I'll have the full story about it in Scene magazine tomorrow.
Actually, today sounds better:
Before he traded his backstage pass for a less-glamorous detour as a land developer, promoter Creston Thornton, the public face of Bravo Entertainment and The Big Easy Concert House, had spent a decade revolutionizing the Treasure Valley music scene.
Six years later, Thornton is back — plotting a second Revolution.
Sensing opportunity for a mid-sized indoor venue, Thornton plans to open the 2,200-capacity Revolution Concert House and Event Center this summer. (To compare, Boise’s Knitting Factory, formerly The Big Easy, holds 999.)
Located at the bustling intersection of Glenwood Street and Chinden Boulevard — nearly equidistant from Downtown Boise, Meridian and Eagle — Revolution will add a new, high-profile dimension to the market.
Many big-name acts perform for smaller audiences than they did years ago. So a 2,200-capacity venue will open up a fresh spectrum of artists for the Boise area, says Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of concert-industry trade publication Pollstar.
“It’s a very good size,” he says.
“(Thornton) knows what he’s doing, too,” Bongiovanni adds. “I’ve been doing this long enough to remember The Big Easy and Creston.”
As co-founder of Bravo Entertainment and Big Easy clubs in Boise and Spokane — all eventually sold to Knitting Factory — Thornton booked thousands of shows. They ranged from small acts to massive names such as Shania Twain, Jack Johnson, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton and Tom Petty. Twice he was nominated for Pollstar’s Independent Promoter of the Year.
Two years ago, Thornton returned to action with CTTouring, the promotions company that books Eagle River Pavilion shows, as well as annual Rockstar Mayhem Festival and Vans Warped Tour concerts at the Idaho Center Amphitheater.
With Revolution Concert House, Thornton is all-in again. And although he says his business plan calls for just four concerts and four dance nights each month, the all-ages event center’s message is clear for the competition: Game on.
Thornton envisions Revolution hosting concerts, comedy shows, DJs, boxing, wedding receptions, private parties — you name it.
He imagines MMA fights with the cage in the middle of the room surrounded by 360-degree seating.
Revolution will have a moveable 40-by-32-foot stage, allowing it to slide forward and shrink the capacity of the room from 2,200 to 1,500 or 1,000. State-of-the-art lights, sound and video are planned. A VIP platform and bar? Of course.
Just getting in and out should be a breath of fresh air. There are 700 free parking spaces in front. (Still can’t figure out where it is? It’s on Glenwood, kitty-corner from Fred Meyer, part of a huge building with a sign that says “The Corridor.”)
Most fans don’t care about production details, but bands will appreciate the efficiency of the spacious loading bays, multiple green rooms and private bathrooms.
With black paint, towering ceilings and visible ductwork, the industrial-style venue will exude an urban vibe, Thornton says.
“We’re going to do everything that big cities do,” he says. “We’re going to have the perfect venue size, and we’re going to try to keep ticket prices in line.”
That’s a potential advantage of a mid-sized concert house: pricing. If an artist is too popular for a club, ticket prices usually need to rise to cover the artist’s fee. Or the artist performs in a partly empty arena instead. Or just skips Boise altogether.
Revolution could have a niche there. Thornton uses Kid Rock’s recent Knitting Factory show, which sold out immediately, as an example: “Instead of doing $60 tickets there, he could have done $39.50 tickets here and doubled the number of fans who could go and the amount he gave to charity.”
Suddenly, the possibility of seeing an intimate indoor show from ZZ Top, My Morning Jacket, The Flaming Lips, Primus — the list goes on and on — will become a reality.
And make no mistake, you’ll be aware of the shows. Glenwood and Chinden is the second busiest intersection in Idaho and sees more than 122,000 cars daily, according to the most recent studies from Ada County Highway District. Revolution will have an electronic billboard outside to educate passing motorists.
If construction goes according to plan, Revolution will open July 7. That would coincide with Peak Broadcasting’s massively attended Boise Music Festival, which is being moved this year from Ann Morrison Park to Expo Idaho — right across the street from Revolution.
Thornton grins at the thought.
“Garden City mayor John Evans and his whole staff have been totally open-armed and great to work with,” Thornton says. “We’re really looking forward to developing this area to be a full entertainment zone for the Treasure Valley.”
© 2012 Idaho Statesman