There's been a lot of chatter recently about a perceived lack of live music venues in Madison. As a musician, I don't necessarily agree--we've actually got quite a few options for a city of our size. Yes, it would be nice to have a few more mid-to-small sized venues that actually had decent sound systems, but overall, we're not super hard up.
I read today that the King Club is closing its doors, only to reopen sans live music (except for Clyde Stubblefield's weekly "Funky Drummer" gig, thankfully). Part of me is sad to hear it, especially since it means that a number of great live acts and organizations will now have to find new homes (IndieQueer and MadCabaret, for instance). The other part of me, however, isn't all that surprised.
See, every single time I've played at the King Club, something has been wonky. On one occasion, they double-booked the evening, forcing the touring act we were playing with to find a different venue at the last second and thus losing a good chunk of audience. I'm told that this wasn't an uncommon occurrence, either. A number of other local musicians have told me similar stories of double bookings.
Every gig I've played or gone to see has started an hour or more later than was advertised. In at least one instance, this made it so that I couldn't actually stay to watch the show.
It seems that better management might have helped keep things alive and well at the King Club. Their dedication to local acts was great, but showing a little more respect toward those local acts would have been even better.
I'll be curious to see what new format the King Club reopens in. And I do hope that another similar capacity venue, friendly to local music and with better booking operations, opens its doors soon.