After months of struggling with the OLCC, B Complex, Portland's seven-month-old music venue, has one more barrier to overcome before becoming an alcohol-serving establishment. In early September, the OLCC's Administrative Law Judge issued a proposed order recommending B Complex be granted a liquor license; the action marked a dramatic departure from OLCC's initial dismissal of the club. Yet, in spite of that progress, another OLCC branch--the regulatory staff--filed comments outlining concerns about the club.

"The reality is that several nights a week, at least, hundreds of people who have been drinking to excess, would exit B Complex late at night, into a poorly lighted and dangerous area," reads the report. The report also outlined concerns about the "style of music" that B Complex plans to host. Though the club has told the OLCC that music that "advocates violence" will not be played at the club, the regulatory staff writes that: "Music that advocates violence is a narrow field easily avoided, but 'art' is broad territory. 'Art' is not an effective limit and provides no basis to conclude what type of patron will be attracted to the club, or that the patrons of B Complex will all be model citizens as they return to their cars."

This continued concern about the type of patron and music is no surprise. Employees at the SE warehouse club have spent the past months trying to reassure the OLCC that they do not plan to host "raves, gangsta rap, or violent music," as Mike Reed, the lawyer representing B Complex, testified at the club's liquor license hearing.

When B Complex initially opened, they were denied a liquor license after Jim Mock, a retired police officer and self-declared "rave expert," testified that from the looks of B Complex, it was a "dedicated rave club," and their first act--DJ Spooky, a musician known around the world for his electronic sampling--was considered a "rave" artist. Hosting DJs like Spooky, said Mock, could potentially attract problems, like underage drug use.

Because of these initial prejudices, it took a great deal of testimony to correct OLCC's presumptions. "B Complex is absolutely not a rave club," explained Reed. "In fact, it's almost the opposite of rave music." To prove this to the OLCC, Reed called on the testimony of Sung-Hee Son, DJ Spooky's manager. "She basically had to explain to the OLCC that Spooky does art-oriented, avant-garde music, that he lectures at universities and museums on the relevance of music to modern society."

The decision will finally rest on the shoulders of the OLCC commissioners, who will vote next week.