Elbo Room Chicago: What You Can Learn About Acoustics From This Nightclub

Some time ago I went to the Chicago night club Elbo Room with my friends and we noticed that the sound quality of the music was terrible. The DJ was having trouble with his equipment and asked everyone to turn their music down. We all looked at one another and thought, “Why isn’t there paneling right over here?” I asked a few people for their opinions and they all had the same problem. It seems like Chicago is the epicenter for bad music and that night club was not going to be one of them – we certainly make better music at home.

The club was just two stories and the second floor seemed like an airplane runway with no lights at all and just dark alleys and stairwells. We were expecting to see drunk college kids stumbling around and talking to each other but we were all quite surprised when we walked into the nightclub and there were no bouncers on the door and no one to clean up the mess. The DJ was out cold that night, and none of us got into the nightclub e2. My friends and I walked out of the club after thirteen dollars on drinks and two beers.


We walked to our car in a daze and had to ask some of our friends for directions to the closest hotel. The guy that told us our directions was in the car with his friend and they were headed to the bar we were looking at trying to get a room. When we got there the music was pumping and the smell was so strong that we could barely breathe. My friend that was in the car with us was trying to open a window for us and he started yelling at the girl in the car, “She has a reputation for having trouble, let’s go find her and beat it!” My friend told us our group needed to leave as soon as possible because the stampede was going to kill anyone we were riding with that night.

Instead of waiting for the security guard to unlock the doors and let us in we decided to take advantage of the fact that there were only two security guards on duty that night – though, worth pointing out each had a doberman with training collars operated by remote, rather than leashes. We jumped into the back seat and started talking with one of the girls who was sitting behind us. As she settled into the seat and started mumbling under her breath, she looked right at me and started yelling, “He has criminal contempt convictions!” She was totally shocked that we hadn’t noticed this because the DJ was just finishing up with his friends and there were no security guards at the club.

crowd at Elbo Room.

The stampede then went on to attack another patron. By the time the police showed up the stampede had already injured 21 people and destroyed two businesses. The owner of the nightclub had to cancel all parties for the next month because there was never going to be a club that would allow the stampede to enter. The owner was fired and faced criminal contempt charges for not having the proper code violations and insurance to protect the patrons. She was also charged with assault and battery for trying to restrain the stampede.

The next time you go to a club remember to always stay one step ahead and keep your eyes open for the club bouncers and other guests. Don’t let bad luck to break you down, especially when there are children involved. If you see somebody that you think may be a member of the stampede, do not stand eye to eye with them. Instead, talk to the person with your head down and walk away, but try to look the other way as the stampede advances towards you. Always carry pepper spray (or a personal alarm) with you at all times and know your Chicago night club bouncers and patrons very well.

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