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Spaceland is out at Spaceland: Bookers, venue part ways; club to be re-christened as The Satellite

by Kevin Bronson on November 8, 2010

Spaceland Productions, the concert promoters who have booked music at the Silver Lake club known as Spaceland for a decade and a half, are parting ways with the venue’s owner. By early next year, the storied room at 1717 Silver Lake Blvd. — which has hosted the Los Angeles debuts of bands such as Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket and the Killers as well as incubated the burgeoning Eastside music scene — will get a new name, the Satellite.

Mitchell Frank, owner of Spaceland Productions and the Spaceland name, and Jeff Wolfram, who owns the building that adopted that moniker around 1995, confirmed that they are ending their longtime handshake agreement. “We’re going our separate ways, and we’re doing so amicably,” Wolfram said. “Basically, we wanted to do our own booking in-house so we could offer better packages to bands and be a little more competitive.”

“It just reached a point where it was time for us to move on,” said Frank, who started Spaceland as a weekly club night in 1993 and whose company books the Echo, Echoplex and several special events around L.A. “We’ve had some incredible musical moments here, people met, fell in love, started life-long friendships, but it’s just time for a change.”

Talent-buying duties for the Satellite, Wolfram said, will be handled by Jennifer Tefft — who worked for Frank as the main booker at Spaceland for almost 10 years before she was fired last November.

“I’m excited — that place feels like home to me,” said Tefft, who has spent the past year working with local talent buyers the Fold, which books shows at the Silverlake Lounge and Bootleg Theater, among other venues. “I think Jeff and Mitchell both knew this day would come. Whenever there’s a club where the promoter and the owner are separate, everybody’s hurt, including the customer. [As an in-house talent buyer] I’ll be able to give better deals to bands and be a little more flexible with things that will make playing the club a better experience for them.”

Wolfram said the Satellite will honor all Spaceland’s booking commitments, including the Melvins’ Friday residency in January. As for the future, he said, “I really don’t expect much to change. We’ll be doing a few new things with specials to try and build a late-night crowd. But there won’t be anything drastically different.”

According to a Spaceland press release, Frank, along with business partner Jeff Ellermeyer, will open a new room for live music oriented to dance nights and DJs.


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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott November 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I’m not too surprised by this, and bringing back Tefft will make for some heavy competition in the area. But why are they changing the name that they spent over a decade promoting and gaining attention internationally? Is it part of the agreement?

Mick O November 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm

That’s craaaazzzyyy! That’s just insane! No way is Silverlake the eastside!!

Mo November 8, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Wow! That is some serious dish.

Jen November 8, 2010 at 6:41 pm

REALLY hope they don’t get rid of their free Monday night shows.

kevin November 8, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Scott — The club was never technically named Spaceland. It became known as that because Spaceland were the only promoters doing shows there.
Jen — Monday night residencies will continue, I am told

jeffro November 8, 2010 at 7:26 pm

“a new room for live music oriented to dance nights and DJs”
that sounds like an oxymoron to me.

Scott November 8, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Ahh…so was it technically “Dreams” all along? That still sounds like a sexy name for a venue.

Marty C. November 8, 2010 at 7:57 pm

This isn’t the first time Jeff and Mitchell came close to parting ways. Makes way more sense for Jeff & Co. to take control of their own club. For years, it seemed that the Echo, a much inferior place to see bands (tiny stage, crap sound system, lame drinks, bad lighting, etc…), got the A list shows while Spaceland’s weekday gigs got less and less interesting.

BTW – Why not call it “Dreams” and bring back the wet T-shirt competitions?

Roy Rogers Oldenkamp November 8, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I wonder if this is a nail in the coffin of live performances from indie bands that DON’T focus on playing electronica/electronic instrumentation…

TW November 8, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Scott–

Yeah. A few days after my first night at Spaceland, it took me several puzzled minutes to figure out why my bank account noted a large booze expenditure at a place called ‘Dreams Club.’

Kat November 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Nooo! Are you kidding me? Spaceland bookers always brought consistently good bands. Yes, there were stinkers every now and again, but there were always some solid presences throughout the month.

If the current lineups at Silverlake Lounge et al are representative of Tefft’s taste in music, “Spaceland” as we all knew it is doomed to become the new home of crappy folk bands, sleepy singer-songwriters and other otherwise non-interesting musical projects.

You could tell things were a little…off…what with the fishbowl going non-smoking and the recent lull in decent bands.

RIP Spaceland! Guess I’ll be frequenting the Echo/Echoplex/Smell from now on.

Fred November 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Taking bets. How long before it’s a strip club?

And is there really a market for a dance venue in Silverlake?
Silversun Glowsticks?

One thing, this has been a windfall for you Bronson :-)

JM November 8, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Um that doesnt even make sense… Tho I hated that I ALways had to pay cover here (which I pretty much never do elsewhere).. Thats just it, they had to be making good bucks if a pretty girl had to pay cover not matter what day of the week…. Oh well

John November 8, 2010 at 11:08 pm

WOW!! That’s Heavy..

Nick November 9, 2010 at 6:00 am

It’s sad to think that this is the end of an era but the end result sounds like not much of a big change. Jennifer Tefft will be back booking the Satellite and Spaceland Productions will open a new club.

I do hope they fix the electrical/sound problems there though. I saw a few bands play there on Saturday and almost every one had interference from a radio station.

mullet November 9, 2010 at 7:39 am

annnnd mmj’s first la show was at the silverlake lounge but whatever. facts aren’t important.

pascal November 9, 2010 at 7:57 am

@ Scoot. Yeah, I’d rather go to “Dreams” than “the Satellite.”

what November 9, 2010 at 8:54 am

Maybe they’ll finally stop breaking the law and ban smoking inside so the poor little skinny-jean wearing d-bags who populate the place will have to go outside to smoke their idiotic hipster cigs.

kevin November 9, 2010 at 9:12 am

What — Smoking has been prohibited in the back room at Spaceland for quite some time now.

nigel November 9, 2010 at 10:16 am

I think it is time for change. Embrace it, it is inevitable. The ongoing support of a local based music community is important for growth. It is a good venue, lets hope whoever runs the club, supports its local musical talent and continues to promote great shows.

greens November 9, 2010 at 10:59 am

All I can say is that I hope 1717 Silverlake Blvd. doesn’t turn into a skank Hollywood club like the ones JM clearly frequents, where the patrons care less about supporting music by actually PAYING a cover, and more about masturbating their egos by validating the “prettiness” they worked so hard in front of the mirror for at the door. Parking is bad enough for residents here without a nightly injection of vapid whackjob spoiled boring club kids infesting it. Alas, it felt that way the dwindling number of times I’ve been the past year or so. hugs!

Scott November 9, 2010 at 11:03 am

When I think back to some of the best and most fun shows I’ve seen at Spaceland/Dreams I’m pretty sure they were a result of Jen Tefft handing the booking.

J November 9, 2010 at 11:09 am

Kat, what are you talking about? Did you read the article? Jennifer Tefft up until a year ago when she was fired had been booking Spaceland for the last ten years. I believe she is the one who first booked all of the rock and indie rock acts such as Arcade Fire, Airborne Toxic Event, Silversun Pickups, etc. This is a good thing.

aaron November 9, 2010 at 11:44 am

with jennifer tefft there, you can definitely count on great music. Hey Kat, the golden age of Spaceland happened with jen pulling the strings so your comments are a little odd

wayne November 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I think Nick is right; it won’t really be much of a change. But I think it’s great that Jennifer Tefft will be booking the Satellite — she has always treated every band I’ve known really well and offered fair deals.

thefuck November 9, 2010 at 12:06 pm

what – only been about a year since you could smoke in the back room…how’s the hotel cafe been treating you? i smell drakkar noir…

Scott November 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Can we get a petition going to close that over-priced crappy wine/restaurant joint on the corner? One of the things that makes the Echo/Echoplex a little more tolerable is that there are lots of food options and spots to get a beer with friends after work, and before a show, within walking distance. Even a few food trucks every Thursday – Saturday would be great.

Mike K. November 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Gotta agree with Marty C., I’ve noticed too that my visits to Spaceland have been fewer because the Echo and Echoplex have been getting more of the interesting acts as of late.

I’m excited to see a change though. Looking forward for what’s to come.

The Deuce November 9, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Please keep the big mugs of beer. Please. And the silver-and-blue stage backdrop curtain.

Henry November 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm

And Please keep the tamale guy….

Tes November 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Informative, thank you. I kinda freaked out when I first heard of this, but I’m actually relieved now after reading this article. A rose by any other name, and all that sort of thing. Just keep the good music coming, and I’ll be a happy camper.

polly November 9, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Good. Now they can actually get some better shows! That place has sort of sucked for a few years not up to date.

Sammy November 10, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I think a good hint about the reason for the breakup can be detected in the last paragraph of the spaceland productions press release:
“In the past years, Spaceland has branched out to booking street festivals, co-producing events with radio stations and curating regular series for the Getty Center and the Natural History Museum. And in addition to Club Spaceland, Frank opened two rooms in Echo Park, the 300 capacity Echo in 2001 and the 700 capacity Echoplex in 2007″
It must be hard to pay attention to (book) all of those things well. Seems like the owner of the venue must have noticed this lack of attention over the lately. I know I sure have.

John November 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Castledoor and Spaceland RIP

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lkSPXmqJaU

Josh November 24, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Fingers crossed that The Satellite will start putting headliners on at 10 or 10:30 instead of 11, even though I know it’s never going to happen.

Banjo February 17, 2011 at 2:13 am

It was a lesbian bar long ago – before Beck’s leafblower. It was fertile ground for damned good music for quite a while, then the parking rules came down.

Leave that neighborhood alone. It’s residential and the musical ghosts should reside there, near the water of the reservoir and dog poo smell of the dog park,

7 seconds is reuniting up in Reno let’s convoy our Prius’s (Priae?) and start again, like it’s 81 all over again.
Or.. get music closer to the
http://www.metro.net/around/timetables/001-099/
fucking bus lines,

or serenade ourselves with
http://ukuleleunderground.com/
or buy ourselves chocolates for a belated Valentines and go home and fuck ourselves.

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