Words & Deeds

Grainey’s Basement returns, Crowbar gets the ax; plus, a new North End bar ?

When Grainey’s Basement was rebranded as The Crowbar in 2015, it got a major facelift.
When Grainey’s Basement was rebranded as The Crowbar in 2015, it got a major facelift. Tom Grainey’s

If you’ve steered clear of Grainey’s Basement since it became Crowbar in 2015, prepare to make a pilgrimage this spring.

The downstairs bar — hidden beneath Tom Grainey’s Sporting Pub, 109 S. 6th St. — won’t be an underground EDM (electronic dance music) club anymore.

In April, Crowbar gets the ax. Grainey’s Basement will return in all its historic Downtown Boise glory.

“We’re getting back to our roots and bringing the party back to Boise,” owner Jason Kovac says.

You’ll hear Top 40 music from live musicians and DJs. Hip-hop acts will be booked occasionally. And, yes, EDM still might make an appearance — but only on special nights.

To many bargoers in the Sixth and Main district, this is fantastic news.

You might have a hazy recollection of downing shots in a low-ceilinged dungeon in the past three-plus decades. That’s when the space was called Grainey’s Basement or, from 1997 to 2008, J.T. Toad’s.

When Crowbar made its debut, the room was remodeled. The bomb-shelter vibe is gone.

“It’s warm. It’s comfy,” Kovac says. “It’s not the Grainey’s Basement you remember. It’s beautiful.”

Many bargoers still haven’t experienced these upgrades. Five nights of EDM each week attracted a new clientele but drove out another.

The former crowd at Grainey’s Basement will be welcomed. So will newcomers interested in a traditional party atmosphere.

EDM will crank at Crowbar for another month. Touring and local DJs are scheduled through March. The club also is committed to hosting EDM acts at Treefort Music Fest.

After that, Grainey’s Basement and Old Boise will be reunited, and it feels so good.

If you recognized that Peaches & Herb song reference, you definitely have to check out Grainey’s Basement. Ya geezer.

Bands end at Flying M

After a decade of indie-focused concerts in Nampa, Flying M Coffeegarage is saying goodbye to live music.

The all-ages venue at 1314 2nd Street South will present its final run of shows starting Feb. 24 with alt-rockers Aaron Brown and The Invasion. The Invasion, formed in Nampa, was the first full-blown band featured at Flying M. The farewell concerts will end with a headlining set from Seattle-based Season of Strangers on March 11.

In positive news for the under-21 crowd, Nathan Walker, the room’s talent buyer, recently announced he’s leaving Flying M to focus on a music nonprofit that he cofounded: Boise All-ages Movement Project (B-AMP). Find out more at facebook.com/Boiseallagesproject and donate at Boiseallagesproject.org. Sadly, Flying M then decided it wasn’t financially feasible to continue live music because of inconsistent crowds and lackluster attendance, Walker says.

Flying M brought cool to Canyon County. Bands that performed there included The Head and the Heart, Toro Y Moi, Wye Oak, Pickwick and more.

Seriously? Another new bar in Boise’s North End?

I was joking last month when I wrote that there soon might be more places to drink than dogs in the North End. Camel’s Crossing is supposedly opening in the former Acquired Again Antiques at 1304 W. Alturas St. There’s scuttlebutt about a wine bar/tasting room possibly appearing in the old Blue Moon Antiques building at 1611 N. 13th St. And a series of beer-friendly events are planned in the parking lot behind 13th Street Pub and Parilla Grill in Hyde Park.

And now it appears that the former Richard’s Cafe Vicino spot at 808 W. Fort St. will be converted into yet another North End watering hole.

An application has been submitted to the city for Fort Street Station. (Whaaat? Any relation to Downtown’s 10th Street Station, aka “home of the heavy pour”?) The project involves the “conversion of the old Richard’s restaurant into a new bar.”

Bottoms up, Boise.

Scalping the scalpers

Country singer Eric Church is fed up with scalpers.

In a noble move that deserves praise, Church recently canceled more than 25,000 tickets purchased for this spring’s nationwide Holdin’ My Own Tour. The show rolls into Taco Bell Arena in Boise on March 24.

The seats — identified as scalper buys — became available for purchase again this week at Ticketmaster. That meant Church’s true fans had a chance to score desirable tickets at face value. Hundreds of new tickets were released in Boise.

“We’re getting better at identifying who the scalpers are,” Church told The Associated Press. “Every artist can do this, but some of them don’t. Some of them don’t feel the way I feel or are as passionate.”

That’s too bad. In 2016, President Obama signed into law the Better Online Ticket Sales Act, which cracks down on automated software that ticket brokers use to snag seats instantly.

But Church told the AP that the legislation isn’t effective because it isn’t being enforced.

“They are not really backing it up with prosecuting these people,” Church said. “I don’t believe they will anytime soon.”

For the average consumer, tickets are confusing. Frustrating.

“How can Ticketmaster crack down on this problem?” one reader asked on my Facebook page. “The price for seats at other concerts (is) ridiculous, which is the primary reason my interest in concerts in Boise has plummeted.”

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