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Avalon (formerly Backbeat)
777 Lawrence Expwy., Santa Clara; 408.241.0177; www.clubavalon.com
Grand reopening in late September

By Todd Inoue

FIRST THERE WAS Bullwinkle's, then there was Backbeat. Now, after six years, in comes Avalon, a new club owned by Julia and Mike Jafari and Tammy Baharan. Ross Jenkins of Ruby Skye, ShBoom and Backbeat will continue to be entertainment consultant.

When Backbeat opened in 1997, the club catered to a 25-40 audience with lavish buffets, strict dress code and popular swing nights. Then, 2 1/2 years ago, the owners re-examined the marketplace and began pushing for a younger audience by allowing 18-year-old dance nights, hiring outside promoters and spinning hip-hop, R&B, Latin and club music. Now, says Jenkins, the pendulum is swinging back to the older folks, and Avalon wants to be a part of that.

"There's different movements in music," says Jenkins. "Right now, it's a secular music scene where the main room in the venue plays only one type of music. You're hearing hip-hop and rap. That's the strain right now, but there's an inkling that people are getting burnt out on that."

Avalon will stress variety. On a typical Friday night, you'll hear the Top 40 hits mixed with an '80s and '90s jam. "It's going to be a mix. We may play a hip-hop song. You might hear a flashback as a spice up." Other nights will see boomer cover bands like the Cheeseballs and Wonderbread 5.

Other changes include a relaxing of the dress code, allowing jeans and tennis shoes, within fashionable reason. The Santa Clara club will be closed for the first two weeks in September to allow a top-to-bottom renovation: recarpeting, repainting, redesign of the rooms, installing an upgraded sound system. When it reopens, tentatively the third or fourth weekend in September, look for a new look, new sound and, hopefully, a new audience.

Send a letter to the editor about this story to letters@metronews.com.

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From the September 4-10, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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