The Southgate House, a local music venue, closed for the last time on New Year’s Eve. The historic building housed a large two-level ballroom for regional/national acts, a mid-sized Parlor complete with a full bar, and a small barroom for duos and small bands. The venue offered free live music every night in the barroom, and provided a medium venue for artists who prefer not to sign their lives over to TicketMaster or Live Nation.
The ballroom has hosted NOFX, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Queers, They Might Be Giants, The Black Keys among others. The venue is closing due to a dispute. It’s encouraging that Cincinnati has nurtured this business, and the closing is due to reasons aside from lack of financial support.
Although no confirmed announcements have been made, the rumors abound that the venue will reopen in another location. There is talk that the new venue will remain in Newport and open in another historic building as early as February of 2012. I am hopeful that this gaping hole in the local music scene will be filled so quickly.
My fingers lack the fortitude to type all the shows I’ve seen at The Southgate House. I will focus on the highlights; DeVotchka, The Seedy Seeds, The Heartless Bastards, Mates of States, Jupiter One, the now defunct Young Republic, She Wants Revenge, and Bad Veins all put on amazing shows. The DeVotchka show is among my favorite shows of all time.
The Seedy Seeds put on a hell of a performance; it was fit for my last show at The Southgate House. The show was packed. They played a couple of originals about The Southgate House, one was an ode to their signature shot the Tommy Gun, Jameson with a pickle juice chaser. The Seedy Seeds perfectly curated a joyful celebration of everything The Southgate House was. They wrapped up the show with a cover of “I’m Sailing Away”. They invited the audience on stage to contribute to the song. The stage was overwhelmed with lusty singers, their faces bright and shining with joy. It was a beautiful last moment in a place that was the context for wonderful experiences.
Thanks to The Seedy Seeds. Thanks to the people who worked hard to make The Southgate House what it was. Thank you for your commitment to music. I look forward to your next work.
NOTE: I wrote this on January 1, 2012. Some things have changed since this was written. The Seedy Seeds are now defunct, but The Southgate House reopened. It’s now called The Southgate House Revival, and it’s still hosting really great music just as it did.
While editing this, I realized I have changed as a writer. I was hoping that my writing would change as I continued to engage with it. Turns out, that hope is proved true. Hell, maybe even one day, I will become a competent editor. A girl can dream.