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Thursday, July 9, 2009

The State of Venues

Posted by Andrew R Tonry on Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 5:28 PM


I'm feeling a bit brain-dead so this one might come out a little strange but let's have at it just the same.

From the Not So Surprising News Desk: Mt. Tabor Theatre has closed. Again.

Saw that one coming, didn't you? How many failures is it in that space now? Three? Four? More?

This most recent one is no stranger than the rest, I suppose. If memory serves correct they put some money into a slightly more glittering bar design and left the horrible sight-lines, acoustics, and lay-out the same. But what can you do? The place would need to be practically leveled to right those architectural wrongs. Mt. Tabor was a huge room that didn't well suit a big audience, with the right-justified stage split with dead-space left. Local bands playing the cavernous room must've felt so alone and unappreciated when the venue began having "bring your friends" shows.

But we all knew this, right?

What the closing makes me wonder is if Portland has too many venues? At what point is it too easy for a local band to get a show, because there's 30 others going on that same night? One one hand it's nice to be able to learn your shit on a real stage, but on the other hand it's a strange a funky economy where bands bring their friends and venues bank off the essentially private party. But fuck, if it works, I'm for it. Better than just providing booze.

But the economic dip has contracted a few flabby venues—and a few more will be soon to go.

I'm confident we don't need to see anyone else try and open Tabor, though the all-ages sphere could use a quality go-to—especially with dual booze rights. And I think a space bigger than Doug Fir but less cavernous than the Wonder Ballroom might be nice. But the little venues? We've got enough for now.

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