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Out of Steam

Fuel and Club Ibex join the growing list of closing clubs

By Sarah Quelland

FIRST WE LOST the SADDLE RACK. Then 2B1's PALOOKAVILLE and MARITIME HALL. Now FUEL and CLUB IBEX are shutting down due to rent increases. It's been a rough year for the Bay Area's live music venues. Even the HOUSE OF BLUES' plans to open in the old Woolworth building and at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds are in limbo. What's next?

Even before Sept. 11, the harsh economic climate had hit the music industry pretty hard. CD sales are down, and if the Christmas rush doesn't boost the numbers, it will be the first time in years that CD sales have declined. Concert ticket sales are also suffering. LIVE 105'S HALLOWEEN FREAK SHOW (held Oct. 26 at SHORELINE AMPHITHEATRE) with a reunited JANE'S ADDICTION was nowhere near sold-out. The NESCAFÉ JAVA JAM featuring FUEL, SALIVA and BREAKING POINT brought less than 500 people to the SJSU EVENT CENTER last Thursday (Nov. 1), making the arena, which holds 6,500, look like a ghost town. Even the major labels are feeling the pain. Rumor has it MAVERICK RECORDS is doing particularly poorly, though Madonna plans to move forward with the new Latin division of her label, Maverick Musica.

Still, to see these local clubs closing down is pretty scary. Though the whole country has been hit hard, both by the economic downturn and the events of Sept. 11, it seems Silicon Valley may be in a unique position because its economy was generated by the dotcom industry. When the dotcoms started to fold, it created a domino effect, trickling down and affecting the businesses that catered to the desirable young high-tech crowd and, in turn, affecting the valleywide economy.

Now that a significant portion of the twentysomething dotcom workforce has been laid off, the $7 cocktail crowd has gone back to drinking what it can afford: $2 Buds. And $75 to catch a 2-1/2-hour show at the Compaq Center doesn't sound like pocket change anymore. Not only that, between the sliding economy and the national tragedy, people are cocooning, spending time with friends and family, and not so inclined as they once were to go to a club to listen to live music. And it shows in all the clubs, not just the ones going out of business.

There are things the clubs could do to promote themselves better, to make themselves more visible and to draw more people to their shows. But the fact is, without the support of clubgoers, the clubs will die. As it is, Fuel holds its last live show next Thursday (Nov. 8) with LISA DEWEY and PENNY HARLOT. The club's last night is reported to be Nov. 15.

On a side note, despite the surprisingly low attendance at the Nescafé Java Jam last Thursday, the bands put on a good show. Visit www.metroactive.com/metro for a review.

ALL THE NEWS: Probably the most significant show this week is the ROCKIN' ROB DAPELLO CD-release show scheduled for this Friday (Nov. 9) at the Cactus. Material written and recorded by the late musician and writer is now available and CDs will be given away at the concert. The ODD NUMBERS, the FORGOTTEN, CURBSIDE, OUTTALINE, CAUSTIC NOTIONS, FANCY HAIR DRAGON, NEON LOBSTER, LED BENDER (formerly the SECRETS) and Dapello's old band UNCLE LUCIFER pay tribute to their friend. ...The FU MANCHU concert scheduled for Nov. 8 at the USUAL has been canceled. In its place is a V.I.P. show with TRIPLE SEVEN, ONES AND ZEROS, LORDS OF THE MANOR and SABIANS. ...The SANTA CLARA BASEMENT at SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY hosts an all-ages show this Sunday (Nov. 11) with the SLACKERS, MONKEY, DAN POTTHAST and CHRIS MURRAY. ...The Cactus Club hosts two shows on Nov. 11 with doors opening at 5pm for 5606, MY FAT SISTER, WASTING TIME and DUEBACKS and at 8:30pm for EVIL BEAVER and the GHOST.

PLAN AHEAD: FIRST TO FALL, PLUMAGE, AIRBAG and VELKRO, Nov. 8 at the Cactus; LICA STO, SIKNESS, SOL ASCENDING, JUGGERNAUT and RIVALS, Nov. 10 at the Cactus; REACTION 31, JADA MORNING, the BLUE and PASSENGER, Nov. 10 at the POUND in San Francisco; NO USE FOR A NAME and the FACTION, Nov. 12 at the GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL and Nov. 13 at the CATALYST in Santa Cruz; DEAD KENNEDYS, Nov. 15 at the Usual; the MISFITS, Nov. 18 at the Usual; SLAYER, Dec. 7 at the Warfield.

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From the November 8-14, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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