On Wednesday, I thought I was going to stay in, but The Silent Comedy were playing a free show and it was at a new venue that I wanted to check out, so it was a win-win. Since I'd changed my headlight, I decided before I left to check my car and my taillight was out, too, so luckily the Auto Zone in City Heights is open until 10, and I stopped by to make sure my car was in good shape. Luckily, the show was later than I'd been told so I had plenty of time before the bands started.
The Stage is next door to the Bitter End in Downtown. Apparently the owner, Eric, used to be in a bunch of original local bands, but he traded in the scene to be a part of The Disco Pimps. He saw the need for a live music venue downtown and decided to open The Stage.
When you enter the bar, you're right in the venue...there are a few tables on the left, the bar on the right, and the stage in the back. There are two upstairs areas. One is directly above the entrance and has a few more tables, the other one is above and behind the stage, and there's another bar there that is open when there's enough people to require it. There is also a small lounge area in the basement where the bathrooms are.
The room is cool, had pretty brick walls and high ceilings, but personally I'm really over the red lighting in every bar, and of course, the stage was lit with red lights as well . I knew going in that a bar downtown probably wasn't gonna have cheap drinks, but when I ordered a vodka tonic and was told that they'd run out of the well, I was annoyed that I paid $7 for a Ketel tonic. It's not my fault they're out of the well and most places will charge the well price if that's the way you order it. I was also annoyed because the bar serves food. The chick bartender said they stopped serving when people stopped ordering, but then Jaime had an appetizer, which was like a spinach artichoke dish of some sort that was damn good, but there were too many chips left over so she wanted to order more of the dip and the guy bartender said the kitchen closed at 10. Not major issues, but small details the bar is gonna have to work out.
River City opened up the show and I particularly like their songs that are heavy on the harp, but sometimes the vocals get a little off key, but all in all I enjoy their sound. The sound in the room was pretty good, though the crowd was pretty chatty. Some really hammered guy came up front to dance and was falling all over himself, so he was a little distracting, especially when he fell into some girl. After the set he was tossed from the bar.
Between bands, I heard a woman calling out $3 wells next door, so I went over to have one. I went into Xavier's where there was really bad karaoke and ordered and my drink was $6. Confused, I asked about the $3 wells and the bartender didn't know what I was talking about. Turns out I went in the wrong bar. Lame. I try not to hate downtown, but it is really hard sometimes.
Back at The Stage, the bar was packed. The Silent Comedy has enough fans who love them, but there were also a significant amount of people who seemed to come into the bar because there was no cover.
They played a set a little different, since they were tired of the same old songs after having just toured. They were pretty crowded on the stage but still put on a raucous show and they played the longest set I've even seen them play which was cool.
I recorded the band performing a new song called Victory and the violin just sounds incredible, so here's the YouTube of that.
The Silent Comedy "Victory"
Toward the end of the set, I went to the bar to get a drink. The bartender said something like, "Let me guess...a glass of water?" I mention this because it tells me that I wasn't the only one unhappy with the prices, and wouldn't it be better to have a room full of drinkers if the drinks are $4 or $5 instead of a room full of people ordering water?
Anyway, the show ended and I bailed and hit up Commune Wednesday at Bar Pink Elephant and it was good being back in the hood. I hope The Stage survives, but I think it will have to work hard to get people who typically support local music to make the trek downtown because for me, I'd rather stick to North Park, Kensington, City Heights, and The Casbah then deal with parking, high drink prices, and downtown peeps.
I completely agree about the venue. Their happy hour prices were good, but no one from the happy hour crowd (ending at 8pm) stayed for the show and no one that came for the show was early enough for cheap drinks.
And I really could have done without the tv's during both bands sets.
I could have done without the crappy music after The Silent Comedy finished. Sublime? Really?
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