Can you really shut down Hell?
That’s what Pat Dawson is pondering today. He’s one of the four owners of downtown Tacoma nightclub Hell’s Kitchen that announced yesterday it’s closing.
I spoke with Dawson this afternoon. He’s morose, of course, but there’s still some fight left in him.
First, they’re scrambling to put on a huge show on Sunday. “It looks like we’re going to do something on Sunday as a final blowout,” Dawson said. He’s working now on lining up bands.
“We got some pretty good bands. Bands that have been with us through the years.”
They’ll ask for a $4 donation at the door. Dawson says to check the club’s Facebook page for updates.
Besides his own personal losses Dawson says HK’s closing is a loss for the community.
“It’s a sad day. People are realizing what they going to be losing. There’s really no other venue in Tacoma that’s brought the national acts of the caliber that we have. It’s going to be a huge loss to the community and the music scene in Tacoma.”
Friday night’s show with “American Idol” James Durbin is still on. So is Saturday’s show with The Hardcount and Psycho 78. “And possibly some surprise guests,” Dawson said.
Dawson said many patrons, and employees, of HK thought of it as home. Ten employees are now out of work. “Some of them have been there since the beginning.”
Dawson said he’s been thinking recently about the great acts that have played at HK through the years: Evanescence, Mastodon, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Minus the Bear, The Reverend Horton Heat and Dick Dale, to name a few.
“The first time (Dale) played he went out in the middle of Sixth Avenue with his guitar and started playing.”
The club’s philosophy has been diversity and accessibility. “We’ve done a ton of free shows. Most of our covers are $5. We didn’t just stick to one genre,” Dawson said.
Though he has shows booked through September, “It’s going to take a huge miracle (to stay open or relocate),” Dawson said.