The renovated Mississippi Studios is almost ready. There's still a lot of hammering, painting, etc to do, but the long awaited reopening isn't far away. Many of you know that I've had a pretty special (to me anyway) relationship with the venue over the last four years and I am so excited that it will be back - a little larger, but with character intact. I could muse a bunch about the economics of a small venue and what it takes to run one efficiently and profitably. It's a tough thing to do while respecting both the performers and the audience in a way that creates the best experience for both. Creating that experience is what Mississippi Studios means to me. Yeah, the old seats might have been a little uncomfortable and the way in through the restaurant was a little strange . . . but there was no better sounding room, no more attentive staff, so more intimate experience of the music and artist (besides maybe your living room) than at the studio.
It was never about the "scene," where half the audience is ignoring the music and chit-chatting like they haven't been out of the house in years. This was about making connection with the music and the artist. Artists got that. You don't know how many times I heard - from local and touring musicians alike - that it was their favorite place to play. A place where they were never more than 50 feet from the entire audience of rapt listeners. Not that on some nights it couldn't be raucous . . . the place often was rockin', but it was always about the music.
I am hoping and expecting that will continue. I am encourage that Jim Brunberg made the move of adding Alicia Rose, late of the Doug Fir, to the team that will book and run the place. Though not my favorite room (particularly for the whole scene thing and too much audience inattention to the music), the Doug Fir has had a pretty adventurous booking style.
So go to the site and check out the first music show. It will be Dave Alvin with special guests on Valentines Day. Can't think of a better artist to get things rolling . . . . I suggest you get your tickets ASAP and be part of "blessing" the renovation.