A few weeks ago, Shain Stewart, owner of the Darkside, announced an unusual contest: The person who can find him a new venue gets $1,000.
The Darkside, which opened last year, isn't housed in some dive bar; it's located inside Sidelines Sports Bar & Grille in Marietta. The room is carpeted, and bracketed by 12 TV monitors that play liquid graphics throughout the night. The $45,000 lighting and sound system is state-of-the-art; there are even brackets attached to the side walls onstage so musicians can hang up their guitars. And when local band Stillpoint hit the stage last Fri., Dec. 8, the two smoke machines and dazzling light display that accompanied it made the 30-minute gig look like a major concert event.
Unfortunately, the room is too small, with only a 250-person capacity. "We've outgrown this one," says Jason Gates, the Darkside's manager.
Gates and Stewart, who built the Darkside together, are looking for a building between 8,000-12,000 square feet, with high ceilings (around 15 feet) and an adjoining parking area that can accommodate 350-700 vehicles. It should be a raw, unadorned space they can transform into a venue with the same amenities as the Sidelines room.
"It's kind of like buying a house," Gates says. They would like to stay in Marietta, but are open to moving closer to Atlanta. "When we opened, a lot of people said, 'Ah, nobody wants to go outside the Perimeter.' Well, there are a lot of people that don't want to go inside the Perimeter," he says.
Anyone who has found a potential location can reach Gates through www.myspace.com/thedarksideofatlanta. Be prepared to give the address, the person he can talk to about the place, the contact number and e-mail, as well as your name and contact information. Please do not speak to the potential seller on Stewart's and Gates' behalf; all they want is the contact information.
The ultimate goal, Gates says, is to transform the Darkside into a venue that competes with the Roxy, the Tabernacle and the Masquerade. "This is peanuts to what we want to do," he says. "We want to look back at this and laugh, 'Remember when we had that little place in Marietta?'"
FAREWELL ADDRESS: The Letters Organize is breaking up. The quintet has been silent for most of the year after completing national tours for Dead Rhythm Machine, its 2005 Nitro Records debut. That album drew praise from hard-rock magazines such as Kerrang! and Alternative Press, the latter comparing it to screamo bands such as Blood Brothers and the Bronx. Attempts to reach members of the band through its MySpace page (www.myspace.com/thelettersorganize) were unsuccessful.
On a Dec. 4 blog post, bassist Garrett Range writes, "Everyone had different opinions on what should come next musically. As we've grown, our musical tastes and influences have changed dramatically. We felt like it would almost be like lying to everyone to create something that did not have the heart and soul of previous efforts." The Letters Organize plays its final gig at Drunken Unicorn on Sat., Feb. 3.
RANDOM NEWS: Thanks to his platinum album King and singles such as "What You Know," T.I. picked up five trophies at the Billboard Music Awards, including Rap Artist of the Year. ... DJ Drama and Young Jeezy were both winners at the 2006 Justo's Mixtape Awards. Held in New York on Dec. 7, the annual ceremony honors the world's top hip-hop mixtape DJs. ... Athens band Boulevard, which built a following here for its New Wave-inflected rock, is moving to New York City in January. The band played a farewell show at Athens' Go Bar on Dec. 9.
CD RELEASES: Rock band Passerby celebrates its Tension and Release EP on Fri., Dec. 15, at the 585. Kill Gordon and the Tomatoes also perform. ... Jazz pianist William Green presents Green Valley on Sat., Dec. 16, at Apache Café. ... Angie Aparo performs Praise Be on Sat., Dec. 16, at Center Stage Atlanta. Nathan Angelo and Gary Pfaff open.
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