Shake-up at Vino's | Rock Candy

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shake-up at Vino's

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 2:27 PM

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It's a new era at Vino's. Earlier this week, Joey Lucas took over as talent buyer for the pizzeria and brewpub from Samantha Allen, who'd handled booking for the club for the last two and a half years. Both Lucas and Allen say the change reflects Vino's desire to attract an older crowd (Owner Henry Lee wasn't immediately available for comment).

Lucas, 33, has booked shows since he was 16. The Little Rock native owned, for four years, an all ages club in Fort Smith called Heshers. More recently, he opened a record store, Circa 76, in Little Rock.

He says he's hoping to bring back Vino's "old vibe."

"I want to get the people in who loving going to shows, but haven't been at Vino's. Not so much the 15-20 crowd. More of a college crowd."

Allen, who calls her departure from the club a "mutual separation," wishes Lucas and the club well as they court what she terms a "White Water crowd," but warns that the road ahead is difficult.

"You can't smoke [in Vino's]. [They] don't have liquor. A lot of the bands that play at White Water might play Vino's with a show booked at White Water three days latter, for less money and where their friends can smoke inside and drink liquor. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle."

Lucas maintains that he can make Vino's more eclectic. He said he's talking to booking agents about everything from soul to jazz to hip-hop. The first show he's booked that he's particularly anticipating is River City Tanlines and Andy War and His Big Damn Mouth on Aug. 15 (coincidentally a bill that recently came to White Water), and he says there's no reason the club can't get Ted Leo to return to Vino's. Or Man Man to play. Or Built to Spill.  

Meanwhile, Allen is reviving her Drastic Measures Productions company and expanding the umbrella. She's planning to book independently, manage and consult bands, make buttons (she has a button company called Rad Buttons), take pictures — just about anything related to local music. She's also working as a talent scout for Erin Hurley, who books Juanita's, and says she's meeting with Blake Sandifer who owns the Village soon, too.

Lucas recently shuttered his Circa 76 location off W. 3rd, but says he'll reopen in late summer in a much-improved space in the lower floor of the Peacock, the pink, stucco apartment building in Capitol View on W. 3rd, just east of the School for the Deaf. 

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