After only six months in the Crosstown neighborhood, the upstairs venue located at 1372 Overton Park is closing its doors.
When Matt Qualls and Daniel Drinkard opened the loft at 1372 Overton Park in hopes of turning it into a venue and recording studio, they expected a little trouble from the neighbors. In addition to being attached to the Jehovah's Witness Assembly Hall, the soon-to-be venue also faced a row of houses in the quiet Vollintine-Evergreen neighborhood. But noise complaints and annoyed church members weren't the reasons Qualls decided not to renew the lease this April. It was the building's lack of air conditioning.
After Qualls approached the property owner of 1372 Overton Park about the prospect of central air conditioning, he was told that the rent would go up by more than half and that he would be required to sign a three-year lease. Qualls said there was an option to remain at 1372 Overton Park with no air conditioning, but his recording equipment wouldn't have remained intact.
"I would have loved to stay if the Memphis summer wasn't so hot and humid," Qualls said.
"The rent would have remained the same, but the studio equipment would have never survived in the heat. We have one room with a window unit inside of it, but that's a fraction of the whole building."
Qualls said he is already looking at other locations to house his recording studio and show space, ranging from houses in East Memphis to properties similar to the loft at 1372 Overton Park. In the meantime, Drinkard, who also runs the indie record label Fat Sandwich, has relocated to Birmingham.
"I've already begun looking for the next place where I can have a recording studio," Qualls said. "I really hope someone can undergo the task of turning 1372 around. There is so much history and potential in the place. I just can't afford to invest so much money into a building at this moment. We hoped the benefit show would generate enough money to go toward this issue, but it didn't even put a dent in the cost of putting a new A/C system in."
While only hosting around 15 shows in its six-month life span, 1372 Overton Park quickly became a fixture in the local underground music scene. Abe White, founding member of the Manateees and drummer of True Sons of Thunder, said 1372 Overton Park was one of his favorite places to play.
"Even though the sound in there was just decent, it's the type of place you had a lot of respect for because of the people who were trying to make it work," White said. "That's the way it goes for a punk venue, but those guys did a phenomenal job turning it into what it became."
The final show at 1372 Overton Park is Monday, April 29th, headlined by Brooklyn indie band the Men (see After Dark, page 31). — Chris Shaw
Dylan at Autozone
Despite some upheaval at the club level, the Memphis summer concert scene is shaping up nicely. There's Paul McCartney at FedExForum on May 26th. The Shins, Dropkick Murphys, and Dawes at Minglewood Hall in May, June, and July, respectively. Lil' Wayne and T.I. at FedExForum in August. Steely Dan at Mud Island in early September. And strong lineups at the Levitt Shell and the Memphis Botanic Garden's Live at the Garden series throughout the summer.
And now you can add a big one to the list: It was announced on Monday that Bob Dylan will be playing AutoZone Park on July 2nd as the headliner of the "Americanarama Festival of Music Tour," which will also include Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Richard Thompson (in "electric trio" form). General admission tickets ($65) will go on sale on May 11th, at 10 a.m. and will be available via the Memphis Redbirds/AutoZone Park box office, at MemphisRedbirds.com, or via (901) 721-6000.