Perhaps the owners of The Comet should take a hint from another Seattle music venue, The Rainbow, which will cease offering live music at the end of 2006 after more than 50 YEARS. Back a few years ago when I used to go to a lot of shows, the Rainbow was a solid venue–lots of jazz and jam bands, and occasional indie rock. Even if you hadn’t heard of all the acts playing, you could be assured that the musicianship would be solid.
The story I hear from an insider: a couple years ago, their booker quit. The owner decided he’d handle all booking himself. He knew nothing about music or the local Seattle scene, and therefore put together bills that made no sense and that featured bands who shouldn’t have been allowed out of their garage. (Sample booking strategy: send a mass e-mail to everybody on a Seattle music mailing list, see who responds first.) Surprisingly, real musicians who actually cared about making decent music stopped playing there. Even more surprisingly, people stopped going to shows there. Most surprisingly of all, the Rainbow started losing money, fast.
Now they’re going to turn it into some sort of dance club. That’s right: nobody goes to live shows anymore. Just look at Fremont on any Saturday night.