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Monday, October 13, 2008


posted by on October 13 at 13:34 PM

Last Night as in Saturday night.

The Admiral Theater in West Seattle has been inaugurated. The first show in the new music room went off this weekend. Bands were Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, the Hands, and Panda and Angel. It’s a big room deep inside a quiet neighborhood on the far side of town. Matt ran the sound. There were a few kinks soundwise (first night running sound in a new theater sort of stuff), but overall it sufficed. Once kinks and feedback issues are worked out, the room will be good for sound. The theatre still has all the seats in it, which might need to tweaked with as well, for the music shows that is.

Some people up front couldn’t hear the vocals, a typical sound problem for those ears standing right at the front of a stage, directly in front of the mains. The people sitting down in the theater had a better mix. Amaker said, “I wish there was a way to give the room one mix, and a separate mix up front for the true fans.”

For the Rodeo’s show they had Ted Nugent’s lighting guy, John Schlick, running the lights. They showed their “adults only” grind-core music video “I’m the Man Who Writes the Country Hits” on the big screen right before their set. In the video there is killing and sex. Amaker stabs someone through the head with his guitar. When the credits rolled, the curtains pulled and the Rodeo walked on stage and started playing. Amaker made his entrance from the rear of the theater and Schlick covered him with a follow spot. It was a real live, fog machine enhanced, twang rock, West Seattle music show. Here’s to the Admiral sticking around. Pictures to come. Here’s that adults only video now:

The Rodeo is about to leave for a US tour ending at CMJ in New York. They play the National Underground in Manhattan on Oct. 24th. They have a new van for the tour. Amaker said, “The new van is HUGE. Plenty of room for five men in cowboy hats, one ace photographer / cape man, and all the gear. Shit, there’s elbow room. It will be nice after a few days on the road to have some out of my face space.”


RSS icon Comments


A 400 seat venue in...West Seattle?

Yeah, that's going to do well.

Posted by Tiktok | October 13, 2008 3:31 PM

1 -

especially not if your band plays.

Posted by Paw | October 13, 2008 4:39 PM

Brent Amaker rules. Funny dude.

Posted by Grant Brissey | October 13, 2008 4:59 PM

I was at the show and it was awesome.
The Rodeo is gonna be legendary and the opening bands were amazing too! (The Hands, Panda & Angel).

Posted by Eppet | October 13, 2008 6:23 PM

This looks like another King Kobra, except it's bigger, it's not within walking distance of three other clubs, and not in the middle of the prime club-doing demographic neighborhood. On the other hand, a shortage of parking for 400 concert-goers, so I guess it's got that in common.

How many paying customers were at the first show?

Posted by Tiktok | October 13, 2008 7:56 PM

Tiktok, who are you? What do you do? Why are you so negative? Why do you hope shit fails? What do you enjoy?

Posted by Monty | October 13, 2008 11:12 PM

I enjoy seeing clubs (or other businesses) succeed because they're...well-thought out businesses, and I don't like seeing them go under do to a lack of advance planning. Which is why I'm baffled at the Admiral doing live music.

It's a very large venue in an neighborhood which has never shown strong support for original live music. Its overhead must be significant, and there's not much in the way of parking. A room that big needs a lot of people to avoid feeling empty, so I'd hope they have a great booking agent and quite a budget for promotion and guarantees to lure bands with that sort of following across the West Seattle Bridge.

Posted by Tiktok | October 13, 2008 11:32 PM

Since you care so much about it, did you go the show? Will you help support it? Or will you just sit back, be skeptical and jaded, and judge others for trying to do something they feel passionate about?

So what do you do?

What have you done to acquire so much wisdom about how venues should work?

Posted by Monty | October 14, 2008 12:06 AM

It's not just a music venue. They show movies. The theaters are operational, which lowers the overhead.

Posted by Monty | October 14, 2008 12:08 AM

The movies are a going concern. Every night they're not showing movies, they have to meet or exceed their typical movie night revenue in order to make music nights viable. Saturday nights are traditionally strong in the movie business, so to book shows in that slot instead of movies suggests either problems in the movie revenue or supreme confidence in the concert business plan. Or maybe they rented out the room for the music to transfer the monetary risk off their books for the night? Certainly the Admiral myspace page makes no mention of "paying" bands, but does emphasize that they need bands who can fill a 400 seat room. I'm wondering how large the paying crowd was on Saturday night.

Of course, they also have to offset the gigantic effect of negative comments in Line Out. Boy, that has a huge effect on would-be show goers. Not.

The place will succeed or fail on the strength of its business plan, not anything said here.

Posted by Tiktok | October 14, 2008 7:32 AM

Tiktok, surely you know that even suggesting that a business might face challenges is tantamount to fire-bombing them. Why do you hate live music so much?

Also, @ Monty: I bet Tiktok will support the venue when they book shows that he feels like going to West Seattle to see. That's how venues work. They book shows, and if people want to see those shows at that venue, they go to them. Tiktok doesn't have any responsibility to do shit except go to the shows he wants to attend.

Posted by Eric Grandy | October 14, 2008 9:01 AM

Meanwhile, from the Weekly's coverage I see that:

Cover was $15 (!)
Show was 21+
Sound was horrible
Room was 75% empty

Those are not the mistakes a venue wants to make twice. Giant, empty rooms full of feedback with painful cover charges do not make for success.

Posted by Tiktok | October 14, 2008 12:25 PM

You must be proud Tiktok. I'm happy for you.

It's a new club, they have to figure some things out. Big surprise.

Eric @ 11 -

But since Tiktok cares so much for live music and this club, and has so much to say about, you don't think he would want to do something that might help it out?

Because when someone who says they care about live music and hates to see venues shut down, but all they do is talk shit about them, well I think that's bullshit.

If Tiktot cared at all he'd support the club, not talk shit about them. Do you disagree with this?

I don't think Tiktok hates live music, Tiktok is just an insecure asshole, who's probably never really tried at anything in their life.

Tiktot, let's hear you talk positively about music. What do you like?

I'm sure the club you started had no problems at all, right? Everything you do has succeeded, right?

Posted by Monty | October 14, 2008 12:50 PM


No, as a concert-goer I support venues that provide enjoyable experiences. Appropriately sized rooms, reasonable cover, decent sound--these are all things I look for in an evening's entertainment. There are plenty of venues that fit those criteria in town, and they benefit from my patronage. So far I've heard nothing that would encourage me to attend a show at the Admiral (whose movies I've attended for years).

As Mr. Grandy pointed out earlier, I am under no obligation to do anything to support the Admiral other than attend shows which interest me. The Admiral is a business that I'm not obligated to "care" about, they don't want my concern: they want my money. Given the ample other music venues in town, I see no reason to give money (or my time) to a new one unless they offer me something I want and can't get somewhere else. The same hundred people that were at last Saturday's show packed into, say, the Skylark sounds like a much more exciting evening, and not because I have anything against the Admiral, but because a full room with good sound is better than a mostly empty room with bad sound.

So, difficult as this may be for you to understand, I can wish them the best while still recognizing that they have a lot of problems to overcome.

Posted by Tiktok | October 14, 2008 1:59 PM

Well put Tiktok, and nice shout-out to the Skylark, which has KILLER sound and is a good-sized room for most of the acts that it hosts, and they dont charge a cover.

Posted by E | October 14, 2008 3:08 PM

Interesting discussion.

Tiktok has valid points, but also came in slinging negativity. In the end Tiktok does wish them well, veiled in some pointed criticism.

Monty wants the club to do well.

I'd love to see the club survive. It's not a normal 400 seat venue, it's a converted movie theatre, and there's some work to be done.

But why be negative toward them? Why not be positive in your criticism? Have they wronged you, Tiktok?

Posted by trent moorman | October 14, 2008 3:32 PM

wait, Tiktok, do you live in West Seattle? If you've been going to the movies there for years, maybe you do.

Given your liking of quality live shows, wouldn't you be absolutely overjoyed at the possibility of seeing more quality live shows closer to where you live?

Maybe you don't live over there though. But you do go to the Admiral. In any case, it's a spot you know, and you know music, so wouldn't you still be overjoyed?

You have standards for shows, here's to hoping the Admiral can meet those standards.

Posted by trent moorman | October 14, 2008 4:15 PM

Well shit Tiktok. Nothin' wrong with taking a few risks. Personally I was proud to take a risk and play a gig in a new venue. There are plenty of music lovers in West Seattle, but things like this take time. I'm glad the Admiral is taking a chance on this. It's bold.

Posted by Brent Amaker | October 14, 2008 4:36 PM

While I welcome the prospect of another (the second? Third, if you count the Redline?) original live music venue in West Seattle, I don't think it'll happen unless the venue hits all the marks.

Bad sound and feedback are the sort of thing that should be worked out during soundcheck, and when it's the first show in a new space, maybe a rather extensive soundcheck is in order? Money and sound engineer skill can fix that problem, but the venue size is more worrying.

As I've said, 100-125 people is a fine number in somewhere a third the size of the Admiral, but in general it's a drag to play to a room that empty, and the audience never gets that pressure-cooker effect you get when the room is full. Unless there's a tremendous pent-up demand of 21+ music fans in West Seattle who don't want to cross the bridge for their evening's entertainment, AND who happen to appreciate the evening's bill, AND who feel like paying $15, it's going to be tough to fill that room. Getting folks from Cap Hill or Ballard out to West Seattle for nightlife is difficult at best.

Some of this depends on the break-even point for the evening, but even if it's very low (again, it's got do better than a movie would in that time slot to be an improvement), the size of the space is daunting. It's a pity there isn't a way to close off the back half of the auditorium when there's shows, to create a closer vibe.

Consider, the evening overhead at Easy Street is much lower, the room is smaller and they still don't do much live music there (which is a pity, because it's a good room). Why? No interest on the part of Easy Stret, or low demand from the audience?

Posted by Tiktok | October 14, 2008 5:15 PM

14 - Tiktok -

Your argument for the venue that is up to your 'standards' is the Skylark? THE FUCKING SKYLARK? You have to be fucking kidding me.

Whatever your argument was, you just lost.

Posted by Monty | October 15, 2008 2:18 PM

The Skylark is frikking awesome. Come on, now. Does anyone remember laughter?

Posted by trent moorman | October 15, 2008 3:20 PM

It seems like the hardcore shows at the American Legion Hall and the punk house shows have been successful in West Seattle, but venues not so much. It kind of depends if a venue can dig out it's own niche and draw in both the growing population of South Seattle and get people to drive there from the city. Things going for it: the rent is way cheaper out of the city and places like Studio 7, Jules Maes and Club Motor certainly have shown they can draw big crowds even though they involve a commute. I gotta say I know a lot more music fans living South of the city these days because it's cheaper. And most of us already commute to shows in neighborhoods like Ballard, Fremont and Georgetown, I don't see West Seattle as that much further. For someone on Capitol Hill that never leaves it, they won't even go to a show in Fremont or Ballard, so don't expect them to be your target audience and it's not a problem...

Posted by dan10things | October 15, 2008 3:34 PM

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