse nor condone any form of fascism, nazism, racism, hate or intolerance. We do not make representations in regards to the personal, political, or religious beliefs of our patrons, staff or performers. Our space is one for community, mutual respect, kindness and compassion for all. Sources online have claimed otherwise. They are wrong. Last night was the first of what was intended to be a two night punk show. The show was presented to us by the organizers as having a headlining act (Oxblood) with two African American members largely against racism. A blog proceeded to write that we condoned and promoted racism due to the booking of this show. This is untrue. In reality we saw last night that the crowd and performers consisted of many people of various ethnicities and backgrounds. Once more: We will not tolerate any form of fascism, nazism, racism, hate or intolerance from anyone in our establishment. Full stop. To avoid any further confusion as to Black Bear Bar's stance in this regard, tonight's show is cancelled.
A photo posted by Black Bear Brooklyn (@blackbearbar) on May 29, 2016 at 10:29am PDT
Videos from the event seem to confirm the far-right tendencies of many attendees. The Brooklyn Paper report that the band Offensive Weapon were “covering a song by British white power group Brutal Attack” and that a number of clips show those in the crowd throwing what appear to be white power salutes.
Few reports have mentioned last night’s show at Santos Party House, but the venue’s closure a matter of hours after the event appears to suggest that “Oi Fest” was the cause. The venue, part-owned by Andrew WK, didn’t mention the event in their cancellation email to organisers of future events.
The video below, captured at last night’s event, shows Oi band The Wolverines playing “This Is America.” The lyrics to the first verse of the song are as follows:
“You say you hate the USA, you've crossed the line
This country that you hate gives you the right to speak your mind
If you don't like it here, get the fuck out anytime,
Cause your a left wing flag burning piece of shit,
And you ain't no friend of mine
Lady Liberty stands tall you can't disgrace her name
You must accept responsibility and take the blame
This country that I love lets bums like you walk free,
But I will stand up for this land so don't you tread on me.”