Former Big Easy owner to open major new concert house for Boise market


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

So is this in the strip mall

So is this in the strip mall area across Glenwood from the fairgrounds; the old D'alesandros building?

very cool

Not that it's a guarantee we'll pick up some acts that currently skip Boise, but there currently is a void in this size venue.

Nice it is a little more centralized too for the B/M/E market

anyway. Too bad it's not closer to I84 for a whole valley draw.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart


Memory- last concerts at the Fair and getting out of the parking lot after the concert. Yuck!

Unfortunately that corner doesn't have anything to hold people over like downtown- for a show and then drinks or hang out- so everyone will be leaving at once causing a traffic jam. So it's prime for a (good) restaurant/bar.

I think there are only 2 or 3 exits there. Is there even enough parking for 2000 people? Or is it depending on parking at the Fairgrounds and people running across Glenwood.

Hope it works out well.

We need Tech9 to be here even more often. ha!


As I wrote, 700 parking spaces. I'm no traffic expert, but you have to assume that many people drive to concerts with others.


missed that number the first round.

I predict traffic will be the weakness. But then I'm sure the good people at the Garden City P&Z have taken care of that question.

Going back to the old days!

Bars, dives and beer joints! Nice!

Just don't see a market. It's saturated.


Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.


Knitting Factory, Taco Bell Arena, CenturyLink Arena, Idaho Center, IC Amphitheatre, the outdoor amphitheatre in Eagle, Botanical Gardens ... not to mention a lot of little places like The Venue, The Reef, etc that also host small shows ... I'm not sure I see the market for it.

It would even be better

If we could Bike from Eagle to the concert hall on the greenbelt


At least you can smoke in the bars, and dives in Garden city, unlike Boise city where the Nazi party rules

No smoking ...

... Will be allowed inside this new concert house. I checked.

Sounds like a good idea.

I'm not a concert goer, but always interested in a good show. Sounds like a great person to be heading this and should be workable. For those looking for the after party, Shorty's and The Quarter Barrel (that still open?) are a short distance away.

Gotta be a plus that Garden City is smoker friendly. But also, a negative that Garden City Police have a reputation for being tough.

We should all be in favor, if not supportive of anything that can bring jobs and good times to the Treasure Valley regardless of the location.

Garden City

The Quarter Barrel is not only open, but ever since the Boise smoking ban went into effect, the parking lot there as well as the lots for Moe's Place (formerly Club Savvys) and the Ranch Club are almost full each Friday and Saturday night. Bet all three are thankful to the Boise city council for increasing their business.