Dense Crowd Photo at Cover Band Gig Ignites Online Furor

Restaurant GM: “We’re adhering to the Governor’s executive orders”

Bound to happen: The image of a dense concert crowd causing outcry from those carefully quarantining. That occurred last weekend – five days before Austin bars are allowed to open at 25% capacity this Friday.

LC Rocks facebook post that ignited controversy over a perceived lack of social distancing.

On Sunday, LC Rocks, a local cover band that favors Sunset Strip-style hard rock, posted a photo on Facebook of the crowd from their previous night’s show at Emerald Point Bar & Grill in northwest Austin.

“What a GREAT night! Y’all ROCK!” read the post, accompanying an image showing roughly 50 people, two dozen of whom are standing in close proximity. No one in the picture appears to be wearing a mask.

The image shows roughly 50 people, two dozen of whom are standing in close proximity. No one in the picture appears to be wearing a mask.

While well-received by the band’s followers, the image quickly became a lightning rod on its social media host and Reddit, the latter amassing 200 comments roasting attendees for flouting social distancing guidelines to see a cover band. LC Rocks, who did not reply to an interview request with the Chronicle, later deleted the image from their page and addressed it in the comments:

“We deleted it because of your hateful thoughts. We’re very proud of that picture. It was an incredible night. People were so happy to be out living. Not everyone is scared like you.

“Some of us can see through all the bs.”

Emerald Point Bar & Grill General Manager Matt Norcia says the photo doesn’t represent how the audience looked during the band’s performance.

“That was an end-of-the-night thing where everybody ran up and they took that picture,” he insists. “The people in the picture are three groups of families that came together on boats and they all came up to the front to take that picture. It looks like it was packed in here, which wasn’t the case. Stuff gets blown out of proportion on social media, so we’re just going to eat that one.”

Norcia points out that video from Friday night’s performance by franchised cover band Spazmatics shows how he says the dance floor normally looks, with guests observing social distancing. A video still up on LC Rocks’ Facebook page, featuring them covering Journey’s “Faithfully,” shows a tightly amassed audience. Norcia says, “When crowds do come out [on the dance floor], we send security out to tell them to keep it chill.”

The situation underlines what will certainly be an ongoing challenge for bars beginning this coming weekend: Security staff will be tasked with enforcing social distancing.

The situation underlines what will certainly be an ongoing challenge for bars beginning this coming weekend: Security staff will be tasked with enforcing social distancing.

The Emerald Point GM says that the three-story, 4,000-capacity business reopened May 1 because its food-to-alcohol ratio designates it as a restaurant. Norcia says the business mounted hand sanitizer stations, displayed COVID-19-related signage, removed half its tables to provide eight-foot spacing, moved subwoofers to the floor in order distance the crowd from the bands, brings in a cleaning crew twice daily, and tasks security with keeping a head count. He says that they’ve passed multiple checks from the Fire Marshall as well as the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re adhering to the Governor’s executive orders,” he says. “We’re doing everything the way it’s supposed to be done. So when people say, ‘This doesn’t look like social distancing,’ well, we are regularly getting checked.”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More COVID-19
COVID-19 Sends Council Meeting Into Virtual Reality
COVID-19 Sends Council Meeting Into Virtual Reality
City Hall to perform open government while maintaining distance

Austin Sanders, March 20, 2020

Austin Closes Bars, Dining Rooms in Latest COVID-19 Measures
Austin Closes Bars, Dining Rooms in Latest COVID-19 Measures
Gatherings of 10 or more prohibited; orders in effect through May 1

Mike Clark-Madison, March 17, 2020

More by Kevin Curtin
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re playing

June 5, 2020

I Found Clint Black’s Demo Tape in the Goodwill Bins
I Found Clint Black’s Demo Tape in the Goodwill Bins
On unheard cassette, C&W star covers Jim Croce, Neil Young, Bob Seger

May 29, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

COVID-19, LC Rocks, Emerald Point Bar & Grill, Matt Norcia, The Spazmatics, Journey

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle