The Austin Chronicle


January 10, 2003, Music

Mercury Falling

Now for some actual news; I only wish it were better. At least it's familiar: Yet another live music venue is about to fall by the wayside. This time the damage will be felt deepest in the indie rock, funk-jazz, and hip-hop communities, because the Mercury will close its doors as of May 1. After a year of deliberation, Mercury Entertainment owner Mark Collins elected not to renew his option with his partners, opting instead to spend more time with his family and explore different aspects of the music business, including artist management (he currently manages former Hip Hop Humpday anchor D-Madness). "I've been doing this six years," Collins says. "It's time for a change." One thing nobody associated with the club wants is a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Talent booker Philip Croley says, "We're here for four more months, so we're going to enjoy it." Will Johnson of Centro-matic, meanwhile, remarks, "I wish I could take them all to the beach," while Kevin Russell of the Gourds laments, "This one stings." Elsewhere in clubland, rumors that Antone's had been sold proved untrue, but to help abate the Home of the Blues' longstanding financial problems, Direct Events has assumed day-to-day management duties, including booking, as of this week. Basking in the afterglow of three sold-out Maceo Parker shows, Susan Antone says the two parties have been friendly for a long time, and, "The calendar is the same; the bands are the same; everything should be about the same." Or almost everything: Now looking for work are manager Brad First and assistant manager Stephanie Seeley. Finally, while he waits for the no-nightclub condition of his release to expire in five months, Antone's namesake Clifford Antone appears to be enjoying his stint greeting patrons of South Congress eatery Güero's, even reportedly sitting in with the Keller Bros. during the restaurant's popular Sunday afternoon jam sessions.

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