Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tacoma Venues: The Viaduct

A few days late, but that's okay. As previously mentioned, I headed out to The Viaduct to catch local boys Colonies' CD release show last Friday. If you don't know, The Viaduct is a new venue in Tacoma, in fact the only exclusively all-ages, non-church-affiliated venue in Tacoma. In a lot of ways it's a niche that really needed filling. There are a lot of kids in bands in the greater Tacoma area, but not much of a scene, largely because they are relegated to the early shows at bar-based venues (notably Hell's Kitchen and Jazzbones) and Club Impact. I really hope that The Viaduct is a success, and that it both helps bands out by giving them a place to play, and shows other promoters/proprietors/whatever that there really is a market for something besides heavy metal and folk in Tacoma.

Unfortunately there are a few roadblocks up in the way of The Viaduct's success.

1) Location. Nobody is going to stumble across this place and come inside to see the show. Nobody is going to see it as they walk down the street and remember to look it up online (something I've done with more than one venue over the years). None of this will happen because nobody is going to walk past the place, period. It's buried up a gravel driveway on the fringes of industrial Tacoma. Foot traffic is... minimal up Center street to begin with, but the club isn't even on the corner (nor is there any sign to indicate its presence).

2) Exterior. Even if you do make it up the hill, the place is... uninviting. It looks like an old abandoned house, with boarded up windows and peeling paint.

3) Interior. Guess what? On the inside it looks like... an old abandoned house. Or even more so, like an unfinished basement. Its size is genuinely the only thing that makes it feel like a better venue than my band's basement practice space.

The fact is, all these weaknesses are cosmetic. With enough promotion and enough bands coming through I think this place really can be a success. Since no one will go there by accident, work extra hard to make sure people come there on purpose. Make sure every show gives every person—audience and band member alike—a reason to come back, and bring friends.

The fact is, the Colonies show was great. They had a solid group of bands and they all sounded good. I'm told that the band brought in a borrowed PA, it having been suggested to them that the Viaduct's system was not top-notch, so I'll reserve final judgement on sound quality. Regardless, they were able to put on a good show. Now they just need to keep getting good bands and promote the hell out of everything. That, and ventilate a little more. Or at least set up a stand selling bottled water or something.

6 comments:

chance said...

Whats the address on this place? This is the only thing I've found on the Viaduct.

izenmania said...

The Viaduct is at 2725 Alaska St., Tacoma, WA 98409. They've got a MySpace with upcoming shows and whatnot at http://www.myspace.com/viaductvenue

For some reason they haven't actually posted their address in text on their MySpace, but it shows up on most of the gig posters they display.

chance said...

Thanks a ton man!

Anonymous said...

This place is a joke. We Wasted an hour looking for the damnation show and when we did find it, it looked like there was no show period. The place looked like a crack house. No signs, No flyers, No updates on their myspace page about the cancellation of the show. Word of advice from someone who ran a succesful venue. This venue could be so much more with someone who gave a damn and put in the tiniest of effort.

Viaduct Venue said...

hey, update on viaduct, we just moved into a brand new building right on sound tacoma way. we had our first show friday. come check it out again on Jan 4th for Colonies again or December 15th for Tumbledown (Mike Of MxPx).

izenmania said...

I'm excited to see the new place. Everything I've seen makes it look like a significant improvement. I'll probably be there for the Colonies show.