Rage and Ruin

Red 7 gets a Marxist makeover

Red 7's red light district
Red 7's red light district (by Raoul Hernandez)

Last weekend, Red River offshoot venue Red 7 dripped with all the ambiance of a bombed out WWII warehouse in Dresden. Last night, at Transmission Entertainment booking wizard Graham Williams’ 31st birthday party there, the club rose anew as if some proud Marxist monument. Welcome comrade.

Outside, the stage and 250-300 capacity remains the same, but the soundboard has been moved off the mosh pit and enclosed into the back beverage dispenser. The unused auxilary bar is now a nifty merch booth. Unfortunately, in the bitter cold of 42 degrees, the only one of the four metal bands selling swag was the worst of the lot, headliner Outlaw Order, offshoot of New Orleans mudcore act Eyehategod. Openers Curse the Heavens scrogged, Rat King screamed and sank, and Mammoth Grinder’s aborted 13-minute set still took the purse uncontested with its uncompromising Rage and Ruin.

Inside, rebirth has brought malt shop booths, air hockey, vintage video games, and pool tables. Damn the torpedos hanging over the bar. The former entrance, now a wall, and its bookend green room, long abandoned, have vanished and exposed an open-air smoking porch, also seating booths. Transmissionist and Mohawk monarch James Moody says the idea came both from Austin’s legendary hardcore palace just down Sixth Street – the Ritz – having gone Alamo Drafthouse and Seattle’s punk clubs, where free anterior rooms make the cover charge for the stage space next door optional based on whether the patron wants to headbang. Pay to see TSOL, Black President, and the Krums Bums outside at Red 7 January 31.

Special occasions such as South by Southwest will draft the indoor stage into use, but otherwise, nyet – jukebox rules. Birthday boy Williams stood nearby and acknowledged my marveling at his veteran music scene status at such a relatively young age, the local native having begun at Emo’s when he was 19 and learned his trade there 1997-2007 before assembling Transmission. Cabinet member and Red 7 czar Jared Cannon clapped him on the back while declaring himself a communist. Cupcakes in Williams' honor, carrot cake base and sour cream topping, went down like ice cold Stoli. Join the party.

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