Wednesday, December 30

Reno Knitting Factory Tour

Last night I had the pleasure of touring of the new Knitting Factory Concert House in Reno and I have to say ... wow! It is legit. This is really happening.
This venue is kick ass! I'm not sure what I was expecting but what I saw was far more than expected. This venue doesn't double as a skate park, or a warehouse, or a coffee shop, or a record store - it's all about live music. It looks so professional in comparison to all the other Reno venues I have been in over the past 17 years.

Have you driven by lately? The last time I did was about two weeks before Christmas and it still looked pretty much like that Rocky's place that used to be there. If you drive by now it is completely transformed. There are new doors, a converted marquee and new signage is going in. My favorite part of the new facade is the trademark Knitting Factory logo (as seen above) out front, there are two that are done in black, grey and white mini mosaic tiles. The location of the venue is 211 N. Virginia Street, go drive by and take a gander.

The general Manager Dean was very nice and accommodating in giving a tour to this small time blogger and her lady friend. He started by showing us the downstairs, because that's where the offices are. The "green room" area or talent room is really swank. They have a pool table, a food area, 4 dressing rooms, a tile shower and bathroom. It is very nice compared to the (albeit few) venue talent rooms I have been in. There is also a huge walk in vault down there from one of the previous casino occupants, Dean said they are thinking of turning it into something cool like a bar for the bands.

The venue space still looks very much in progress, but I have no doubt that it'll be all shined up and polished by opening night. The team there at the Knitting Factory is working hard on the lights, the sound, painting, setting up the bars, getting flat screen TVs hung and a big projection screen near the rear of the club set up so everyone has a view of the stage.

The stage is about chest level, it sits pretty much right up against the front of the building, in fact Dean was saying that the main entrance unless you are in a band or have VIP pass is in the back of the building in the alley. Good to know.

They were testing some sound in there last night and there was nice clarity in the room.
I would compare the layout and size to the Great American in SF. Actually, it's probably a bit bigger than the Great American but not as big as the Fillmore -- same layout but right between the two in size.

Not sure what else to say other than ... hallelujah Reno! This has been a long time coming. Music heads, you are going to love it. I predict many a good times will be had in this venue by myself and many many others!

A big thank you to Dean for the tour and the comp tickets!

It's going to be a good year for live music Reno! (I have to admit - I never imagined myself typing that on this blog). Hells to the yeah!
The venue site can be seen here:
I've already got three sets of tickets on the fridge for upcoming shows. Woot!

Thursday, December 17

My Top 20 Albums of 2009

In no particular order:

A few that didn't make the cut, but deserve a mention:

Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
AC Newman - Get Guilty
Cursive - Mama, I'm Swollen
Or, The Whale
Bon Iver - Blood Bank
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away
Son Volt - American Central Dust
Julian Plenti is Skyscraper
Bat For Lashes - Daniel
Mosters of Folk
Tori Amos - Abnormally Attracted to Sin
Tom Waits - Glitter and Doom Live
Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications
Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
Morrissey - Years of Refusal
Silversun Pickups - Swoon
Dark Was the Night

Thursday, November 12

Excellent News - Confirmed!

Knitting Factory
A new Knitting Factory to open
Reno, NV

Mark Dinerstein, talent buyer for Knitting Factory concert, gives an informal update on the new venue that they are to open in Reno, Nevada.

“For those of you whom I have not yet had the opportunity to speak with, we are in fact opening Knitting Factory Concert House in the Reno market. The club will be located in the center of downtown Reno on Virginia Street (across the street from Harrah’s Casino). 211 North Virginia Avenue.

The opening will be in the first part of December, and the folks at Knitting Factory concerts are already planning their first shows. “We are very excited for the new venture and I will keep you up to date as we move toward our grand opening. We are in demolition and construction phase as I type.”

For now, here are some basic details:

Ages: All ages unless otherwise noted

Capacity: Still yet to be finalized, but between 1000 and 1265. Split level venue with 75% capacity on floor / 25% capacity on balcony. We are still deciding on skybox seating (as we have in our Boise venue). We will have a standing GA and seated cabaret / theater setup for those shows that need a flexible capacity.

Production: Will be in the style of our Boise and Spokane Knitting Factory venues with all new digital monitor / foh consoles, new PA & subs, state of the art lighting, and a stage large enough to accommodate the production from a 3 truck tour all the way down to your developing up and comers.

Reno, the biggest little city in the world, has long been avoided by non-casino entertainers. The club and theater scene has largely been dead in Reno because of a perceived lack of fan base and appropriate facilities, but with this one announcement, Knitting Factory concerts changes the whole landscape of entertainment in Reno. Unlike it’s southern gambling cousin, Las Vegas, Reno is seen more as an affordable stop for folks who like adult entertainment (no, not that adult entertainment) but don’t necessarily need the over the top feeling of Vegas.

Wednesday, September 30

Support Vinyl Collective & Suburban Home

Help Invest in Vinyl Collective/Suburban Home’s Future

Truth be told, 2009 has been a tough year for our small, independent business. I guess every business in America can say the same thing. Instead of scaling things back and burying our heads in the dirt, we have figured out ways to take our business to the next level and make moves that will not only ensure we are around for another 14 years but position ourselves in a manner to help every small band and label help find their releases homes around the world.
This isn’t the first time we have found ourselves in a tough situation and as such, we have constantly evolved what we do at Suburban Home/Vinyl Collective to make things work. How else have we found a way to have been around for 14 years? We are developing a number of new projects that will ensure Vinyl Collective and Suburban Home a long future, but we could use your help in the short term.

For a quick word on these projects, we are currently working on:

Our equivalent to CD Baby where we help every small band and label out with International distribution. We will soon be in a position to help artists who have a demand for their releases find distribution all over the world (U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan). We are working out the kinks and getting all of our ducks in a row, but this could be one of the biggest deals in independent music (no exaggeration).

Digital Retail Store in the Vinyl Collective store. Our buddy Robb from Limbeck has developed tools that will allow us to sell digital albums in our online store. We plan to launch the store this week and will be offering Flac as well as MP3 Albums at a much lower price than Itunes/Amazon. Expect a huge announcement this week.

The Mary Kay / Pampered Chef Pyramid Scheme at Vinyl Collective – I jokingly call it a pyramid scheme as this idea was inspired by Mary Kay and Pampered Chef where people help sell Vinyl Collective/Suburban Home titles in their community to make extra money. It won’t be a scheme though. Do you remember when distros would set up at shows? We want to see this again and will soon be calling upon people all over the world to help us sell our records as well as non-exclusive releases. Can you imagine having 50 to 100 Vinyl Collective representatives selling our records and those of the small labels we buy from? It could revolutionize and uplift our small scene. Sam from Goodcore and I are bouncing ideas off each other to make this work.

Used Vinyl Sales in the VC store – this project was put on the back burner for a little while, but we will soon be launching this. The integration of Google Docs into the VC site will help make this run very smoothly.

We need your help. We have come up with a number of ways you can help. Understand that we would love to figure out an easy way to offer stock in Vinyl Collective/Suburban Home so that our friends through music could also be part owners in VC/SH making Vinyl Collective a true Collective. Because of all the red tape involved with the SEC, we are not ready to make that plunge just yet (but maybe sometime in the future).

We did, however, come up with a bunch of ways to help us out while helping yourself out:

Vinyl Collective For Life - for $1,000, you will receive every piece of vinyl that we release for as long as we exist. The 10 people who take advantage of this will receive the rarest variant of every 7″, 10″, LP, double LP, and/or boxset we release from here on out. These 10 people will also automatically receive one year’s membership to the VCCC (more on this later) and be enrolled in Suburban Home for Life (more on this later).

Suburban Home For Life – for $100, you will receive every digital release we put out for as long as we are a record label. We tend to release 10 to 12 albums a year so if you think about it, this could pay for itself in one year considering albums cost $10 on Itunes.

Under the Influence subscriptions – I said in the past that I really didn’t want to offer subscriptions of the Under the Influence series as it is a pain in the ass to keep up with, but the more we thought about it, we figured out an organized way to implement this. We will offer 100 subscriptions of the rarest color of volumes 15 through 24 (picked these volumes since we sold subscriptions of 5 through 14 previously).

Vinyl Collective Club Card (the VCCC) – Kind of like how a Costco or Sam’s Club membership works, you become a member of the club which entitles you to special pricing and offers. For $75 per year, you will become a member which entitles you to a VCCC Card, a unique coupon code entitling you to 10 percent off of every order for one year, and special offers for only VCCC members. If you don’t spend over $750 in a calendar year (amount to make the $75 VCCC pay for itself), we will give you a gift certificate for the difference so this will pay for itself no matter what.

I Celebrate Their Entire Catalog Sale (CDs/T-shirt) – We have offered this deal for quite a while but for those of you who prefer their music on CD, you get every in stock CD that Suburban Home has released, an I Celebrate Their Entire Catalog T-shirt, and our next 10 CD releases mailed to you over the course of the next year.

1 of every record we currently carry (a Raffle) – Enter to win 1 copy of every single 7″, 10″, LP, and double LP we carry at Vinyl Collective. This is between 3,000 and 4,000 records valued at between $40,000 to $60,000 depending on the number of records we have in inventory at the time, we select a winner. Instantly have one of the biggest record collections around. We will set up a Kickstarter project as we will need to reach a certain threshold in order to make this work. $3 is the cost of a raffle ticket.

We are hoping to raise over $100,000 to cover some debt, to help us launch these new projects, and to hire a full time music buyer for Vinyl Collective. There comes a time when most small businesses need help to get to that next level. That is where we are right now, but I assure you that this will not only help us, but it will help everyone around us as it is our goal to help the independent music community any way we possibly can.

I feel as though I was put on this Earth as an Independent Music Evangelist. It is hard-wired into my DNA and I cannot imagine doing anything else. I would appreciate your support in helping our little company raise these funds. Please pass this onto others, please post this on your blog or on your Facebook/Myspace pages.

Thanks for your consideration and support of what we do.

Your friend through music,
Virgil Dickerson

Sunday, September 13

Or, The Whale

I have finally figured out why I love this band so much - they channel Fleetwood Mac! Early Fleetwood Mac, maybe even as early as the Buckingham/Nicks album before those two even joined the Mac.

I can really hear the FWM influence on Or, The Whale's newest self titled release that Tara from Seany Records was kind enough to send me. Thanks Tara!

Perhaps it is the fact that the bass is much more out from than it was on their first album Light Poles and Pines. Maybe it is the fact that this new cd takes a more mellow approach to the tunes than their previous album did. Maybe it is the lovely vocal interplay between Alex, Lindsay, Matt, and Julie Ann. Whatever it is that makes this band feel as classic as the first (also self titled) Fleetwood Mac record and as fresh as anything else I have heard released in 2009, I can dig it ~ and you should too!

I highly recommend you order a copy of this cd from the band at their website:

The new album is streaming there, so you can listen before you buy.