The heavy metal show Vengeance Fest III took placed as planned at Dingbatz in Clifton, Oct. 20 — with several bands that are known for their racist lyrics performing, even though the club had promised that they wouldn’t.
A NorthJersey.com article on Oct. 18 by Joshua Jongsma pointed out that several bands on the bill have lyrics that seem to be promoting the idea of white supremacy, or that are anti-Semitic. Representatives from the club and from the show’s outside promoter, KEP Productions, initially defended the bands, but subsequently changed position and took three of the group — Nyogthaeblisz, Intolitarian and Northern — were taken off the bill.
“We do not support anything that involves any sort of racism, in any form, and will not tolerate it at our establishment,” the club posted on its Facebook page.
However, according to numerous reports, the three controversial bands were indeed allowed to perform at Vengeance Fest III. And musicians and music fans took to Facebook in droves today, calling for the club to be boycotted.
The indie label Mint 400 Records, for instance, posted on its Facebook page: “This is a problem. Please all bands on the label do not take or support shows at Dingbatz. Nazi’s in NJ should be afraid to leave their houses and should certainly not be on shows promoting their bullshit.”
In another NorthJersey.com article by Jongsma, Dingbatz owner Fred Barnes and KEP Productions’ Kyle Powell defended the decision to let the bands play.
“You get put in a no-win situation in whatever you do here,” said Barnes. “Being an owner of the club you look at it as freedom of speech. When does the censorship issue come in and where does it escalate from here?”
“It was a decision I made because the guys had flown in to play and there were many people here to see them,” said Powell. “I made that decision. It should not fall on the club.”
NJArts.net considers the club’s handling of this incident, and its response, to be reprehensible, and will no longer include Dingbatz shows in its listings or write about the club in any way except, perhaps, in regard to this issue.