Music

Skate and destroy … and rock: Legal issues behind it, Area 702 reopens for all-ages shows

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For the ages: A shot from above during Dance Gavin Dance’s set at Area 702 Skate Park.
Photo: Corlene Byrd

The view from the center of the audience at Area 702 Skatepark is chaotic tonight. The Friday-night crowd — mostly hormonal teenagers — has started a veritable pit of skanking and adrenaline-filled moshing. The exposed ceiling of the venue, essentially nothing more than a pimped-out warehouse, seems miles away. The sound's carrying well throughout, though it's difficult to hear sometimes over the excited shrieks and screams of the raging crowd.

The energy of the all-ages scene is almost palpable. This would have been a shitty show to cancel, worse than the In This Moment, Winds of Plague and Play for Keeps shows canceled (or relocated, then canceled again) the weekend of December 22 by fire marshals over safety concerns. This is the Vegas stop on Scary Kids Scaring Kids' farewell tour, and they're holding little back onstage. It's goodbye for the hardcore band from Gilbert, Arizona, but for many in this crowd of 300, it's hello to the new North Las Vegas music venue, located on Simmons Road near Cheyenne Avenue.

As for the chaos, it's controlled. Eight men, two from the fire marshals, are working the venue. The burly men pull down crowd surfers, stop one overly energetic fan from climbing onstage and help carry out a few of the inevitable crowd casualities that faint or bust open a lip. "City Hall's worse than this," one of the fire marshals jokes from the entrance. "The crowd's fine."

Area 702 owner Tim Thurtle is better than fine. He's grinning from ear to ear as he looks over the crowd from his spot on a staircase leading to a half-pipe. "Everything's going so smoothly," he says, happy to have worked out the paperwork and licensing issues raised by the city. Thurtle says it should be smooth sailing from here. The venue has a month of shows ahead of it, and from the looks of the concertgoers, sweating and tired but grinning as they file out after Scary Kids Scaring Kids' encore, they'll be back.

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