So there I was in the parking lot behind 13th Street Pub & Grill last Saturday, grooving giddily with a few hundred new friends to the funky-fun raps of Gift of Gab. Riding my shoulders, my 3-year-old was grinning and waving his hair like he’d been raised by wolves or something.
The summer atmosphere was quintessential North End nirvana — old hippies, young moms, happy kids, all scarfing down barbecue, dancing to a great live performer and having a blast at a fresh concert series called Hyde Park ’Til Dark.
Then an angry neighbor crashed the party. He complained about the noise. He called Boise Police.
You can guess how things went down after that, right?
Police confronted 13th Street Pub co-owner Mike Morrison, who says an officer read him a “laundry list” of people who would be ticketed because of the city’s noise ordinance: Gift of Gab, any member of the band, the business owner, etc.: “He was threatening that’s what he was going to do,” Morrison says.
So Gift of Gab’s set was interrupted. The volume was pushed down at about 8:30 p.m. — waaaay down. It was silly-low. Instantly, the vibe morphed from "Wow, Boise can be amazing sometimes during summer" to ... bleh. Even my toddler decided it was time to go home.
“It sucked,” Morrison agrees. “It was very disappointing. I was pretty distraught over it.”
As a result, Morrison has canceled next month’s summer-ending Hyde Park ’Til Dark concert. The future of the new series, which was created to generate interest in Hyde Park and surrounding businesses such as Parilla Grill, is up in the air for next year.
“We’ll see,” Morrison says. “Maybe we’ll do something more in the neighborhood of a Dave Matthews kind of thing. Kind of softer.”
It’s hard to be optimistic. Boise’s flawed noise ordinance — which needs to be revamped in a big way — allows the intolerance of one person to ruin a night of fun for hundreds or thousands, even in a business district. (In this case, Morrison says, the police-calling North Ender claimed he lived a half mile away.)
An obvious question: Will police handle complaints about next month’s Hyde Park Street Fair the same way? Or will that event be given a temporary hall pass because it’s a long-standing tradition? Surely, the music will be “plainly audible” from 100 feet away, as current city code reads.
Morrison says he canvased nearby homes in advance of the three Hyde Park ‘Til Dark shows this summer, educating neighbors and handing out gift cards. Another neighbor complained during the July show, he says, but things apparently got worked out. He even offered to put her up in the Grove Hotel last weekend and pay for a night out on the town, he says, but didn't hear back.
“We’re trying to be as accommodating as we can with everybody,” Morrison says. “But, also, it’s Hyde Park. It’s the area you live in.”
Yep. It reminds me of the people who move to Downtown Boise then act shocked when there’s bar noise next door. Not to mention the fact that the music at Hyde Park ’Til Dark concerts ended — you guessed it — at dark. Usually, around 9:30 p.m. or so.
Seriously, a band can’t crank it up a little until dusk in Hyde Park? On just one Saturday a month during summer?
The demise of Hyde Park ’Til Dark is a shame. I was shocked by how much fun my family was having until the sound got stomped on. 13th Street Pub’s liquor license encompasses the entire parking lot behind it and Parilla Grill. It’s definitely a cool spot for a summer shindig.
Morrison says he might organize a make-up Gift of Gab concert at an indoor venue such as the Linen Building or Powerhouse Event Center.
But not in Hyde Park. That series, at least for now, is history.
“I don’t want to push the envelope and alienate ourselves,” Morrison says, “and have people get upset with us. Next thing you know, we’re ‘those guys’.”