I was so excited to have an actual venue in hometown Long Beach, and that they scored Paul Oakenfold was amazing. First impression: WTF? My friends and I - huge Oakenfold fans - bought our tickets online weeks in advance. When we arrived, instead of handling the crowd like a normal concert venue where you check in with will-call, get carded, searched, stamped or braceleted, then go in, we got corralled into a second line after will call while people on the ""guest list"" (which meant you sent an email a few hours ago) who paid a higher door price walked in ahead of us. Then we had to show ID a second time to get a stamp, then show the stamp to someone else to walk in - a lot of extra ""security"" with a lot of thug attitude but no pat down. About 15 minutes later, I wanted to go out to meet my friend (I'd already picked up his will call), but guess what - you weren't ""allowed"" to go outside and come back in. Really? The only people there were ticketed patrons - this isn't Hollywood forchrissakes! Finally, one cool guy at the door walked me out to pluck my boyfriend out of the line up - wish I'd gotten his name to give him kudos...
When we finally walked in there was a really cool DJ spinning great dance tunes and he seemed to actually enjoy his own music and engage the crowd. Nice! Then the second let-down. Did any of these people even know Oakenfold was performing later? It seemed like a crowd of Orange County bar hoppers who tossed a coin... drink in the car and have a bonfire on the beach or go to the nearest club to get wasted. Paul who? Who cares - vodka shots - woohooo!!
After listening to a great DJ set, this freakish random band of masked Queen/Guns-n-Roses wannabes from your neighbor's kids garage band played a horrible but thankfully short set, followed by a super boring DJ spinning emo put-me-to-sleep tunes. I began to feel embarrassed that this was the impression of Long Beach that Paul Oakenfold would take away. Not to mention that by the time he took the stage, no less than 50% of the crowd was literally falling down drunk. Apparently Shore Ultra Lounge isn't concerned with what happens to the mass of intoxicated patrons they turn out to their parking lot full of cars (and neither is the Long Beach Police who are lined up along Broadway and Pine to monitor a more ""diverse"" crowd of partiers), as people who could barely put a sentence together or get to the bar without assistance continued to get served all night...
But I'm not a complete hater - I really had fun last night! This place has huge potential to be a major venue if they get their priorities straight. If they want to be known as a place to get wasted with a 50-80% chance of hearing good dance music, and cultivate a little insider crowd, good job. But if they want to become a greater Los Angeles destination venue for kick-ass music that keeps dance and music fans coming back, they have some work ahead - and I hope they do!
Cons: getting in the door