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December 21, 2014

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Vinyl, Hard Rock Hotel’s new music venue, starts filling its calendar

Last week, the Hard Rock Hotel unveiled Vinyl, a 650-capacity music venue just up the hall from Pink Taco. Bookings so far include synth-pop outfit Julien-K (August 24, opening night), metal band Static-X (August 29), punk rock veteran Mike Watt + the Missingmen (November 3) and psychobilly favorite Reverend Horton Heat (December 28). We tracked down new Entertainment Booking Manager Max McAndrew to find out what else is in store for the new space.

You booked House of Blues here for six years, competing with the Hard Rock for acts. Is it weird to be on the other team now?

I’ve always had a lot of respect for what the Hard Rock has done. I would see shows over here on a constant basis, so it’s not strange at all, really.

Is there a number of shows you’re aiming to book each week?

We’re focusing on five-to-six nights a week of programming. Our 650 capacity is GA standing, and we’ll also be able to do cabaret-style setups, as well as row seating. So we can do a myriad of events, whether it’s a comedy show, a jazz thing, a burlesque thing. It opens up the door to a lot.

Will rock be the centerpiece?

The Hard Rock is known for producing amazing rock shows, so I’m sure the room is gonna have its fair share of rock, but I think it’ll be a blitz of styles. You’ve got amazing up-and-coming country artists, amazing jazz cats. Some bands that come through might be in the jam circuit or the pop circuit or electronica. We’re focused on variety.

Hard Rock venue Wasted Space, which closed in 2010, had kind of a split personality—a music room crossed with a velvet rope and bottle service. Is Vinyl a straight-up music venue?

Correct. The main focus was to create a live performance space. In order to bring national touring acts to town, you need to be able to produce the event to their standards, and we’re gonna do that on every show here.

Do you see opportunities for local bands at Vinyl?

Absolutely. That’s really important to us. There’s a lot of great acts in this market, and we want to be able to help foster that local scene by giving them opportunities, whether it’s an opening slot on a touring show or a two- or three-band local night.

At HOB, you got to see what drew in this market and what didn’t. How much do you think that’ll help you book Vinyl?

I learned a lot there, but because this room is so small and so intimate, we’ll be able to do a lot of things I couldn’t do at House of Blues. When you go from 1,800 capacity to 650, it opens the door to more opportunities to work with developing acts, bands that may only do 200-300 tickets. I’m just excited. We can’t wait to get those doors open.

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