Ultra Lounge Owner Says He's Going to Stay Away From Hip-Hop Parties
LOGAN SQUARE — The owner of the Ultra Lounge nightclub said he will be sticking to his "rock roots" after four people were shot during a private hip-hop party last week.
About 12:30 a.m. Dec. 5, four men — ages 24, 26, 29 and 33 — were shot in the club at 2169 N. Milwaukee Ave. before the unidentified gunman fled, police said. The victims were taken to local hospitals in serious condition.
The violence had been the third time in seven days that shots were fired during a set by 24-year-old DJ Jay Thompson, also known as DJ JT Da Don, in performances around the city.
In response to the incident, Ultra Lounge owner Tiziano "Tiz" Savino, 34, said he is going to stop booking private parties with a hip-hop DJ, and go back to booking rock and punk acts.
"We're definitely not going to dabble with any private parties unless it's more along the lines of the music we cater to — rock and indie rock, more what Logan Square is," he said Wednesday.
Until two years ago, the Ultra Lounge was known as the Tini Martini Ultra Lounge, which Savino said had more of a club and Top 40 music theme.
Then, to adjust to the changing demographics in the neighborhood, he shortened the name and switched the focus to live rock bands.
The Ultra Lounge had been booking private parties on Mondays and Tuesdays, typically slow nights for bands, if no touring bands were in town. Winter is also a slower time for touring, and Savino said hip-hop parties were the easiest way to fill the gaps.
"Usually the guy who does my hip-hop booking, he usually weeds out the bad seeds," Savino said. "I really stressed that I don't want any of those hip-hop beefs ... but obviously he didn't do his job."
Savino said he was standing just 10 feet from where the shooting erupted, and he didn't see any indication something was about to happen.
"Obviously, I'm on alert and care what's going on," he said, adding that it "didn't look like any fight" and that "it just kind of happened out of nowhere."
The shooting was the first for the Ultra Lounge or the Tini Martini.
Savino described it as a "disgusting scene."
Because of the incident, Ultra Lounge will be closed Monday and Tuesday nights if no touring bands are available, though Savino said he's working on starting a pool league for Tuesday nights.
"We're sticking to our rock roots, and [we'll] go from there," he said.