19-Sep-2007 (Wed)
Wherein Homeland Security keeps us safe from Foreign Infidels.

Hey look, Bootie was voted Best Dance Club in the Best of the Bay Readers' Poll for the second year in a row!

Best Dance Club

What do you get when you combine Run DMC, Metallica, a couple of hundred pairs of fishnet stockings, and a few heavy-handed bartenders? One hell of a morning after. Blame it on Bootie. The monthly mashup club loves to blur the lines - between Modest Mouse and Grandmaster Flash, say, or Devo and Destiny's Child - and our readers love it.

You may have noticed that the New Model Army show originally scheduled for tomorrow was cancelled, as they were denied visas by the US. Their web site doesn't give any details as to why the visas were denied this time around, but this is an increasingly common occurrence:

U.S. Repels British Invasion

Immigration restrictions are stopping some popular U.K. acts from reaching U.S. borders. At least three anticipated tours by British artists scheduled for this month alone have been called off or pushed back because of musicians' visa problems. That is on top of at least 10 scuttled tours by buzzed-about British acts in the last year.

Part of the problem, immigration specialists say: The traditional visa system isn't set up to cope with the new face of popular music. To get into the U.S., many foreign music acts need to secure a document known as the "P-1"-class visa. This visa requires acts to prove that they have been "internationally recognized" for a "sustained and substantial" amount of time.

But in the current music scene, some of the most sought-after bands are ones that didn't exist two years ago and have risen rapidly thanks to exposure on the Internet. These bands, with huge fan followings but short track records, are finding themselves trying to prove to immigration officials that they are famous.

[...]

Before 2001, for example, tour managers were allowed to bring band members' visa documents to local U.S. consulates for visa approval. Now, each applicant must appear in person at a U.S. embassy for fingerprinting, a retinal scan and an interview.

New guidelines allow acts to submit visa applications up to a year ahead of a tour, but most clubs won't schedule shows more than a few months ahead. Bands often pay an extra $1,000 fee for speedier "premium" processing.

The "prove you're famous" part of that obviously doesn't apply to NMA, who have been together for a couple decades and have toured the US three times in the last three years, so who knows what the problem was there. We also had visa trouble with the 2004 Nina Hagen show, and the only way the 2005 Stendal Blast show was allowed to happen was that the German Government rented the club and let everyone in for free.

I feel safer already, don't you?

Also: come to Hubba Hubba Review Friday and to Pop Roxx on Saturday. Gram Rabbit have played here before, and they're really, really good!

Free rabbit ears while supplies last!

11 Responses:

  1. mc_kingfish says:

    That is New Model F'd Up!!

    Thanks a lot, Osama!

  2. azul_ros says:

    How sad! I need to spread this news. I didn't even know it had become such a problem. :(

  3. dr_memory says:

    Son of a bitch. I knew without even clicking on the link that this meant that the NMA show was cancelled.

    I will sleep safe tonight, knowing that the Reichssicherheitshauptamt is keeping us safe from semi-obscure British goth-punk bands.

  4. fgmr says:

    Jesus, a retinal scan? If I were in their shoes, I'd flat-out refuse to enter the country. "I'll be playing in this free country over here; those of you who can get exit visas are welcome to come."

    • hatter says:

      It's happening, both with geeks and politically aware musicians. For all the virtues of touring, vacationing or living in the US, more and more are saying "fuck this shit" because they can no longer silently endorse the system.

      Me, I'm too selfish still to keep away entirely. But every time immigration demand to know how I can prove I'm not going to enter the US and never leave again, I have to bite my tongue and not tell them there's no damn way I'd put my whole life in the hands of the government that employs them.

      the hatter

      • rodgerd says:

        It's not just artists and geeks. I have a client in the financial services industry on one side of the planet. They have subsidiaries in the UK. Executives from the Australasian bit are now routinely flying the longer Asian route to the UK to avoid the US.

  5. baconmonkey says:

    Hubba hubba is friday, not tomorrow.

  6. whumpdotcom says:

    Think of it as protectionism for American Idol runners-up.

  7. pete23 says:

    fairly political weren't they? no doubt MI5 are code-sharing with your DHS guys to ensure that everyone vaguely controversial stays within their own national borders.

  8. remaker says:

    Thanks to immigration, UB40's MC was stuck in Canada and unable to play with the band at a recent show at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga.

    God, I feel so safe.