Actually no. Because if they were a brand new band, no one would have a good idea of what their music would sound like (even if they posted three shitty demos online). In this case, they've released two full lengths under "Audio Karate", therefore they have fans who would like to see them live/support them. Big difference.
If it's between me contributing to help them go on the road for a while or me not seeing them live, I know which one I'd pick. You clearly aren't a fan of this band, and that's cool, but I don't see what's so "lazy" about this when the rewards they are offering are more than fair (e.g. 250 for a full band show - are you kidding me?). Bands DON'T need to earn their right to play music to people who would like to see them live. I'm sure these guys, now that they're older, have other commitments and can't afford to save up for a van just to lose all that money on tour, and that is perfectly fine. I want to see them, and I'm glad they're doing this.
TL;DR There's a bunch of people who want to help this band, their rewards are more than reasonable, and they're a somewhat established band. don't see what's wrong with this.
edit: and I'm pretty sure most of the people donating would be friends or old school fans who would be in their mid to late 20's, so they're not really "exploiting" anyone here. Punk rock community is an awesome thing.
I listened to a little bit of Audio Karate back in the day, but was never that much impressed.
And I'm all for the punk rock community being supportive.
But asking for money for a van is lazy, plain and simple. Owning a van is a basic thing to wanting to be in a touring band - so sell merch, save show money, or have a simple regular job. It's that simple.
This coming from a mid to late 20 year old who started going to shows and supporting music since I was 12/13 years old.
Being older and having other commitments is fine, but then clearly you aren't prepared to be in a fulltime touring band and actually needing that van anyways.
250 bucks for a full band show? How about they actually put work into buying their own equipment (van included) and then I pay the $10 to get into the show when they are ready to play the part of being a band.
I'm about to turn 28. I've never played in an actual band, but I work for bands (tour management, merch, etc). I have a solid resume going and I leave in a month for a 6 weeks tour where I will be making less than what I'm making at my part time job right now per week. I pay rent, car insurance, bills, credit card debt, etc & I'm not asking for any handout. I'm ready to do any hard work it takes because touring with musicians is what I want to do in my life and what truly makes me happy, no matter how much older I get.
I'm not trying to bash the band. I'm sure they're awesome and they put on a great show, and could or do have a solid record. At least they're playing rock and roll, but fans buying a van is just silly and stupid.