Fire Damage at Parish Music Venue Pauses Concerts Into December

Updates on Resound and Heard Presents’ six-month-old space

Parish's exterior sign in Feb. 2022 (Courtesy of Giant Noise)

Heads up to ticket holders for shows at the revamped Parish (formerly the North Door) through the middle of December: your concert has been moved, rescheduled, or canceled.

An electrical fire early on the morning of Oct. 25 caused substantial smoke and water damage to the downtown music venue, destroying the on-site kitchen and putting a pause on events just six months after opening. Thus far, concerts previously scheduled for Parish have been moved to other local venues including Empire, Far Out Lounge, the Ballroom at Spider House, and the new Feels So Good screen printing facility/record shop.

Graham Williams – co-owner of Parish and concert booking company Resound Presents – said employees for a new food vendor, who had begun operating out of Parish’s hospitality space, arrived on the morning of Oct. 25 to find the fire underway in the kitchen. Austin Fire Department crews were able to extinguish the blaze before it caused any widespread structural damage, with the kitchen area a total loss and smoke overtaking the entire 400-capacity concert space. Smoke mitigation and repairs have been ongoing in the weeks since, with Williams cautiously eyeing early December as the timeframe when concerts will resume.

“We’re lucky we have so many venues we work with already and have places to move shows to,” Williams said. “I can’t imagine it’d be too much further out [from early December] – since you could walk in and plug in an amp and play right now, but it’s another thing to be in there watching a show.”

Mono at the newly opened Parish in April 2022 (Photo by Rachel Rascoe)

After permanent closure of the former North Door at 501 Brushy in 2020, Austin’s Resound and Heard Presents teamed up to redesign the high-ceilinged space. (Owners of the North Door recently announced plans to reopen nearby, next to Brew & Brew.) Describing the major upgrades undergone, Williams said the new Parish space “looks like a mini ACL Live or Brooklyn Steel now.”

“We had to repair, replace, and improve nearly everything in the space, from the old wooden mezzanine frame to bar tops and bathrooms, since the space was in disrepair after two years w/o operation,” he told the Chronicle via email soon after the fire. “We installed brand new A/V equipment, sound dampening, and many other quality of life improvements, the biggest being the My Oh My vinyl listening room/lounge with high end sound and DJ gear as well as craft cocktails.”

Alongside DJ bookings in My Oh My, Parish built out a calendar of both national touring acts and locals in recent months. Graham said response from bands, tour managers, and booking agents to the new space has been positive, with its spaciousness and multi-level sightlines leading to growing interest.

“We’re all familiar with venues where you’re usually squeezed into a small space, and having the ability to work with better lighting and sound and provide better viewing for the audience improves it all so much,” Williams said. “I always saw the potential there, with the North Door, and we loved that building when we would do things there.”

After the fire, the venue fundraised with movie-referencing “Parish is Burning” and “My Oh My’s Up In Smoke” t-shirts. Comparing the space to a high-performance muscle car, Parish co-owner Stephen Sternschein doesn’t hide his anticipation to get the venue back open.

“The difference is like when you’re in a Toyota Corolla cruising, versus driving a souped-up Viper or Mustang, because everything is so responsive and perfect,” he said. “There’s just something about having all of that space [at the Parish], enough that you could do something like a play if you wanted. That allows you to create a much better experience for the audience.”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Parish
A New Parish Set to Open in Former North Door Location
A New Parish Set to Open in Former North Door Location
Owners behind Empire and Resound Presents team up at Eastside Venue

Kevin Curtin, Feb. 10, 2022

More by Chad Swiatecki
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Women of Antone's, underground MCs, FuckEmos, and more recommended shows

March 24, 2023

Austin Music Office Expands Musician Payment for Certain City-Sponsored SXSW Events
Austin Music Office Expands Musician Payment for Certain City-Sponsored SXSW Events
$200/hour rate newly applied to DAWA and EQ Austin showcases

March 17, 2023


Parish, Resound Presents, Heard Presents, Graham Williams, Stephen Sternschein

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle