By ERIC SCHELKOPF
In its first year of operation, The Throne Room has gone a long way in injecting new energy into the Chicago music scene.
To celebrate its one-year anniversary, The Throne Room will host a weekend of shows on May 29 and May 30. The Blisters, The Evening Attraction and The Forest Fires will perform on May 29, and Great I Am, Rock Nation Band & Nelly Boy Entertainment, Animal Honestly and Ron Haynes Game Changers will perform May 30.
Tickets are available by going to The Throne Room's website, www.thethroneroomchicago.com. I had the chance to talk to The Throne Room talent buyer Cassie Moran about the venue's one-year anniversary.
Q - Congratulations on your one-year anniversary. How did you go about picking the bands to play during the anniversary weekend?
Thanks so much! It's actually hard to believe that one year has already passed!
We really wanted to showcase two strong nights of music, but in different genres - since we're not genre-specific in the music that we book at The Throne Room.
So that's where I started. I had also been working with The Evening Attraction to get them on a bill for a while, but the timing hadn't worked out up until now. Then The Blisters joined, then Forest Fires - and it was a solid bill for 5/29. For 5/30, we started out with The Great I Am and Rock Nation - who have a great existing relationship.
We've had Animal Honestly play prior, and added them as the opener as I knew they would bring great energy to kick off the show. Ron Haynes Game Changers had reached out to me about some booking, and they happened to be the perfect fit to wrap up the night.
Q - How do you think The Throne Room has added to the Chicago music scene? How do you go about deciding what bands to book at The Throne Room?
There are a lot of changes happening in the Chicago music scene lately - there have been more collaboration than I've seen in previous years (between both bands/artists and also people on the business side - managers, promoters, booking agents, etc).
We try our best to encourage that collaboration...that community, but to also facilitate musicians connecting with the Chicago community by offering reasonable ticket prices and as much marketing support for the bands as we can. Booking happens in a number of different ways - sometimes bands reach out to me; sometimes I reach out to them!
Generally speaking though, I tend to lock down the type of music and build the bill from there.
Q - It seems like you try to book a lot of bands from the Chicago area. Do you see yourselves as a venue to showcase local music?
We definitely focus a lot on local bands and showcase local music - there are so many talented bands right here in Chicago! However, we also do host quite a few touring acts.
Generally speaking, I will work with local bands as well for these bills. This way, all the bands can start to build relationships across city lines.
It's so important for bands to do this whenever possible so that when local bands get to the point where they are looking to tour, they've already had a chance to meet some talented bands they can play with in other cities.
Q - I see you also host comedy and improv shows. How has that gone over? Do you see that as a good complement to what you offer?
We've always wanted to expand into more inclusive performance arts in Chicago, and this has been a good start. There is a huge arts community here and we want to facilitate more collaboration within it.
We are also launching an open-stage night - similar to an open-mic, but more inclusive of other types of performance arts (for example, dance), on Tuesday nights starting in June or July.
Q - Where you see The Throne Room going from here?
Growing and building! But also maintaining the culture that we've built over the past year.
We're friendly - we like working with artists - we like that they feel like The Throne Room is place they feel comfortable and excited to play and hang out and invite their fans, friends, and family alike.
We've started adding additional dates beyond weekends, and are launching Soulful Sundays come July. We're launching an industry night where musicians, servers, audio engineers, etc. can come kick back for a night.
It's really about what I mentioned before - facilitating a community where artists, musicians, and Chicagoans can all come together in one place.