more on ypsi’s elbow room

A little over a year ago, I posted a rant here about the “new” Elbow Room. Actually, it wasn’t really about the “new” Elbow Room so much as it was about those folks who felt it necessary, when talking about how great the “new” Elbow Room was, to go the extra step and heap shit on the memory of the “old” Elbow Room, a place where I saw many a damned good show. Here’s a clip from that post:

The “Ann Arbor News” has a feature today on Ypsi’s infamous Elbow Room, which is now under new management. The article essentially says that it’s now safe for University of Michigan students to come out and have a beer there. As someone who’s done his fair share of drinking at the old Elbow Room, I found it a bit offensive…

I wish the new owners all the luck in the world and I hope the Elbow Room stays a vibrant venue for live music (there aren’t many places for live, non-corporate music these days), but I wish they would stop framing the story in terms of how bad the old place was. If anything, I think they should be drawing on the colorful history of the place, not poking fun of it.

When I wrote that, I had no idea that I’d be coming back to the subject over a year later. But, just now I read on my friend Leighton’s site that the shit’s still bubbling. The most recent flair-up comes courtesy of Stewart Beal, the Ypsi developer working to rehab Depot Town’s Thompson block. Beal, who recently announced that an even “newer” iteration of the Elbow Room would be a tenant in his development, had the following to say about the fellow who oversaw the transition from “old” Elbow Room to “new”.

“What attracted me to him is he took over management of the Elbow Room, which was a rundown business with a lot of clientele you wouldn’t want to hang out with, and turned it into a hip and happening place,” Beal said of Garris. “He’s really brought the music scene to life, and I’m excited about this venue in Depot Town.”

By way of background, I should mention that the Elbow Room is being forced to leave their home on Washington Street due to structural issues with their building… Hence the move to Depot Town.

I like the “new” Elbow Room, and I wish them all the luck in the world when they make the move to Depot Town (assuming they can wait the year that it will take for the Thompson block to be rehabbed). We desperately need a good venue for loud music in this town. I have my doubts that Depot Town, with its antique shops and quiet sensibilities, would be the best place to see that happen, but I wish them luck. If they still take chances on weird local acts, and pull bands like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Captured by Robots, I’ll be there. With all due respect to them, however, the “new” Elbow Room is no more “hip and happening” than the “old” Elbow Room was. [And can we please put a moratorium on the use of “hip” when talking about things in Ypsi?]

I don’t have anything to else to say. I just think it’s stupid and shortsighted to tear down what came before instead of building on it. And, again, I don’t blame Garris or anyone else at the “new” Elbow Room. I realize this was said by a real estate developer who was trying to put a positive spin on his own long-stalled project, but still… It’s bad form. And, if it continues, it’ll kill the “newest” Elbow Room before it’s doors even open.

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44 Comments

  1. Ol' E Cross
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    Leighton,

    Sorry I’m not posting this on your site (which I read first … band buzz) but I’m easily confused (i.e., “live journal” and what not, how do I post as OEC?). Still, I was about to try before I saw MM ripped you off.

    My thoughts. I was at the Elbow Room before and after the exchange. If I didn’t know it’d changed hands, I wouldn’t have known. As you said, many of the regulars have remained. I hope you take some small solace that it is still the jizziest bar around.

    I’m loosely associated with a band. The shows at the Elbow are the most free, fun, and reckless we’ve played, anywhere, including Corktown (a close second). I’m sure it’s changed much, but given how much establishments usually change when changing hands, and how much has changed everywhere, it’s still remained much the same. It’s the only place the band has dropped pants. I assume that is your lasting influence.

    On Depot Town. I understand the marketing implications of saying these things publicly, but I think you dramatize the antiqueness of this quiet neighborhood, given that the new “Barracks” nearest neighbors are a condemned building and a home, that in the hood, is universally recognized as a crack house. Depot Town is still closer to Detroit than Dexter.

    Ypsi is wonderfully incoherent, and recent additions to downtown Ypsi are, I’m sure you’d agree, no more compatible with elbow era rock than what’s in the Depot. (Yes, the Rocket is slightly more edgy than Gordon’s but they’re both, at heart, candy shops.)

    Both Depot Town and Downtown are filled with a mess of stuff (let’s be kind and not name names). I like the incoherence; it suits me. I prefer antiques to Ikea. I get my daughter cheap candy, I buy tools and t-shirts, and, most of all, I like stumbling home drunk. The fewer the steps, the better. Ypsi is my dreamland. Very selfishly, the proposed Barracks is closer to home.

    Still, like you and Mark, I think what Beal said was shit. But, I think Beal was just doing PR. They have to a) convince Sidetrack and Aubrees they won’t compete, and b) convince a portion of the neighborhood they won’t wake them up with vomit on porches. I think both are true, but still, they’ve got a lot to overcome to make this work.

    If everything soothsayered comes true, Depot Town will add Fantasy Attic (Hello Furries!), a music store, the largest mixed music venue in town, and a handful of residents who can sleep to late pumping heavy bass.

    It’s an absurd mix, but I am hopeful. We live in an absurd town.

    There’s nothing that would make me sleep better than animal costumed men and women pulsing heavily to the lingering echos of punk rock on plush deco sofas just down the block.

    I think it’s right to mourn whatever was lost with the old elbow, but lets not sabotage what can be salvaged.

  2. Hmmm
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I don’t manage bars, but it would seem to me that any new construction, like what’s planned for the big green building, would make the cost of running a bar too high. Wouldn’t the rent in a newly renovated building be much too high? It’s got to be at least double what they pay now, right? I don’t see how a bar like the Elbow Room would make it. Maybe a slightly upscale bar with lots of ferns. Maybe a martini bar.

  3. Thoreau
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I prefered the old Elbow and Tap Rooms.

    Haven’t been in either in quite some time.

    And why would Beal want to rent to a businees (a new building) and have it stink like beer and piss in a few years.

    Cross Street Station was for sale for thirty grand a while back. And the floors are already permeated with years of scum.

  4. little richard
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    is there really much reason to be confidenet that Beal’s plans fort he Thompson building are going to be realized? Hasn’t there been a sign on the building for a year saying that luxury apts. will be ready for occupancy by Sept 2008, while nary a bit of visible progress or work has been done in that year? and what developer really puts a bar with live music in a building that is gonna have residential units upstairs? gotta have doubts that, in this market, anything’s gonna happen for the poor ol’ Thompson building and its owners.

  5. Posted March 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Optimism is possible:
    I pray to Satan that an Elbow Room move to Depot Town will return DT to its historic roots: as the Red Light District of Greater Ypsilanti, servicing the prurient needs of transient railriders. With proposed regional rail lines and the popular resurgence of “smart” heavy metal music, prayer may not be necessary.

    Pessimism does creep though:
    Anyone with a rudimentary grasp of physics or a neighbor with a teenage driver knows that the thump of a sound system is difficult to contain or ignore. My main worry with the Depot Town location is about low-frequency noise complaints during live sound. Good sound systems have 90% of their power in subs, and no amount of soundproofing past double-building walls, floors, windows and ceilings can completely stop sub leaks. It can be done, but it is very, very expensive to do right. And I doubt Civil War building techniques were prepared for a set by Mastodon.

    To attract touring acts with their technical riders into a big club, you must have a powerful stage sound setup. Usually this means 10,000-100,000+ watts, just driving monitors and sub woofers. In a 200-person venue, the thrust of sound required by real bands will not travel feet from a club but blocks.

    This is why clubs in most cities are clustered into one or two districts that can absorb the noise without complaint.

  6. Posted March 25, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Live music will never survive in Despot Town. Maybe nobody remembers the record store being evicted over noise complaints?

    This means that the Blind Pig will be the last real venue in Washtenaw County.

    The down-zoning and quieting of Ypsilanti is sad.

  7. TK
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Maybe “Elbow Room” is code for “TGI Fridays”.

  8. TK
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, why would they think about Depot Town when there are properties downtown that would be closer to where they are now, better suited to their kind of business, and less expensive? What about the old Mr. Muggs space? Don’t the Maurers own it now? Has he talked with them?

  9. egpenet
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    The owner of the old Elbow Room building is the same guy who owned the Starkweather Homestead. He’s NOT as obstinent as David K. but he is typical of the present stock of building owners, with a few notable exceptions, who INSIST on neglecting their buildings, especially the roofs and rear fascades.

    When and IF the Elbow Room moves to Depot Town, I think it will be temporary … my opinion.

    Several apartments/lofts are already rented in the Thompson block, including a musician’s studio, I believe.These are in addition to the musical instruments/etc. anchor store on the ground floor. Wish Beal well and stop gnawing away on your paws, dog.

  10. egpenet
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    That aside … make up your minds … change downtown … or no change? Better+different or same old?

  11. Thoreau
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    The down-zoning and quieting of Ypsilanti is sad.

    O the contrary

  12. mark
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to side with the Cherry. The quieting of Ypsi is not a good thing. If I’d wanted to live in Northville, I’d have moved to Northville. No offense to those of you who like your peace and quiet. I enjoy mine as well. I just think that for a city to be vital, it needs a venue for loud live music. I’m not saying that I’d live above it, or even next to it, but I’d certainly live within walking distance of it.

  13. egpenet
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Whoa … checked with Planning … the Elbow thing is a rumor. No official move as yet.

  14. Andy
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Hello friends, this is Andy (current elbow room operator). The Elbow Room is not moving from it’s current space. The venue in Depot Town will be a brand new bar (if… we can get it approved) You can email me with any questions, concerns, etc. I am very excited about the possibilities right now… Therefore, I will be working extremely hard from here on out to make this a reality.

  15. Thoreau
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Its gonna be hard to beat Powells and the Brewery.

  16. egpenet
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Go, Andy, go!

  17. egpenet
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    BTW … the building owner got a slight “stay” to wait for better weather to repair the outer wall and stone work, and roof, which are the current issues. Interior work in the bar area is done and safe for public use.

    Restoring the “luster” of pee and puke is up to you guys … all you need is a little bit of time, and some motivational music, right?

  18. Thoreau
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Remember it is a business. You need to make money. There already is an overabundance in my opinion of drinking establishments within walking distance. I wonder about the long term vitality of the brewery.

  19. Rob
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    If one wants to catch a really good ofbar-ofactory-Ypsilanti experience before its gone, check out the Idle Hour’s velvet nudes. Complete with afros and 37 years of tobacco haze and fuzz.

  20. mark
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    In addition to my post, and the one by Leighton that I linked to, I just discovered that there’s something on this subject at the newly reborn Ypsidixit site. Her thread is interesting in that comments are being left by Andy from the Elbow Room. Here’s a clip:

    Hello friends… This is Andy From the Elbow Room. The speculation surrounding the Elbow Room moving is not entirely true. I am trying to open a brand new venue in the Thompson Block Building, and the Elbow Room will continue to operate where it has been for years… I am excited about the potential venue over in Depot Town, and would love to hear your comments/concerns.

    Now I’m all confused. If the Elbow Room is staying where it is, then where’s the liquor license coming from? And, what about the condition of the building that the Elbow Room is in now? I thought that everyone was in agreement that it couldn’t be saved, and that the bar had to either move or die. I’m not convinced that anyone knows what they’re doing.

  21. egpenet
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Too many clubs?

    Thoreau has never been to Fort Riley, Kansas, for instance, just West of Topeka, where the bars used to be back-to-back and belly-to-belly, as I remember.

    Leave your sailor’s hat home, if you visit, and instead wear a U.S. Army “Big Red 1” patch if you dare a walking tour. The bar tour used to be a mandatory part of basic.

    I think we could use more unique clubs in Ypsilanti. We need a couple of good jazz clubs. We need an alcohol-free club with games and entertainment for the under 21 crowd. A really good wine and tapas cafe would be fabulous. Other international delights would be nice, like a real Greek restaurant we can visit for our evening volta.

  22. Thoreau
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t choose to live here to belly up to bars. I guess I would choose Kansas if I wanted that.

    I wish there were a playground in the parks nearby. Not more bars.

    I can go to the adult Disneyland in AA for that.

    When I do choose to go have drink. Or watch a game. Its once a month at most. Its nice that others have the time and money to spend in different establishments constantly. But the one I go to the most has been around the longest. If I want another, which I do at times, there are eight other choices.

    So if you want to compete for my ten dollars and seventy five cents a month, feel frre to open another. Statistically, I will try it once, and go back to the same place I have been going to tenty years.

    Makes good ecomonic sense to me, especially in these financial times.

  23. John on Forest
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Two things bother me about a second/new version of the elbow room at the Thompson Block building: Noise and Parking.

    While the Sidetrack, Aubrees, and Sticks are all in Depot Town, they have two things going for them over a venue in the Thompson Block: The side of the tracks/street that they are on, and, not hosting live bands. The parking set up for Depot Town stongly favors patrons on the West side of the tracks: Evidence the underutilization of the Maple Street Lot.

    I only live four blocks from the Thompson Block. I easily hear throbbing musical tones that come from the Elvis Festival, Heritage Festival, and other parties in Riverside Park/Frog Island. While some insulation factor will result from an indoor venue, I still worry about the noise reaching me. Even if it doesn’t reach four blocks to me, will it reach two blocks to my neighbors nearer to it? Additionally, there is definitely a difference between a couple of weekends per summer and every weekend of the year.

    Parking: While it might be possible for the Maple Street Lot to contain the volume of cars, what if it doesn’t? And, even if it does, what about those patrons who simply find it easier to park up the hill on Cross or Maple Streets. None of the residents on those streets will be happy with the situation.

    I don’t think these concerns are show stoppers; but, they could be if Beal and the Elbow Room management don’t pay attention to them up front and on a continuing basis.

    I hope there isn’t a liquor licence available.

    On the other hand, I understand that Beal needs signed tenants to get the financing he needs to continue the project. I sincerely hope he gets appropriate tentants signed up.

  24. Ol' E Cross
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    The A2 News story did say the deal was contingent on Andy getting a liquor license. I had a short, shouting, intoxicated conversation with him on the new venue recently and got the impression it wasn’t a move for the Elbow, but a new venture for him.

    If the Elbow Room collapses around him and he doesn’t get a new liquor license, I suspect he’ll have some choices to make.

    Who knows if the Barracks will work, but we’ve got someone willing to invest a ton on a new venue in a building that’s been functionally irrelevant for years. And, it’s a lease that will finally give Beal the financing to commence repair.

    If it succeeds it’ll brings hundreds to town. If it fails, well, at least the next tenant will have a better conditioned space to move into.

  25. Ol' E Cross
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Jof,

    I’ve had similar experiences with the outdoor music, but, other than one angry night with a fussy newborn, it’s generally been pleasant to fall asleep knowing I live, for that night, in an active town.

    I’m no expert on sound and have to trust Leighton a bit, but my experience walking thru downtowns on weekend eves is that I have a sense music is being played in joints, but am not overwhelmed by sound until I open a door. How to protect lofters and neighbors is a matter that Beal and Andy will, rightly, have to deal with. A good test would be standing outside the Elbow on a Saturday night and seeing how much it travels. There’s lots of lofts in A2 and lots of live music.

    I hear you on the up-street parking as the most awakening sounds on my block are drunks walking and talking home. Worst case scenario, we have to add some annoying parking restrictions. But, think of every neighborhood around downtown A2 (or any active downtown). Despite dealing with parking concerns, those neighborhoods are highly desirable. I rather enjoy the few festivals a year that cause cars to line up past my home. Lots of folks around the country enjoy living with the parking issues created by activity. I think you, and others, are raising legit concerns, but I also think wondering where to put all the visitor’s cars should be a bit of music to our ears…

  26. Posted March 26, 2008 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I’ve always thought that depot town needed another bar, something a bit different. Really, there’s only Aubrees/Sticks for a busy/noisy type bar – the CB is totally different. This is a good thing, for sure! I’m very excited about the rehab of that building — it will attract a lot of people down there – remember – that is what we need! I think people are sometimes hung up on downtown, and ignore depot town. Depot town is the strength of Ypsi, if you ask me.

  27. amused1
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I hope depot town isn’t the strength of ypsi given the recent business closures. To my way of thinking, depot town has limited growth potential. The down town area, imo, is underutilized and allows for more types of businesses with less disruption to neighborhoods.

    My recent, say last 2 years, service experiences in establishments in depot town (aubree’s especially) have been poor to appallingly bad. I go back every couple of months to see if things have improved and find they haven’t. Much as I enjoy meeting up with friends at sidetracks I won’t go there in the summer. It’s just too darned hot in there for me to enjoy myself. Love corner brewery, though I’d like to see a bit more of a menu. Since down town and depot town are fairly equidistant from my home, I’ll continue to go down town.

  28. Damon
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Just for perspective…
    the current sound system @ the Elbow room is 400W/channel (L/R) and 400W to the Subs. A FAR cry from the system Leighton mentioned.
    I dont see the new system getting that much louder as I like to hear a conversation away from the stage at the bar.
    Im also not a big fan of loud subs. Most shows I go to are COMPLETLY ruined by the 90% sub rule.
    as far as Im concerned Subs are a subtle effect that are used sparingly merely for low end/sub harmonic reinforcement, not dominance.
    Im the one designing the sound system and running it at the new bar so i assure you these concerns are unfounded.
    Its a 200 capacity venue (less than half of the blind pig), any more power would be deafening.
    I think people really need to look at this for what it is. The lot across the street from the elbow currently is smaller than the one in Depot town, it is never full.
    the elbow room has poor sound insulation at best and we don’t get complaints, there is residential just as close as the current space.
    I think we need this conversation a little more grounded as I think the speculation is getting a bit out of hand.
    My biggest concern is still being able to get dinner as the potential influx will make sidetracks that much more impossible to get a seat in…:)

  29. Judas
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I just heard a rumor that Andrew’s on Cross Street has closed. If it’s true, that might be where his liquor license is coming from.

  30. Posted March 26, 2008 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    From the perspective of someone who has toured the country in bands, run sound at multiple clubs, managed venues in other states, and recorded in $1 million studios:

    Check any dedicated music venue’s main PA specs and you will find them to be exponentially higher than 400w x2.
    Now, if you want conversational, quiet music in a venue exclusively, yes, that will be plenty. But systems must be over engineered to support all types of music, especially if a venue hopes to meet the riders of serious touring bands of all stripes. Because tastes change. (If you want to book hip hop acts or hard rock bands with amps louder than the bass drum, you need serious subs or the sound man will be attacked by ungrateful fans.)

    Any underinvestment shows a lack of preparation for the realities of dedicated live music club. But, if the business is not to be primarily a big music venue, just a good drinking bar with a certain, low-key type of music,… then there are no worries.

  31. Damon
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    uhm… this is still the PA that you put together…
    and its still loud enough…
    I cant imagine 10000w in that small of a space. Thats just absurd.

  32. Damon
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    http://www.crownaudio.com/amp_htm/amp_info/how_much_power.htm

    # Pop or jazz music in a medium-size auditorium. club or house of worship with 150 to 250 seats: 250 to 750 W
    # Pop or jazz music in a 2000-seat concert hall: 400 to 1,200 W
    # Rock music in a medium-size auditorium, club or house of worship with 150 to 250 seats: At least 1,500 W
    # Rock music at a small outdoor festival (50 feet from speaker to audience): At least 1,000 to 3,000 W
    # Rock or heavy metal music in a stadium, arena or ampitheater (100 to 300 feet from speaker to audience): At least 4,000 to 15,000 W

    so, although we have 400W per channel we have a total of 1200W counting cumulative LR+Subs…

    Im not trying to be argumentative here but I think you are misrepresenting what we are trying to do.

  33. Posted March 26, 2008 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I had to turn down a Gogol Bordello show because I was honest about the ER’s system weakness…especially in the monitor / sub setup.

    The system I put together is no longer there, unless new subs were bought since I’ve been in last. All the subs were blown- fill in sound guys blew them up. I re-coned them 2x at great cost. But I refused to do it a 3rd time, until I came back to babysit the system. I hobbled them to save the weak amps.

    “# Rock music in a medium-size auditorium, club or house of worship with 150 to 250 seats: At least 1,500 W”

    I rest my case. A mid-level amp maker’s website is going to lowball power numbers to get people started on their non-church system only to realize later that they will need to buy more power. And once you’ve committed to a brand, you’ll most likely go with the same kind of blocks you were conned into starting with.

    Small’s in Detroit (Hamtown) has won national awards for live sound. Their music room is considerably smaller than a 200-person bar, but its power amp rack is taller than me. The types of amps they employ don’t come in low wattages. I’d ask Speck what the final wattage tally is, but he’s on tour with the Foo Fighters. I do know that the music room was designed from the ground up to keep sound from leaking into the neighborhood. Therefore, there are no windows.

  34. Bob Higgins
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I was born in 1921. My Mother died of tuberculosis when I was twelve and my father died two years later in a mill fire. An only child with no extended family that I knew of, I was on my own. I hitchhiked down to Atlanta and got a job in a garage fixing universal joints–they were made of leather back then and wore out quickly. I slept in a room behind the garage. The other mechanics, all black, would take me home with them for dinner after which there was always singing and dancing. I loved to dance.

    One day one of our customers, a fat middle aged man, called me over and asked if I could dance. He was looking for someone to dance with his wife when they went out. She loved to dance and he didn’t. His driver would arrive every Friday afternoon to take me out to their estate at the edge of town. I would spend the weekend out there and was driven back to the garage on Monday mornings.

    I was treated like an honored guest at the estate and would go out and drink and dance with the man’s much younger wife. It wasn’t long before she and I were lovers. If the man knew, he didn’t seem to care. That lasted about two years and I decided that this decadent lifestyle wasn’t getting me anywhere. One day on my lunch break from the garage I bought a bus ticket to Detroit and left that afternoon. I ended up in Ypsilanti working at the university where I met my wife who was a student at the time. When she graduated and started teaching, I enrolled and earned a bachelors degree in psychology. One of my professors encouraged me to apply to graduate school in Vienna, which I did. I earned a PhD in psychology in 1948 and returned to Ypsilanti that same year.

    It was about that time that the railroad traffic started to decline, highways were built, and people started leaving for suburbia. toilet paper firefight Depot town began it’s decline. I’m happy to see new interest in the area. All this talk about speaker wattage is garbage. It’s sound pressure level that matters.

  35. Posted March 26, 2008 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    It is a possible good omen that the Thompson Building (Block?) once held the infamous Fantasee Lighting. They say Fantasee invented the first Robolight / Globos in that building, used 1st in Grand Funk tours in the 70’s. Depot Town’s seedy history could come full circle. This is why I hope a “full on” music venue does well in that space, if anything as a nod to the past while pushing forward.

    http://www.fantaseelighting.com/history.htm

    Indeed, but sound pressure levels are dependent on the efficiency of the speakers and the amplifiers driving them. A 5 watt, hand-made Japanese power amp can be louder than a cheap 400w, solid state Crown. But wattage is the best gauge that can be used to guess pressure until the system is setup in an untested room. I had an audiologist touring with a band access the ER’s room for giggles. At the time she recommended more power in the subs / monitors and less in the mains. The best soundmen tend to be women.

  36. Posted March 26, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Bob Higgins, that was a great story. I’d buy you a beer anytime.

  37. Posted March 26, 2008 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    If the Elbow Room is staying where it is, then where’s the liquor license coming from?

    Michigan Public Act 501 of 2006 created a new category of “development district” liquor licenses that DDAs and a few other entities can hand out. They can only be given to businesses in the district, and cannot be transferred/sold (they go back to the State if the holder goes out of business). I believe this is the type of license the Barracks is applying for. See this pdf from the LCC.

    And, what about the condition of the building that the Elbow Room is in now? I thought that everyone was in agreement that it couldn’t be saved, and that the bar had to either move or die.

    I think the building needs work, but I haven’t heard anyone say it can’t be saved. The bar has to move, die – or get the building owner to fix the building. At noon today, contractors were putting up scaffolding at the front of the building; I think they’ve chosen “fix it”.

    I’m just curious – if Damon and Andy are going to be in Depot Town, but the Elbow’s still going to operate where it is, who’s going to be running the Elbow? I wasn’t around in Leighton’s day, so I can’t comment on “the old Elbow Room, but I’ve gotten pretty fond of the hipster folk-rock line-ups at the new Elbow Room.

  38. egpenet
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Campbell and his contractor are going to do wall, stone and roof work to stablize the place. They are also approved to remove some deteriorating addition at the rear. From the HDC’s POV, the work as proposed is a go now that the weather has broken.

    They even agreeed to restore the cool cocktail glass door. Is that done yet? Don’t know. Haven’t checked.

  39. Posted March 27, 2008 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    If women are the best soundmen, then are men the best soundwomen?

  40. Posted March 28, 2008 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    So I’ve spent the evening reading everything on this (combining three websites worth of information) and I’m still confused. According to Tassie on Mr Mann’s site the ER is moving in the fall to Depot Town and taking everything with it and even mentions that someone should buy the old one. The way Andy talks, he’s going to run both. Which is it? I’ve not driven by recently, so am I to assume the current building is in some state of construction? Somebody mentioned that above, but my head is spinning and it’s not the two beers I’ve had.

    For my part, I have a ton of fond memories of the ER, but all things come to an end. I miss The Green Room almost as much. And don’t get me started on the Heidelberg in the early 90’s. I’ll get all weepy on you. Something new will come. It always does. Will it be this new Barrracks? Who knows. What I do know is that building they are planning on moving into is right next door to a rental house. Good luck with that.

    BTW Beal is never going to get that building up to code in time for the fall.

  41. Posted March 28, 2008 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, and that cat fight between Leighton and Damon was spectacular. Thank you guys. It brightened up an otherwise dull evening.

  42. mark
    Posted March 29, 2008 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    As I understand it, Edweird, the original plan was for Andy to move the Elbow Room and its liquor license to Depot Town. That, however, can’t happen because the Elbow Room’s license is tied to the physical building. So, the new plan is for Andy just to leave the Elbow where it is, wash his hands of it, and start something new in Depot Town. Apparently the state does give out some special circumstance licenses for development projects such as the Thompson block. They’re hoping to get one. (If that doesn’t work out, maybe they could go after the liquor license that was being used at Andrews, which closed a few days ago.) So, it looks like the Elbow Room will be up for sale again.

  43. Depottowner
    Posted March 29, 2008 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Andy and Beal came before the DDA Board this week to request a DDA liquor license for the barracks building.

  44. Posted March 29, 2008 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Cool, thanks. I read and reread so much on it last night that I wasn’t sure about that. It all makes sense now, and I can understand Andy wanting to wash his hands of that location. I can’t go in there anymore. The older I get the more it sets my allergies off and it sounds like it’s not the most stable building. I would likely hang there more often it it was a) closer to home (Depot Town) and b) less caked with years of cigarette tar and alcohol. I still think they have an uphill battle getting it to work right in that location, but I wish Andy the best of luck.

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