I found the following link via Idolator, and I think it's important to post while it's still available.
Go here to this post and view video footage of the 2003 fire at a Great White show in Rhode Island. 100 people died in the blaze, which happened when indoor pyrotechnics ignited flammable material on stage. (Comprehensive info here.) The video starts inside the club during the show and captures the entire thing on tape: the pyrotechnics going off, the stage igniting, the mad dash outside -- and the quickness with which the club burned.
I'm not embedding the video here because frankly, it's absolutely harrowing. (It's after 1 a.m., and I've freaked myself out too much to sleep.) If you can't stomach watching it, this link summarizes the video's contents. (There also appears to be footage of the huge crush of people near the front door, which is where most perished.)
While watching it, I couldn't help but flashing back to all of the shows I've been to in the past and present, here in St. Louis and elsewhere. Basement venues, overcrowded venues, venues with dubious exits, second-floor venues, etc. I think about recent instances where had anything gone wrong, it would have been devastating -- and wonder if the clubs here think about that too.
I know a lot of people in the club scene read this, and I'm curious what precautions are being taken to prevent something like the Great White fire. (If they're not, I get the feeling it won't be publically acknowledged, yeah yeah.) And if they're not being taken, I challenge people to prepare for the worst -- because this video could be a night out for you, me and anybody in your life you care about.
-- Annie Zaleski