The sheetrock is just getting hung, the sound of grinders and hammering and drilling fills the room. It’s hard to imagine that Reno’s newest concert venue, the three-story Knitting Factory, is slated to open for business in less than two weeks.
There’s a lot of chaos as General Manager Dean Hanson goes over final touches, inspects work and helps fill the bill for January, February, March and the rest of 2010. But Hanson has the excitement of a kid who’s ready to open presents on Christmas morning.
“Nobody has ever seen something like what we are doing in Reno,” he said. “This is going to be the premier venue for entertainment and we think we have a great opportunity to give some new life to the music scene in Reno.”
So what’s the Knitting Factory all about?
Since it’s start in New York, the company has opened concert houses in Hollywood, Boise, Spokane and, now, Reno. The business plan is a midsized club that holds 1,000-1,500 guests, offering a variety of entertainment that ranges from mainstream popular acts, to local garage bands. Hanson said the company’s goal is to have entertainment at the Reno club 20-25 nights a month, all in a smoke-free, all ages atmosphere (with a restricted bar area in the top level).
“Our model is to help the music scene grow,” he said. “As the music scene grows, the partnerships grow. It’s good for up-and-coming bands, and it’s good for us.
“And Reno is going to be the pinnacle venue in our company.”
The investment is big. The Knitting Factory is taking over a building in the center of downtown Reno that used to be home to Rocky’s sports bar (and the old Levi’s factory). The top-to-bottom renovation includes a 20-foot stage and general admission area on the main level, VIP, and 21-plus on the balcony level (with seating Hanson calls “The best seating and view you can have at a concert.”), and lounge areas in the basement areas. The main entrance/exit will be through Fulton Alley.
Hanson said a premium has been placed on the sound and lighting systems to create a first-class concert experience.
So far, concert promoters have responded favorably to the concept. Here are some of the shows lined up in the opening months:
- Dec. 31 Sounds of Seattle
- Jan. 1 The Roots
- Jan. 7 Gloriana
- Jan. 8 Switchfoot
- Jan. 9 Ultimate Reno Combat
- Jan. 10 Reel Big Fish
- Jan. 15 Candlebox
- Jan. 16 AFI
- Jan. 17 Umphrey’s McGee
- Jan. 22 George Clinton and Parliament
- Jan. 23 Lil’ Rob
- Feb. 5-6 The Fab Four
- Feb. 10 Alice in Chains
- Feb. 11 Badfish
- Feb. 19 Five Finger Deathpunch
- Feb. 26 The Blind Boys of Alabama
- Feb. 27 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
- March 6 Andrew Nickatina
- March 7 The Young Dubliners
- March 15 Brandi Carlile
- March 16 New Found Glory
- March 27 No Quarter
Follow the Knitting Factory on Twitter at Twitter.com/knitreno.