Liquids Nightclub has been gaining quite a reputation since its May debut on the Maui scene. From its refusal to provide patrons with free water to the recent Mos Def debacle, many are wondering how long the doors will stay open at the club that took over Hapa’s but can’t seem to fill its shoes.
The night of Nov. 10, Mos Def fans lined up to pay $70 to see the performer at Liquids. Once inside, concertgoers had a choice of paying $5.25 for water, $7.25 for Bud or Bud light or $9 for cocktails. After buying drinks, many patrons reclined on plastic lawn chairs and huddled around Formica tables. Nothing more than gray walls stared back at them.
“The opening DJ was playing Top 40 from about seven years ago,” Melissa Chamberlain of Haiku said. “I was asking him to play some newer stuff and he didn’t know what I was talking about. The music was really loud and the sound system was terrible.”
Hours went by. Customers grumbled about the lack of ambience and high drink prices. But they stuck around in anticipation of the Mos Def performance.
Brooklyn-based rapper and actor Mos Def got his start collaborating with De La Soul and Bush Babees, but then gained a following after releasing the solo single “Universal Magnetic” in 1997. By 1999 his album Black On Both Sides had achieved gold status and he’d secured an Emmy nomination for his performance in Something The Lord Made.
Mos Def was supposed to play Liquids on Nov. 10, but didn’t. That didn’t stop Liquids management from keeping the ticket proceeds.
“Right before they made the announcement that Mos [Def] was not playing, the door guy took off with all our money,” Chamberlain said. “My whole night was ruined. Fights were breaking out. It was misdirected frustration at every turn.”
Someone from management asked everyone to line up to write their names and phone numbers in a spiral bound notebook. As angry attendees wrote their names, they were told that someone would contact them about a refund in the near future. At press time, no one has received a phone call or refund.
Liquids owner Oliver Lum’s cell phone number was disconnected last week. He didn’t return repeated messages left on his home phone. A call to the Liquids Nightclub was answered by a droning recording of woman’s voice informing callers that “the accounting office is working on refunds for the Mos Def show. Please be patient, you will be called.”
Calls and emails to Mos Def’s press agents were also not returned.
Meanwhile, people are getting impatient. “My whole night was ruined,” Chamberlain said. “ I drove around all night looking for something to do.”
For their part, the Maui Police Department says there’s nothing they can do at the moment.
“I don’t know that we’ve been getting calls,” Kihei police Captain Milton Matsuoka said. “It’s really a civil matter unless you can prove that the promoter had no intention of having the show. As of now we would need more information. If you know of anyone who wants to file a report please have them call me.” MTW