“There were so many people at that last show. It was, like, Where the hell were these people for all the other shows?” Jake Shelton plays guitar and sings in Lathyus, the three-man metal band that played the final show at the Metaphor in Escondido on August 26.
“Two chicks got in a fight and the cops showed up and that ended it,” says bassist Dylan Zapeda.
“The police were assholes,” says Shelton. “They cut the show short.”
“It was like they were staking the place out, waiting for something to happen,” says guitarist Ian Mann. “It was like they were looking for trouble. It’s too bad, because the Metaphor was one of the few cool, all-ages places left to play in Southern California.”
The Metaphor Cafe upped its commitment to live music shortly after Gloria Valdez took over the downtown Escondido restaurant and music venue in 2005. Its unique business model (all-ages, live bands, and alcohol) gave it an edge over other venues.
That model also made it more difficult to stay open. Between 2005 and 2008, California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control fined the Metaphor and/or suspended its license to serve alcohol three times: twice for serving to a minor and once for serving alcohol without a current license.
Metaphor owner Valdez could not be reached for comment. But one person who has done business with Metaphor said he was not surprised at the closure. “I think what did them in was that they catered too much to the local crust punks. These are kids with no jobs and no money who always expected to get in for free. And then when you bring in a big act where you have to charge, like, $12 to get in, they would tell people to boycott the place, saying we we were ripping off the scene.”
Escondido police Lt. Chris Wynn denied that the EPD was staking out the Metaphor on its last night. He said his department responded to a call that minors were drinking outside and because a line to get in was swelling into the street and impeding traffic.
“Anytime you mix drinking and juveniles, all kinds of problems can arise. Kids’ bodies just don’t have the experience that adults have.... We dealt with [Metaphor] problems as they came up, but I am not aware of any [police] operations specifically targeted at the Metaphor.”