516 Soundstage, calls the former Woolworths "the biggest and best venue in all our land. This is not a bar, not a club; this is a musical event center where you, the bands and fans, make the shows, whatever it is you do. And we rock it, all ages, until midnight. Eighteen and up, until 2 am. And 21 and up after that."
Those who drive up Texas St and peer at the crowds of motley teens standing outside Soundstage may think, "Uh oh."
Not to worry. As a person who's flip-flopped through the parking lots around Soundstage, shot photos in the diner and felt the crush of guitar and double kick drums against his Eustacian Tube in the cavernous main hall, I contend that the kids are allright. It's original music. It's an alternative life willing to take the scrutiny of Texas St display. And it's under the wily wings of building owner Mark Goff and musician Black.
Last weekend Soundstage re-opened after a hiatus lenthened, Black, says, by the city's inept and antagonistic bureaucracy.
He says of last week, "Yes, it Was a good house. About 150 kids, all respectful, polite and moshing their butts off. And having such a good time. Now if only i could find a novelty company that would let them have some amusements. They are hesitant, and understandably so, but every new day needs a few days to settle in."
The long evening is not a picnic basket for adult rockers like Black: "Today's metal is so aggresive and brutal, I use some ear plugs and smile, oblivious and politely, all night to unheard conversations."
But when it comes to delays in licensing and permits, he pulls the plugs: "I mean, to Hell with these public officials who wanna
treat kids like they have no right or reason to be anywhere but home sitting quietly.I say give 'em a place to kick their heels up a bit, and hear some great music and be a part of a cool thing in a safe environment and sent home safe, sane, sober and alive!"
The basics: "We have the largest and by far best equipped and set up stage anywhere around," says 516 SS's myspace site, "house sound and soundman, security, doorman, and an all show-long diner with a smoking parlour and cocktail bar for the 21 and up crowd. You book the shows, agree to the house contract of $225 sound/soundman/doorman charges plus 20% of the gate to cover venue rental, and we swing it wide open, and rock the house."
Black, Goff and 516 adjutant Jammie say, "What can you do for your 516? We need some old, free, yet adequately functioning televisions so we can set up video feeds all over the venue to maximize your enjoyment. Tech kids: we need video. Old webcams, whatever, and some hero is going to get a free pass for a year for hooking us up with these things. Artists! We need murals. Get with us and get to work! We will feed you and love you forever, and more free passes can be made up to compensate you."
Shows start at 8 pm Fri night. Pardon me if I say "Rock on," to the local dudes in Malignant Spawn and CancerWhore. Great, geat names, guys.