Monday, July 14, 2008

More Seattle venue changes: Chop Suey & King Cobra

Somehow I missed this, a Reverb blog entry by Hannah Levin about Chop Suey getting sold to a Japanese company. Damn, the Japanese invade the Chinese yet again! Well, a fake-o Chinese-themed American club anyway. I haven't really gone to too many events at Chop Suey in the past few years... if any, but it's still sad to see a big out of town corporation buying up yet another Seattle music club. The company that bought the venue is called K's Dream. They own a nightclub in Chiba City, Japan, and Chop Suey already has the subtitle of "K's Dream Seattle" under their name on the website. The club info on the website says "The ‘Seattle branch' is intended to be a full service live music entertainment venue. K's Dream will invite Japan based bands to Seattle and provide them with opportunities to publicize themselves and to acquire experience in the United States. At the same time, K's Dream will send Seattle based bands to Japan to play in the ‘Japan branch'. By doing this, we will be able to establish a bridge between Seattle and Japan to create cultural awareness and enhance the music scene in both places through music." Interesting... I just hope it won't be all pop music, I'd love to see more Japanese garage rock and punk bands playing Seattle.

In other Seattle club news, King Cobra on Capitol Hill is up for sale. This doesn't exactly surprise me. I think the owners, who previously owned the smaller dive bar Kincora's, were a little too ambitious and opened a much bigger club than they had experience for. The space, previously Sugar's nightclub, fits 500 people and is huge. As I mentioned when they first were opening, parking absolutely sucks where they are and the booker, while a great guy, didn't have experience booking a big club. The Stranger also gave them a hard time, which couldn't have helped at all. Bringing in the more experienced booking of Jenny Bendel made me rethink my criticism, but then she left after a few months. I just think they were spending too much time trying things out instead of following one solid vision, which can happen with someone's first club. It's probably also hard to compete for booking bigger and middle tier bands without an established reputation and club. The space is definitely cool and could be a money maker with the right vision and booking. It will be interesting to see what happens, I wish the current owners and staff the best of luck, they did a cool thing trying to open a big rock club DIY-style on Capitol Hill and I certainly appreciate their efforts.

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