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Posted on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

Organizers of New Year's party where brawl broke out: 'That's not what we're about at all'

By Kyle Feldscher

Obie Iyoha and Will Fairbanks organized a New Year’s Eve party to debut Iyoha’s first mixtape at a warehouse on Ann Arbor’s North Main Street.

But a brawl that started during and outside the party by people they say didn’t even buy tickets to the event has them frustrated their group is now linked with the incident.

1250NMain2outsdie.jpg

The party was held at this building located at 1250 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor.

Courtesy of ptallen.com

Ann Arbor natives Fairbanks, 23, and Iyoha, 22, make up the core of hip-hop collective Metal Apes and threw the party at 1215 N. Main St. on New Year’s Eve, where a fight sent three people to the hospital. The duo said they’d been planning the party since October as an opportunity to showcase Iyoha’s music and to spread their message.

Instead, the party has become known for the brawl that took place outside the warehouse after the event was over.

“We’re just artists, at the end of the day,” Fairbanks said. “We’re not thugs. We’re not gangsters. We’re not people who cause problems. We just want people to hear our music and know what we’re about, and that’s not what we’re about at all.”

Ann Arbor police responded to the warehouse at 1:41 a.m. Tuesday for a report of a large fight, which appeared to be over by the time they arrived. A short time later, police were told an 18-year-old Ypsilanti man and a 20-year-old Warren man were being treated for lacerations at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Not long after that, police were told by officials at University of Michigan Hospital a 22-year-old Ann Arbor man was being treated for lacerations and bruising.

All of the men reported their injuries occurred during a fight that started at the warehouse where Metal Apes hosted the party.

The event began at 9:15 p.m. and was only meant for people ages 18 and older, Fairbanks said. Metal Apes hired a company to work security and bouncers were checking identification at the door, making sure the partygoers who had bought tickets ahead of time didn’t bring in alcohol.

A Facebook event set up for the evening states alcohol would be present, but Fairbanks denied alcohol was served to people at the party, stating he and his team had alcohol but it was only meant for them. He said Metal Apes had the proper permits to use the warehouse for the party, having worked with Doug Allen, the building’s property manager. The building is owned by Peter Allen and Associates.

The party went fine up until the moments leading up to midnight.

“I was releasing my debut mixtape called Low Key and we had it set up so there would be a performance leading up to New Year’s,” Iyoha said. “That went pretty well until things started to get out of control. We were going to end at 2 a.m. and we ended up cutting it off at 12:45 a.m. because they just had to get out.”

Fairbanks said he was approached after midnight by the man he’d hired to do sound for the event and was told the party was starting to get out of hand. According to Fairbanks, some unknown men who hadn’t bought tickets to the event somehow got in and were causing trouble. Some fights reportedly broke out inside the warehouse, according to police.

“They were not affiliated with us at all,” Fairbanks said. “I don’t even know how they got in. That’s something I’ll have to talk to my security about. “

The duo announced the party was over and security began escorting people outside. In the winter cold, the tension escalated and a full-on brawl soon began. Fairbanks said he pulled his team of approximately nine people, who were helping throw the party, back into the warehouse and shut the door before calling police.

To this point, no one has been identified as a suspect in the brawl. The injured men told police they didn’t get a good look at the people who struck them. Fairbanks said he wasn’t sure who the people were that started the dramatics or what exactly started the fights.

“Those people don’t know how to have fun and they come looking for issues,” he said.

The duo decided to throw the party at the warehouse after identifying the space during a drive on North Main Street. They met with Allen and filled out the proper paperwork provided by the property manager. The security company, Schema League LLC., took care of insurance and permits, Fairbanks said.

Metal Apes became a Limited Liability Company about three weeks before the party, according to Fairbanks. He said the decision to do that was unrelated to the event.

Allen is looking for someone to lease the warehouse space but hasn’t found a tenant. Fairbanks said he’d been told by Allen the building was rented out for parties before and this wasn’t an unusual event. Allen told AnnArbor.com Wednesday that Metal Apes had done everything properly and fulfilled their end of the agreement.

“They were just trying to have a good party for their friends,” he said. “My clients I rented to … did their part to make sure it was safe and secure.”

The investigation into the brawl is on-going and Fairbanks and Iyoha met with Ann Arbor police detectives Wednesday to tell them their version of events.

For Iyoha and Fairbanks, the party was just a means to promote their music. The fact that their name is now associated with a party where a brawl sent three men to the hospital continues to bother them.

“The goal of the party was to promote his mixtape and we’re campaigining on that through April,” Fairbanks said. “It’s frustrating because the publicity is all negative and that wasn’t even affiliated with Metal Apes, and now Metal Apes has this taint and we were just trying to get the music out there.”

Cops and courts reporter John Counts contributed to this story.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kylefeldscher@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.

Comments

FormerMichRes

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

Actually, with a HipHop crowd brawling ... things could have been worse. Without gunshots and more mayhem (typical for HipHop ), this "brawl" almost seems like a staged event for publicity.

JRW

Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

What do you expect to happen with an alcohol-fueled public party with underage punks mixing it up? Bad all around from the get-go. Never should have been allowed to start with.

nickcarraweigh

Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 3:49 a.m.

Everybody should have a nightmare New Year's Eve story to tell, like falling off a train in the Oaxaca mountains down Mexico way or stumbling into a New Orleans room used as a set in Easy Rider or that FBI raid on the blind pig back on the east side. The memories, misunderstandings and failures to communicate.

aardv_eyebalz

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Kyle - remember when the landlord said that metalapes formed an LLC last month?? WRONG. How about THE DAY AFTER THE PARTY Name:METAL APES LLC Type: Domestic Limited Liability Company Resident Agent: TIMOTHY HOOKER Registered Office Address: 242 ALLEN LAKE DR WHITE LAKE MI 48386 Formation/Qualification Date:1-2-2013 Jurisdiction of Origin:MICHIGAN

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

Thanks, John. We'll just have to wait and see what Judge Judy says about all this.

John Counts

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

In the interview yesterday, which I was present at, Iyoha and Fairbanks said they started the LLC paperwork a few weeks ago and that it had just gone through "a day or so ago." Establishing themselves as an LLC wasn't necessary to rent out the building or throw the party, they said. As Kyle's story says, it was unrelated.

aardv_eyebalz

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 7:51 p.m.

Here's where Scehma League "security" is now Name:SCHEMA LEAGUE, LLC Type: Domestic Limited Liability Company Resident Agent: NASEEM M HABBAS NIMER Registered Office Address: 4657 CHERRY BLOSSOM LN YPSILANTI MI 48197 Mailing/Office Address: Formation/Qualification Date:6-4-2012 Jurisdiction of Origin:MICHIGAN Managed by: Members

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

Good thing they incorporated. I'd wager that their won't be much left if those who were assaulted sue them. Particularly with their statements that they "locked the doors" after the fight began, giving people outside nowhere to seek shelter. One wonders where security was, and if they also locked themselves inside.

aardv_eyebalz

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

Kyle - how about another story where you look at this from a community view, rather than parroting the revisionist nonsense from the "artists" and a careless building owner? I might have given these guys the benefit of doubt but one quick look at Twitter (#metalapes) or FB shows that EVERYTHING they say is just an attempt at publicity and shifting blame.

Robert A. Booey

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

There were definitely attendees under 18 present. My 16 year old, that was with me on NYE, has shown me pictures of her 16 and 17 year old friends bragging about their injuries, and the injuries they inflicted, on Instagram and Facebook. Investigators may want to look there as well.

Rob

Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

Yup definitely there were attendees under 18.

Richard Retyi

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

WAREHOUSE PARTY! I want to get invited to a warehouse party! Richretyi@gmail.com,. Let's make this happen, Metal Apes or Groove Collective or whatever hip hop groups don't have beef. Available 24/7.

UncleMao

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

I blame Doug "E-Fresh" Allen.

Prometheus

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

Just looked at their FB invite. There sure are a lot of underage high schoolers on the invite/attend list for an 18 & up party (some I know to be under 18). Especially one with (deny deny deny) alcohol. Hmmm...

whojix

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

I'm sure they hate the free publicity and getting to namedrop their mixtape on annarbor.com. This is exactly what they're all about.

Nadie

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

That's what I said!

Billy

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

Soulful Adrenaline

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:51 p.m.

Violence at a hip hop convention. Shocking.

Billy

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

Ugh...I just listened to their......music.... Just another crappy wannabe "rap" group.... How much skill or ability does it really take to speak over music? This isn't even rapping... This is much closer to freestyle poetry since most of the lyrics don't follow any kind of rhythm. This is what disgusts me about the "hip hop subculture." It stopped being about the music a long time ago and now it's ALL about image...

FormerMichRes

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

You're right...not much talent involved with making this stuff. What's even more mind-boggling is that some people will purchase it.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

I have to ask: why is it the commenters on this article are the ones doing the journalism work?

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean here, Unusual Suspect. I was aware of the Facebook post and even posted a link to it in the story. I asked Will and Obie about it in our interview and reported what they said. Obviously, I wasn't at this party first hand to witness whether alcohol was being served or not. The police have not mentioned any issues they've had with liquor sales at this party and there's been no citations for underage drinking that I'm aware of.

justcurious

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

How naive, and how silly to say this: "....but Fairbanks denied alcohol was served to people at the party, stating he and his team had alcohol but it was only meant for them." In light of what they posted on the Facebook page. .... "***The Location is secret. The address will be on the back of your ticket But its DOWNTOWN ANN ARBOR*** Fasho Fasho, its been a minute. But the Apes are back at it..... And you know how WE DO!!!.... but peep, we want you to bring in the New Year with us. 18+ Tickets are $15 right now BUT THEY WILL GO UP SO GET YOURS ASAP (Fareal this time)!... But yea, Free Jungle juice till we run out and free liquor until 11pm. after that... you are on you own. but drinks will still be on deck for $1, $3, and $5. We are...See More"

a2cents

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

amateurs

Billy

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

Well....you want to be part of the "hip hop subculture" you get to take the good with the bad. How was this any different than one of Studio 4's "Urban" nights? Also.......serving alcohol to underage kids.......that's not going to win you any sympathy votes AT ALL....

a2citizen

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

Yeah, right.

Rob

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

Following your link to their facebook event it clearly states they would be giving away alcohol for free till 11 and selling after that (liquor license???) and they would be giving away champagne. Are we reading the same page? Quoting "Fasho Fasho, its been a minute. But the Apes are back at it..... And you know how WE DO!!!.... but peep, we want you to bring in the New Year with us. 18+ Tickets are $15 right now BUT THEY WILL GO UP SO GET YOURS ASAP (Fareal this time)!... But yea, Free Jungle juice till we run out and free liquor until 11pm. after that... you are on you own. but drinks will still be on deck for $1, $3, and $5. We are gonna have a give away for Champagne and Metal Apes Gear as well. o, yea and WE'RE DROPPING OBIE IYOHA'S DEBUT MIXTAPE "THE LOW KEY" AT MIDNIGHT.... We're doing it bigger then we ever have so come out, and bring in the new year extremely well..... Dj Ell will be spinning throughout the night. "

Rob

Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

And now it appears they either deleted or hid the facebook event.

Rob

Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

What about interviewing the crew that cleaned up, perhaps there were bottles about. And what of the police, surely if they went in there in a more timely fashion they could have done some direct investigation? The police have anything to say about this? I suspect though that all involved in the party will deny there being alcohol until physical evidence is uncovered. Unfortunately it is now so many days past that all would have been destroyed. It obviously won't be the interest of any of them to admit to it. What about the kids there were seen at the local ER's. Any alcohol?

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

Rob - I asked them about this directly. They denied alcohol was served.

Halter

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

This is good writing and good coverage...for a non-story...thugs mix it up at a townie party and then get media coverage...On the other hand: I can think of better release party locations and dates than on the most alcohol-infused night of the year.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

You mean this FB post? "***The Location is secret. The address will be on the back of your ticket But its DOWNTOWN ANN ARBOR*** Fasho Fasho, its been a minute. But the Apes are back at it..... And you know how WE DO!!!.... but peep, we want you to bring in the New Year with us. 18+ Tickets are $15 right now BUT THEY WILL GO UP SO GET YOURS ASAP (Fareal this time)!... But yea, Free Jungle juice till we run out and free liquor until 11pm. after that... you are on you own. but drinks will still be on deck for $1, $3, and $5." I'll ask the question I did on the article from yesterday. Did this group have an event permit that allowed for alcohol sales? When was the LLC officially established? Why wasn't this noted in the article when the promoter tried to dodge the question?

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

Kyle, but they were advertising free drinks as part of the admission price per the FB listing. So no alcohol was served? If the state didn't issue the LLC until Jan. 2nd, then they weren't an LLC on Jan. 1, regardless of when they submitted the request. Did you ask why they were selling tickets and advertizing alcohol would be provided if this was incorrect? A denial of providing alcohol after the fact is curious with the pre-gig promotion, and would lead a skeptic to think there is a couple of pieces missing from the puzzle here.

treetowncartel

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

So, if the LLC papers were not filed until the 2nd they can be sued individually for any damages sustained by the party goers, or the building owners.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Alan: They denied alcohol was served to partygoers. As it states in the story, they filed for the LLC about three weeks before the party and state records show it qualified on Jan. 2.

Rob

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

I searched LARA for any liquor license to any entity starting with "metal" or "allen" or "fairbanks" and nothing comes up. I looked in Ann Arbor and White Lake. Definitely it would have required a 24 hour special permit, and perhaps LARA doesn't show the 24 hour permits. http://www2.dleg.state.mi.us/llist/

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

18 year olds and free liquor?

Cavern Clubs

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

Very good point Alan!

CincoDeMayo

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

I'm impressed by the initiative and determination of these young artists. Keep going!

Nadie

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Oh MY! I checked it out. I changed my mind. Violent!

Nadie

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

...and what a nice promo for their music! They sound like nice kids. The article makes me curious to check out their music.

bereasonable

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

Kudos to A2.com for following this, but me thinks we shall not hear the full story in the near future.

lumberg48108

Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 2:42 a.m.

I with Tesla on this one. Fights happen every weekend in every city in bars across the world. There was a time when this story would have been relegated to the police blotter section and then ignored, but such is the worked we live in in 2013 in the world of click journalism. A relatively small high school football "brawl" that resulted in no serious injuries was treated as if it was the Sandy Hook school shooting on these pages. People treated for lacerations is not that big a deal, even if they were caused by flying bottles. I also don't see how comments (good or bad, high volume or small volume) relate to a news story's qualifications as news. Something is news, or it isn't.

a2citizen

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

Tesla, if you noticed, two of the victims were treated for "lacerations". Lacerations are caused are caused by sharp objects, like a knife.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

Tesla, how can you possibly say it's a slow news day when people are getting hit in the head by champagne bottles?! http://www.annarbor.com/news/ypsilanti/man-taken-to-hospital-after-being-hit-on-head-with-champagne-bottle/ Happy Friday.

Tesla

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

A simple, Tesla it's a slow news cycle, would have sufficed. :)

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

Tesla: As you can see from the comments on this story, our readers are clearly interested and have had questions about this particular event. We're doing our best to answer them.

Tesla

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

Funny because I was just saying to myself "why are they devoting so much time and space to this dumb story." A fight after a big party? Wow that deserves four or five stories on the front page. ayiyiyi.

zanzerbar

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

Big, Bad, Mean, bouncers/doormen would have stopped uninvited guests.

zanzerbar

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

Come on..... somebody....anybody......give me a thumbs up. LOL .......

zanzerbar

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

Any more observations?

zanzerbar

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

@ Cal Girl "According to Fairbanks, some unknown men who hadn't bought tickets to the event somehow got in and were causing trouble. " Yep great security.

Calendar Girl

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Might be a good idea to actually READ the article before commenting. See paragraph 6: "Metal Apes hired a company to work security and bouncers were checking identification at the door..."