Mar 21, 2007

A Majestic Vision

Caroline McCarthy - Promise (2003)

Matt Gerding and Scott Leslie, the fresh owners of Madison's Majestic Theater, will soon begin constuction on their towering vision for Madison music. They're committed to making the historical property at 115 King Street a catalyst in the growing Madison music scene. And they'll start by adding a unisex bathroom.

Symbolically removing the DJ booth and Club from the theater's title, the project is sending a strong message to the community about a changed format (and reputation). The concept is to restore the space as a downtown music landmark and a needed mid-sized (600-capacity) live entertainment venue. After polishing the potential under the current shroud of confusing Disney decor, stifled crowd patterns, and concerned whispers; the Majestic will be able stage national acts with local openers in up to four shows per week starting in September 2007.

Beyond construction, the pair is just as interested in how the renovated space will interact with Madison. They bring music industry connections to town (Gerding from a huge booking agency and Leslie from a pop rock band) and a commitment to partner with existing venues and promoters to make Madison what Leslie calls "the Austin of the North". To indie-rockers, this dry Texan air is absolute heaven for music-making (though not for bread-making) and importing some to Madison seems to be on a lot of people's minds.

But is liberal Madison forcing new concepts to strategically ignore hiphop and dance music (remember the tragically Footloosesque cabaret licence)? Leslie and Gerding's refreshing optimism seems able to deal with this challenge. Leslie assures that they understand the neighborhood concerns that are "not just a problem in Madison" while maintaining "Can I guarantee we aren’t going to book Jurassic 5? No".

With the new Majestic management, Madison gains not only a new venue, but a partner in tackling these overarching local music issues. Leslie sums up the vision by proclaiming "Anything we can do that's artistic -- we want to do it". And with that attitude, I say Welcome to Madison!

My Morning Jacket - Anytime (mp3): Anytime is a good time to move on.


At Thursday, March 22, 2007, Blogger The Poo Harmony said...

"off the record" is a hot song. this one is really good too. I love the lead singers voice. Sweetness.


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