Two years back, Kris Youmans took home a Dallas Observer Music Award that named him the best booking agent in town thanks to his work bringing in some of the bigger indie acts around to the Granada Theater.
As of yesterday, though, Youmans is out at the Granada, having accepted a job as the talent buyer for both the The Loft and the Gilley's Showroom at the Palladium Complex on Lamar Street. With him, Youmans is bringing now-former Granada marketing representative Nate Binford.
The move comes as a direct fallout from last week's announcement that Live Nation would be setting up shop in Dallas, with Danny Eaton, formerly of AEG Live (which books the Palladium Ballroom) joining that company and taking with him his daughter Rachel, who, for the past few years, has been in charge of operations at The Loft.
So what does the shake-up mean? As Youmans explains, as far as day-to-day operations go, not that much will change as far as his and Binford's responsibilities.
"Our positions really aren't gonna change that much," he said in a phone conversation yesterday afternoon. "We're just doing it at a new place."
Already, though, Youmans says, the move is starting to pay off as far as upcoming shows being booked to the downtown complex.
"I've already gotten a couple of pretty good calls for shows that I probably would've done at the Granada," he says. "It all seems pretty seamless so far."
The real question is how this will all affect the Granada. With Youmans out and now booking the 500-person room at The Loft and the 1,400-person capacity space with the Gilley's showroom, the Palladium complex now finds itself in the position to steal a number of shows that would've likely found a home on Lower Greenville.
Granada owner Mike Schoder says he isn't worried: "There's 45 people who work here that are real important to all that we have going on. In the 19 years I've been in the music industry, I've worked with probably 500 people. People come and go, but we've always found a way to move forward."
"You can't blame Kris," Schoder continues. "He's got the opportunity to call the shots and do his own thing over there. It would affect us more if this was a club that had under 10 people on staff. But there's a lot of people that work here and I'm thankful for that. As far as [Youmans and Binford] leaving, it happens. Bands cancel, it rains some days and you get flat tires. We're OK with that, because it's just the volatile business we work in. We're fine. And, as far as booking goes, we're not in a huge rush. We've got plenty coming up."
Which is why Youmans says he's so excited. By booking with regularity to the Palladium's rather under-used spaces, and by adding those rooms into a mix that already includes the Granada, the House of Blues and Trees, among others, Youmans says the city's music scene stands to gain a great deal from this move.
"Just by keeping stuff down in Dallas, for one, and giving this city more of a name outside of [bookings] being expanded among the three cities. Over the last few years, we've lost a lot of those shows to Fort Worth and Denton because of the lack of rooms availale at this size. I think this is gonna be a great thing--just to have an active complex that can host anywhere from 200 to 3,000 people on a given night."
With rooms like the Palladium's, which vary in size, Youmans says the complex can afford to host more local shows and more shows from up-and-coming acts that maybe can't quite yet fill a Granada or a House of Blues.
"I'm just looking forward to having the freedom to do stuff the way I've envisioned it in the past," Youmans says. He'll miss his time at the Granada, of course: "It's very different, having been over there for three years. It's a great theater and a great place to see a show. I'll miss all of those things."
But, with the new gig, Youmans is excited about what he can maybe bring to the downtown market.
"This is gonna be an area to watch of the next few years," he says. "For sure."