Thursday, June 2, 2011

All Good(?) Things



From a Detroit News article/blog:

Darren Grow, owner and managing partner of the Belmont Bar in Hamtramck, announced today that the bar will be closing on Monday, June 13.

In a statement released today Grow said he has "maintained this labor of love for almost nine years, and it is, unfortunately, time to move on."

When asked what will happen with the bar after June 13, Grow said that it will probably remain the Belmont but the format will change drastically and will not include live music.

A goodbye and "Grand Closing" party is planned for Saturday, June 11. Local rock bands Almost Free, Bison Machine, the Handgrenades and River Spirit were scheduled to play, but today Grow said the entertainment would be provided by various DJs. Grow also said drink specials will be abundant to deplete what is left of the inventory. The last days the Belmont will be open for business are tonight-Sunday and June 9-12.

Another source cites the reason as being "restructuring due to financial reasons". The euphemism "moving on" has been used so many times, we now just assume it to mean failure.

Since the combined capacity of venues creates a supply that outstrips demand (under the current scene's management style anyway), seeing a another venue close or cut out live music altogether isn't too surprising. When 313 Jac, or whatever the fuck they called that thing happening on the second floor of Jacoby's closed, most of us just considered it a necessary sacrifice that would give some of the other small venues a better chance at surviving. The Belmont however, wasn't some fringe player putting on a few token shows a month like Corktown Tavern, The Loving Touch, or Paycheck's Lounge, and cluttering up event listings. The Belmont had shows going on several nights a week, so this closing will have a more noticeable effect.

No one seems to be discussing whether The Belmont's unwritten policy of having a long list of people who never pay to get in played any role in this recent action. It certainly played a role in bands not getting paid under the 30 attendee minimum for payment policy. How often would a band look out over the crowd, and think they must have easily cleared the minimum, only to be told later that they didn't? I swear on all that is holy on the internet, I heard people say about The Belmont that they didn't want to be the only one paying to get in, more than any other place around. This kind of business model is bound to create animosity amongst bands and show goers.

Don't take any of this to mean that I'm taking part in schadenfreude. I would have preferred that The Belmont would have looked at some other business's failure, shit their pants in fear, and changed course in order to survive. When faced between the choice of keeping live music and not feeding the ego of the douchetards, or cutting out live music altogether, they chose the latter.

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