Concert Pub North Gives 1960 Area All the Rock It Can Handle
"It's an exciting time for us," says Concert Pub North (CPN) talent buyer John Escamilla. "A year ago, we were a tribute [act] and local venue. Today we are being looked at like a live-music venue for touring acts."
Tyler Sanders Dick Dale at the Concert Pub North
Escamilla and I were waiting for Cinderella front man Tom Keifer to take the stage for his first-ever solo performance in Houston last Friday night. I had suggested that Concert Pub North was booking acts and packages on par with her Warehouse Live -- after all, Warehouse hosted the Geoff Tate solo show a few months back, and by all accounts did pretty well with it.
But when the estranged Queensryche front man brought his touring outfit around for the Operation Mindcrime gig last month, performing the Seattle prog-metal band's classic 1988 album front to back, CPN was the winning bidder. And when the regrouped former members of Queensryche bring their new lead singer around June 8, CPN will host them as well.
Tate's show did about 1,000 admissions, filling the venue's new outdoor-stage area and christening its summer concert series with a rousing success. But CPN owner Jay Dee takes mild exception to the comparison.
"Warehouse is a nice space," he says. "They do great shows there. But at this point we're more comparable to the House of Blues. We have two kitchens; two different restaurant concepts, actually. We've got 25,000 square feet of indoor space and more than that outdoors."
Photo courtesy of John Escamilla Fans at Concert Pub North's outdoor stage
And he's right. For my money, with CPN booking shows like Jackyl (May 23), Bret Michaels' solo show, and Yngwie Malmsteen (this Friday), the only difference between CPN and House of Blues is that at CPN you never pay for parking, or eye-popping food and drink prices. My party drank $2 bottles of water and $2.50 Coca-Colas (with free refills), while those around me were eating oysters, steaks, pizza, burgers, and sandwiches.
"We have unlimited free parking," confirms Jay Dee. "And the most I've ever charged for a beer was when we did a big-beer night and charged $6.50 for these giant beers."