Rapper No-Show Angers Crowd

A full house at Crocodile Rock Cafe in Allentown, Pa., got a little rowdy late July 16th when headliner Juelz Santana left the club before performing.

Fights broke out among audience members and an opening act when Santana left the building, leading to two arrests and a few, mostly minor, injuries.

Crocodile Rock Café owner Steve Kahlon told Pollstar Santana was running late and double-booked the night – also scheduled for a 3 a.m. performance in New York City. The owner said the performer left once he was paid.

Promoter Lamont Williams, who some know as “El Dorado,” said he paid $20,000 for Santana to perform and plans to sue. Crocodile Rock Café manager Tom Taylor said Santana was ready to take the stage, but an opening act wouldn’t leave, according to the city’s The Morning Call.

“[Santana] was ready to play,” Taylor said. “El Dorado’s band just wouldn’t get off the stage.”

The show featured 12 opening acts, which performed from about 9 p.m. to almost 1 a.m., and filled the 1,300-capacity club.

Kahlon said Santana showed up 15 minutes before he was scheduled but the final opening act, GQ Joey Boca, which reportedly arranged a pay-to-play with the promoter, still had 15 minutes to perform and had just hit the stage. The rapper was also supposed to partake in a meet-and-greet.

When Santana’s management tried to get GQ Joey Boca off the stage, the act proceeded to smash wireless microphones and turn over a new monitor board, Kahlon said. Then a group of the act’s supporters rushed the stage from the back of the club, inciting the crowd and damaging equipment. One of the group’s members was arrested for criminal mischief, simple assault and harassment.

Williams told the paper he chased down Santana, but he would not go back to the club because he was afraid the crowd would turn on him.

Possibly enraging an already-irritated crowd, Williams also reportedly raised the door price from the originally advertised $23.

Williams said he understands why the crowd was so upset and he intends to put on a free show to make up for it.

Kahlon said he intends to promote in-house from now on, and to work exclusively with Stan Levinstone of House of Blues, who has consistently booked the venue for seven years.

“It’s a hard lesson learned,” he said. “I’m just going to stick with Stan and deal with the agencies myself.”

Kahlon said everything looked legit with Williams, and that he won’t even get started with a show if he doesn’t see a contract from the agency. He said the situation is especially unfortunate because the club is known as a rock venue and wanted to branch out and hire outside promoters for rap shows.

“It’s such a bad thing because the urban crowd and the urban artists have this bad reputation that they never show up for events, so people never buy tickets in advance,” he said. “And this just proves that theory all over again.”

– Ryan Borba