OGDEN -- After three years in business, in two locations, The Basement all-ages concert venue is closing its doors.
That could be terrible news to young local music fans who were its core clientele, as well as the bands -- touring and local -- that played the venue. But Jason Allen, The Basement's owner/operator, and Ron Atencio, proprietor of Mojos Caffe & Gallery, another all-ages Ogden club, are working together to keep the music playing.
Earlier this year, Allen was hoping to expand The Basement into two rooms to accommodate large and small acts, but he found that the costs to remodel were prohibitive. He also has a day job and a family, and feared that day-to-day club obligations might give short shrift to all three.
"To renovate the space to use its full occupancy and capacity just was not worth it," Allen said of the building he was leasing at 3109 Wall Ave. "I just couldn't do it in a way that made it work. So I am moving every show that I can, to get out by the end of August."
Allen plans to continue as a concert promoter and booker, under the name The Basement Productions. He'll utilize Mojos and as-yet-unannounced Salt Lake City venues for several shows a month. Allen has already presented two shows at Mojos -- Battlecross on July 14 and Joyce Manor on July 30.
Allen was forced to cancel the Design the Skyline show, scheduled for Friday, Aug. 24, because he could not find another venue on short notice that was not already booked.
"To get all of my sound equipment out and get it cleaned up in time, I was forced to do this," Allen said.
Atencio said he was pleased with the two touring shows Allen has presented at Mojos thus far. Along with his own shows, and those of other bookers he already works with, Atencio is committing to about three Basement Production nights a month, starting in September. Allen will offer one night each of local indie rock and metal, as well as one night of touring acts playing a variety of styles.
"I see it as a win-win -- for them, for us, for our venue, for the scene as a whole," said Atencio. "With his doing just about three shows a month, Jason can do really big shows, rather than spreading it out a bit too much."
Mojos' physical operation has also benefited from the partnership. Allen sold Atencio a more powerful monitor system and a better mixing board.
"That will give us more to work with, sound-wise," said Atencio. "And frankly, I think we offer the right-sized room for Ogden, with a capacity of 200."
Said Allen: "For as many shows as I was doing, and Ron was doing, we were perhaps wearing out things a bit, especially where local bands were concerned. And now the touring bands won't be worried about an oversaturated market, either.
"It is a bittersweet turn, for sure," Allen added. "I enjoyed my time there. But this is best for me and my family. It has been pretty wild to try and do it all. And I think it'll be better for the music scene in the long run."
"I think Jason is relieved to be relieved of running a venue day-to-day, with all of his other obligations on top of it," Atencio said. "Now he can specialize in what he is best at, presenting great shows. It is going to work out really well, joining forces like this. It is good for everyone."