Waka Flocka Flame’s performance at Infest tonight hangs in the balance after operators of the DIY venue found themselves locked out of the building on Fifth Street and Lavaca this afternoon.
A representative for Sharp’s Locksmith confirmed that a request for a change of the locks was carried out this morning at 8am. That same representative said that the request came from Ironwood Realty, who, both by phone and in person, declined to comment on the lockout.
Ironwood Realty is a commercial real estate investment firm, which also doubles as property management in this case. One of Ironwood’s two founders, Matthew Hooks, partners with Chuy’s co-founder and Shady Grove principal Michael Young, and Lucky Lounge’s William Muntz in Homy Gp, LLC. A music industry source with intimate knowledge of the property and its proprietors confirmed that Homy owns the building at 213 W. Fifth and had in fact been privy to communications stating that January’s rent on the space had not been paid.
Two individuals who wouldn’t identify themselves but looked like Infest heads Ben and Chelsea Riseman paced nervously outside the building Thursday afternoon and toyed repeatedly with their phones as onlookers – myself included – tried to figure out the fate of the venue. Upon arrival, I asked the two, flanked by a third, unidentified individual, if they knew anything about the shutdown.
“Dude, we don’t have anything to say right now.”
By then, the lockout sign that flew around the Internet earlier Thursday had already been removed. Fifteen minutes later, the third individual reappeared from inside the venue and opened the door. The two who looked like the Risemans got out of the woman’s Chevy Equinox and walked inside.
Nearby, the secretary at Ironwood said, “Sorry, no comment” before I could even finish the word “Chronicle.” Back at the venue, the three people who had been inside the club were packed in the Equinox tapping on their phones. They stayed there for 30 minutes while the foremost activity on the block was Faces keyboardist and lovable local Ian McLagan arriving for his weekly happy hour at Lucky Lounge and offering a hearty “How the fuck are ya?” to a friend.
Today adds to the Risemans’ issues at the venue since taking over the space once occupied by Antone’s last April. The club came under ire in July for hosting a truly disorganized Z-Ro concert, and a number of Austin’s punk and hardcore community have complained of the venue stiffing them on payments. A recently added second Z-Ro show at the club became central to a Pay-to-Play scandal that’s shaken the city’s hip-hop community.
Tickets for tonight’s Waka Flacka Flame show, which range in price from $25 to $1,000 – with bottle service offered to those who drop the stack – are still available. At 6:12pm, Ben Riseman responded to a text message inquiring about the status of tonight’s show:
“I will let you know when I know,” he wrote. “It isn’t confirmed either way 100%.”
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