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Monday, December 10, 2007

AEG Live Buys Showbox

posted by on December 10 at 20:34 PM

SEATTLE, WA – December 6, 2007 - Alex Kochan, Vice President of AEG Live’s regional operations in the Northwest, announced today that AEG Live is purchasing the Showbox concert clubs and hiring longtime venue operators Jeff Steichen and Chad Queirolo as General Manager and Talent Buyer/Manager, respectively. The Showbox at the Market and Showbox SoDo are among Seattle’s leading destinations for live music, comedy and game day hospitality.

“We are thrilled to welcome The Showbox and their staff to the AEG Live family,” said Alex Kochan, Vice President, AEG Live Northwest. “Jeff, Chad and the team they have assembled bring a wealth of experience and energy to the Seattle music scene, and together we can help enhance the concert experience for the city’s fans even further.”

“We are starting a new chapter in the history of Seattle’s live music scene,” said Jeff Steichen, Showbox General Manager for both venues. “AEG Live shares our vision and is as committed to the fans as we are.”

Under Mr. Steichen’s leadership, Showbox at the Market has consistently ranked among the top concert clubs in the world, according to Pollstar magazine. The second Showbox brand venue, located just south of downtown Seattle and adjacent to the city’s sports stadiums, joined the ranks in October. It has since thrilled fans with sold-out concerts featuring artists such as Kid Rock, Heart, The Hives, M.I.A. and The Pogues.

AEG Live’s other collaborations in Seattle include exclusive booking for the WaMu Theater at the Qwest Field Event Center and the Grandstand concerts at the Puyallup Fair, as well as participation in the Bumbershoot Arts and Music Festival. The company also produces the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Southern California, and promotes national tours for artists such as Justin Timberlake, Bon Jovi, Prince, Christina Aguilera, Kenny Chesney and Paul McCartney.

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nobody should be surprised/angry/disappointed by this kind of news anymore. i still am though.

up next: the crocodile?

Posted by jz | December 11, 2007 10:07 AM

At least it's not House of Blues, right?

Posted by Eric Grandy | December 11, 2007 10:12 AM

not sure that AEG live--second fiddle to clear channel--is much better than house of blues in terms of corporate monstrosity.

Posted by jz | December 11, 2007 11:00 AM

AEG is a subsidiary of the Anschutz Company, they own controlling interested in a couple dozen sports teams and a massive pile of sports arenas, mammoth theaters, and some of the biggest US venues, as well as Coachella and the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Not exactly a second fiddle to Clear Channel, they are equally mammoth, they just focus a lot of their attention on professional sports teams and sports arenas. Essentially, this is just as bad as Clear Channel buying it.

It's an end of a long era for the Showbox... once host to bands like the Dead Kennedys and The Cramps. Expect shitty shows, high ticket prices, crap service, overpriced drinks, pat downs, etc... which is the way the Showbox has been heading for a while, but this puts the nail in the coffin and takes it from being a local venue to a huge corporate chain venue. Lame.

Posted by Dan Halligan | December 11, 2007 11:41 AM

Can you say condos?????????

Posted by Fill | December 11, 2007 11:43 AM

@4: AEG owns a couple of classic venues in Denver (the Ogden and the Bluebird), and have for a while. As a Denver native, I can say that via my experience at both of those venues, there is little to no evidence that shows will be crappier, pat downs will ensue or drink prices will skyrocket. The Showbox is retaining the same booker and management team as far as I know, and I doubt things will be too noticeably different. They seem pretty hands off.

Posted by jay cutler | December 11, 2007 12:04 PM

-no longer a locally owned business, and your operator is no longer your owner, do you think he/they care MORE or LESS now?

-less diverse lineup as it will likely be more expensive for outside promoters to produce events there.

-expect to pay $32 or so for that $20 ticket with various ticket add-ons and surcharges

-I haven't been to WaMu Theatre, how's the booze selection/prices there?

Posted by KK | December 11, 2007 12:18 PM


Did you bother to read the article?

Posted by poo choo train | December 11, 2007 12:22 PM

Unless AEG is prone to replacing people on a whim, I'm not going to worry. It's not as if the Showbox ever felt like "an independent venue" anyway, given that most of the shows there were booked via big-time booking agents and big-time ticket agencies anyway.

If they replace Jeff and Chad for no good reason, then I'd worry.

But if the Showbox people allowed the sale for self-preservation, then this is, for now, a win-win thing.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | December 11, 2007 12:28 PM

Better this than condo-fication.

Posted by rk | December 11, 2007 12:30 PM

@3 - clearchannel owns house of blues now.

Posted by dawn | December 11, 2007 12:36 PM

@6 - apparently now that your playoff hopes are dashed you have time to troll the Stanger comment boards? @7 - I think I paid like 8 dollars for a bud light at WaMu...

Posted by scharrera | December 11, 2007 12:38 PM

this literally makes me sick to my stomach.


Posted by is music dead? | December 11, 2007 12:41 PM

I’m not surprised that Steichen sold the place. If I had his 20 yr old girlfriend I wouldn’t want to work either.

Posted by KM | December 11, 2007 1:00 PM

hey jay cutler,
shouldn't you be at practice? 3 tough games, all must-win!

Posted by dna | December 11, 2007 1:02 PM

The place will be fine. JZ's stranger-esque take on the neumos-chop suey consolidation hasn't played out...

Now in much more important news, where the heck is a posting about the Led Zep show? There is amazing footage all over youtube...

Posted by Raven | December 11, 2007 1:12 PM

@2 and @3 - C'mon, have you ever worked with any of them? Booked or promoted a show with them? Anything?

House of Blue was bought by Live Nation, and it wasn't like yesterday or anything. Read the news.

Live Nation owns venues of similar sizes internationally. This is a trend in the major markets. Anyone who books tours outside this region understands It's gonna be ok. Really.

Also be aware that Bravo, a promoter east of the mountains, was bought, along with their Big Easy venues in Spokane and Boise, by The Knitting Factory, who are also trying to expand more nationally. And things seem to be improved there.

I've done business with Chad and Jeff for years and they are great to work with. The people running AEG NW are great to work with too. Now that Adam Zacks is at STG after leaving Live Nation, STG will be even better to work with. On the independent side, Mike Thrasher at Thrasher Presents, Steven and Jason at Neumo's and Chop Suey, are all great too. Anyone wanting to do a show in this town is blessed with a variety of promoters to choose from. And all of them are locally based and care deeply about music.

The only thing I get from this news is that the Showbox Marketplace is probably secure for the long term as a music venue. That's great news.

Don't worry. Be happy. Definitely more important things to worry about.

PS - I'll also welcome AEG helping to stand up to the Mayor's anti-music legislation in the future. Should also be fun to watch their attorneys battle Tom Carr. Good times.

Posted by Meinert | December 11, 2007 1:21 PM

Interesting article and comments, but I kinda wish Lineout would label press releases as such when they post them. You know, journalistic integrity and all that crap...

Posted by Major Tom | December 11, 2007 2:10 PM

That's what the blockquotes are for, major.

Posted by Eric Grandy | December 11, 2007 2:17 PM

I love local independent businesses being bought out by large chains and I love spending $8 for a Bud Light. I can't wait until McDonald's buys Dick's and Pizza Hut takes over Pagliacci's.

(While I totally respect what Dave does for this town, in an effort to keep things transparent: AEG has had their hands in the corporatization of Bumbershoot, which he draws a paycheck from.)

Posted by Dan Halligan | December 11, 2007 2:26 PM

as someone who has been back in denver for almost 5 years (after living in seattle for 12-1/2), i hafta disagree with "jay cutler." when aeg took over booking (they don't own the bluebird and ogden, they just book them, at least for now) from local promoters nipp, there was definitely a small spike in the ticket prices. plus, the drink prices went up and the drink specials at the bluebird stopped. saddest of all, the once common free tix that nipp used to post around town and email are a thing of the past. the same thing happened when livenation took over booking the gothic from nipp. i can't say how it will affect the showbox - here its just been kind of annoying, but not so much to keep me from going out. mostly, it was sad to see the job taken away from a local company that did it much better.

Posted by deviled hampton | December 11, 2007 2:35 PM

AEG produces Coachella? I thought that was Goldenvoice.

I hope they don't start selling tickets exclusively through Ticketshafter or one of those stupid auction systems.

Posted by Explorer | December 11, 2007 2:42 PM

Goldenvoice and AEG became partners is a similar situation years ago... and Coachella has only become the finest music fest in the nation... The two "AEG Live clubs" that operate like showbox in LA are the El Rey and the Musicbox (Henry Fonda Theater) that is the closeset thing to either showbox venue in town. Nothing should change here... seems like AEG lets their indie teams work as they should - indie. I carved my teeth on Gary Tovar's GV shows back in the day - GBH, Damned, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, etc, etc in LA. I'd think if those cats could join AEG and still bring the quality of music and enhance the fan experience... we should all be fine up here in Seattle too.

Posted by Chewbacca | December 11, 2007 2:50 PM

Coachella is the shit.

Still, another death of an independent venue is sad.

Posted by Richard | December 11, 2007 2:53 PM

#22: I believe you can only buy Showbox tickets through Ticketmaster or in person at the venue. Sometimes through artists' fanclubs.

Posted by Horn | December 11, 2007 3:22 PM

It's not just jacked up ticket and drink prices that should bother people, it's what type of corporations do you choose not to support with your money? The BBC has described Phil Anschutz, owner of AEG's parent company, as having "a reputation as one of the hungriest of U.S. corporate vultures." Here's the Hoover's corporate profile, the guy founded Qwest, made his money in big oil, and has a history of buying up independent companies to enlarge his corporate media empire:

Denver multibillionaire Philip Anschutz has all his eggs in The Anschutz Company basket. Founded in 1958, the holding company's interests include a majority share of Regal Entertainment Group, which in turn controls former independent theater chains United Artists Theatre Company, Regal Cinemas, and Edwards Theatres. Publishing interests include The San Francisco Examiner and The Washington Examiner. Other holdings include Los Angeles' Staples Center and four professional soccer teams. Anschutz made his first fortune from oil on his Utah/Wyoming ranch; oil holdings include Forest Oil and Anschutz Exploration. He also founded Qwest Communications. All told, Anschutz has interests in about 100 businesses.

The conservative billionaire has agreed to sell 43 million shares of Qwest, part of a plan to liquidate more than 90% of his stake in the country's fourth-largest phone company. Through a series of forward-sale contracts, Anschutz stands to gain more than $1.3 billion in upfront cash while maintaining control of most of his Qwest shares until 2010. Anschutz is now Qwest's second-largest shareholder behind Fidelity Investments.

Anschutz also owns film and TV production companies Bristol Bay Productions (formerly Crusader Entertainment), which produces and distributes films with G or PG ratings and Walden Media. Walden Media also co-funded (with Walt Disney) religious allegory fantasy movie The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, based on C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia books.

Subsidiary Anschutz Entertainment is one of the producers of Celine Dion's Las Vegas show and is redeveloping London's beleaguered Millennium Dome. Anschutz funding is also behind the seemingly anonymous "Pass It On" billboards and commercials produced by The Foundation for a Better Life, a charity backed by his Anschutz Foundation.

Posted by Dan Halligan | December 11, 2007 3:33 PM

Qwest! Awesome, I love that field.

Posted by Raven | December 11, 2007 3:42 PM

Go Hawks!!!

Posted by Raven | December 11, 2007 3:42 PM

thanks for that, halligan.

its funny--getting upset at this kind of thing is seen by folks as naive. "its how smart business goes," is the explanation, and then meinert goes on to enumerate all the benefits of a giant multinational coporation from some other state owning the showbox. those benefits may or may not exist, but the giant multinational corporation from some other state definitely does, and that corporation loves them some petroleum and some christian rightwingers.

its not naivete, its concern for whose pockets your money goes into. naivete is "dont worry be happy."

Posted by jz | December 11, 2007 3:42 PM

Nicely put, JZ.

Posted by Eric Grandy | December 11, 2007 3:45 PM


Call me when AEG trys to tell Steichen something about morality. I want to watch.

Posted by Meinert | December 11, 2007 3:51 PM

But would you rather your hard-earned dollars go into AEG's pockets or up Jeff Steichen's nose?

Posted by au contraire | December 11, 2007 3:55 PM

AEG owns David F*cking Beckham, so they are OK in my book! Woot!

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | December 11, 2007 4:32 PM

#17 is right about Big Easy owned by Bravo owned by Knitting. Bravo stirred up controversy with the locals and begot the Big Sleazy, which would from then on only put on dance nights or Tech 9ine, and then Knitting came in and gave us Bright Eyes for the first time plus Modest Mouse and the grateful return of Built to Spill, and we be happppppy. :DDDD

Posted by spokaneneedssomecondolovetoo | December 12, 2007 12:11 AM

AEG is definitely making moves to control the Seattle live music market. First they became the exclusive booker of the WAMU theater. Then in February AEG signed a 5 year contract to co-produce (and profit from) Bumbershoot, which had been run since 1980 by local non-profit arts group One Reel. That's huge. And now they've bought the two Showbox theaters... what's next? Don't think for a second that they won't try to make these venues and Bumbershoot more profitable by raising ticket and drink prices.

I hope the Stranger does a little digging into the AEGification of Seattle's music venues and their involvement in Bumbershoot. I do think people in Seattle care about outside multi-billion dollar corporations coming into our city and trying to take over our music and arts scene.

Posted by Dan Halligan | December 12, 2007 9:26 AM

"First they became the exclusive booker of the WAMU theater." UMMM excuse me, didn't they build the WAMU theater? And even more incriminating, I heard you were there opening night at the Seal show?

Posted by Raven | December 12, 2007 11:45 AM

Raven, Seattle-based First & Goal Inc. and AEG Live partnered to build WAMU, AEG became exclusive booker when it was finished. You are right on Seal though, he's like the freaking Grateful Dead to me! I actually follow him around with a group of die-hard Seal fans and have seen every show he's performed in the past ten years.

Posted by Dan | December 12, 2007 12:49 PM

Hmmm, let me see if I have this straight - AEG President and CEO Timothy J. Leiweke partnered with First & Goal CEO Tod Leiweke to create a large expensive venue, and you are surprised and saddened that AEG books it? A venue they helped create? Connected by the family tree? And are you aware of the size of acts needed to play that room?

"No we're never gonna survive unless...
We are a little...
No no, never survive, unless we get a little... bit...

Oh, a little bit...
Oh, a little bit...


Posted by Raven | December 12, 2007 5:30 PM

I'm confused as to why you'd think that dude is surprised they'd book it. He never said he was surprised... he was just stating the facts. It looks like you're the closet Seal fan.

Posted by localmusicfan | December 12, 2007 6:56 PM

Raven sounds like made up name a fat goth chick takes. Is your last name Graveyard?

Posted by MikeTight | December 12, 2007 7:19 PM

I know you are but what am I.

Posted by Raven | December 13, 2007 11:18 AM

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