Memories as the Curtain Closes
When I heard Curtain Club was closing, I’m not quite sure how it hit me. I loved the club and they were always great to work with on promotions of any kind we could think of here at Renegade Radio. Over time believe me, we’ve thought of a lot of them. We were one of the first to start streaming live from the club and we hosted many fantastic events out there. The biggest of course was when Faktion was signed by Roadrunner.
We sent them off in style to a major tour late one fall with a packed club. The line pre-show that night was around the corner long before the doors even opened. I’m not sure if that was the height of Deep Ellum, but it was sure the height of shows I got to sponsor at Curtain Club. I’ve still got an autographed show poster framed and hanging on my wall. I told the guys I needed it in case they got bigger than Jesus.
The years came and went, as years tend to do. It would take forever to list the sell outs at Curtain Club over these decades. Locals and national alike had Curtain Club marked as THE place to play in deep ellum. You knew you were “the shit” when your band was immortalized in local music history when your custom plaque was placed on the wall. My first time on the CC stage was to present Monkeyshyne their plaque.
I had started Renegade Radio not too long before it and pushed this band as hard as I could out of love of the music, and of course, the guys. They gave me the honor of presenting them their award and my “fear” showed. By “fear” I mean “holy hell I’m on stage!” A major feat for a terminal introvert. Who knew then I would share that and other stages with Monkeyshyne singing along with them. Ok, maybe I’m just a partial introvert.
Times change and the entire local scene has morphed. Better or worse is a state of mind touched by preference. But it sure has changed and in these changes, Deep Ellum has been taken over by street bazaars, the resurrection of tie-died clothing and a constant inability to find parking due to people who in many cases are not even aware of the history around them. Where the locals will go next is anyone’s real guess; but when one curtain closes…
Right on Red started off the June 16th show and I guess that’s when it hit me. Josh Franklin, still the barefoot performer, and Ryan Gibbs, still sounding amazing, closed out their opening set for the night with Distance and then Take it All Away. In going from a packed Curtain Club with Frolic, The Hunger and Faktion giving all-star performances to seeing Josh and Ryan, it hit me.
While I’m still not sure how to feel about it all, I can say that’s when I realized the depth of the loss to Deep Ellum and the local music community. At least my own personal loss. Whether that emotion is tied to the changes over the years and my own accomplishments, or lack thereof, I can’t really say. I was just seeing the completion of a circle I suppose.
Thankfully we got Right on Red on video. We were going to shoot Advent and South FM also, but our equipment had a big footprint and by the time Loaded Moses finished their set, Curtain Club was jam packed and we had to shut it down to make room for the crowd.
You have to wonder when you’re reminiscing how you impacted others along the way. That’s a question you usually ponder but never really ask out loud. At least not since I quit drinking anyway. But as we were setting up for the evening, the legendary Paco Estrada stopped by to say hello and that alone was flattering. Hey! Someone knows me!!! When he handed me a personal vinyl copy of Swallowing the Pill I was honestly floored. Only 250 of those exist and I now own one of them.
My private collection I will never part with includes this, an autographed copy of The Brights release where I’m actually listed in the liner notes, Joey C Jones greatest hits Volume 1 I got to produce and a metric-shit-ton of memories.
While we were not able to record the videos, we did capture the audio. I’ll start working on editing that down and with the bands permission, put it up on the site soon. We have the Right on Red video, and then we’ll have Advent, SouthFM and I believe Bless the Broken complete sets of their live performance. The performances from everyone that night were incredible. While I am disappointed we didn’t capture the video we hoped to, it was a rare night where I had my cameras put up and I just watched some amazing bands give it their all one final time.
Advent with Brandan Narrell is promising some new music soon. Hell, I even hear rumors of Faktion may be trying to regroup. We’ll be there for both of those to be sure in any capacity the bands will let us. So while we’re losing the Curtain Club, the bands are still out there, still fighting, and still giving it their all. After all this time and experiences they’ve collected over the years, I’m sure the music will be amazing.
As of today, there are (4) days left and the final show is going to pack the house for the last time. If you’re one of the fortunate people to have tickets for that show – get there early. As I go get a final look at the line up, I see Monkeyshyne has been added.
I may have to make just 1 more show.