It's been almost two years since we talked to booker Scott Beggs for this column. He was one of the first approached for it, as he's done a lot for Dallas and Deep Ellum's entertainment intake through the years, but his most recent gig booking for LaGrange came to an end rather abruptly, when the club announced its closing last week, just a couple months after its restaurant neighbor, Rock and Roll Tacos, shuttered its operation.
See also: - After three years, LaGrange closes its doors
That was a great run you had at LaGrange. Thanks for all you brought. Thanks, Ayo. The last year was a lot of fun, with a few disappointments thrown in, obviously. But overall, I've been thrilled to be back with my Deep Ellum family again. One of the best parts of the last year has been reacquainting myself with our local scene. Before, I had been pretty much focused on national touring artists. The last several years I was with Trees and Gypsy Tea Room, and more recently with Sierra Bravo Productions. I've been impressed with some of the new bands. It's been great getting to know some of the artists that might still have been in diapers when I first started booking shows.
Such as? Sealion, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, Quaker City Nighthawks, Ishi, Missile, Goodnight Ned, House Harkonnen, Convoy and the Cattlemen, The Phuss, Mothership, The Virgin Wolves, Maleveller, Black Habits. Man, I haven't even made it through three months of our past calendar and I already realize I'm leaving out great bands. I was always excited to see what Hotel Tesseract would bring us, and it was great to work with my old friends at Final Friday again. And with our Zound Sounds/School of Rock "farm system," I think it's safe to say the Dallas scene is doing damn good these days.
I can't not touch on some of the nationals you brought, through. FEAR was really fun, for instance. FEAR, Zeke, Shovels & Rope, Hub City Stompers, Koffin Kats, The Business, Riverboat Gamblers/Mind Spiders. Wow, again, we did some good shows, and I have no doubt I'm leaving more out.
So, now you're relocating your fall/winter bookings, and I hear it's going well. I know Christmas night with Hagfish and the Riverboat Gamblers is a go for Trees. Were there any casualties in relocating? It's tough to express how thankful I am for my friends in this scene that have stepped up to help us salvage most of the shows on our calendar. Double Wide, Trees, Lee Harvey's Prophet Bar, Club Dada, they've all picked up the slack for us. There were a couple of shows that we couldn't accommodate, Rigor Mortis being the one that bummed me out the most, but we'll reschedule them for the spring, and they'll be playing for Bruce Corbitt's 50th birthday bash on 12/22 at the Rail Club.
LaGrange seemed to have a lot going for it: location, visibility. Were there things you and the gang might have tried a different way, if we were able to back up? The biggest struggle we faced was running a kitchen efficiently. It's not easy. I think ultimately the inconsistencies in the cafe side kept us from maintaining the momentum we were creating in the venue.
LaGrange certainly wasn't all you had going on. What are your other embedded projects, and what's next for you? I'll still be booking shows at Trees, Double Wide, and elsewhere occasionally. And I still love working the bigger shows at Cowboys Stadium, AAC, Dia de los Toadies. And I'm usually involved when the Observer produces a live music event. I'll be doing something with music. I've been in the real world recently and it's scary out there.
Want to say anything to your LaGrange supporters? I'm thankful for the opportunity given to me by Stephanie and Rob Schumacher. I wish we could have hit a home run, but I also think we did a solid job considering where we started. The staff, bands, and music fans, as well as those that would join us for brunch, Dr. Sketchy, or whatever event we hosted, made this a fun stop for me. I truly believe in this neighborhood, and the artists and business owners that support it, and look forward to being involved in the future of Deep Ellum.