Bryan should make this a sticky so we can all stay updated when houses shut down, venues become available...etc.
If you can find somebody to front the money or you're willing to do it yourself, Keswick Democratic Hall on Logan St. has always been a consistently good place that does all ages shows and allows beer for the 21+ crowd. I believe the rental cost is somewhere between $100 and $200, plus the cost of renting a PA, unless you know somebody that has one. This is the best place to host hardcore shows and anything aggressive where people will be moving around a lot, since it's a big open room and it's hard to break. Just make sure the bathrooms don't get tagged and you'll be okay. This place loves the hardcore scene - anybody who has been around will notice they've paved the parking lot, built flower beds, and tons of other stuff with the money they've made doing business with shows. Shows here in September are a no go, though. Something about a Fish Fry.
(Side note on Keswick if anybody is interested in trying to really pick up regular booking on this place - save up about $400 to keep as a general fund for show costs as well as paying bands out of pocket if you need to, buy a PA or rent it monthly, and you can pretty much run the show here. Pay bands, and try to keep the bank around what you started with. It's a good system that has worked for at least a few people in the past. The Last Saturday shows at Keswick and the golden years of that place worked on that system, as far as I can tell. The more you work with Keswick, and the more professionally you handle your dealings with them, the nicer they probably will be to you, and the easier it will be to book shows. If you can do it, go for it, and don't forget to fucking promote with paper flyers and posters!)
St John's (I think) on Market St. is actually one of the nicer places to play in town. I've always heard that they're easy to work with and reasonably priced. In addition, they have a pretty ideal setup for shows...one smaller room downstairs to play in, with a kitchen / mess hall type deal to store equipment and load in right next door. They also have a bigger room upstairs where Shellac played a couple of years ago, and if memory serves, both rooms are loud as fuck and sound awesome. Not Skull Alley awesome, but they'll do. Don't book shows here where people will mosh - they have stuff that people might break. You need your own PA for this place, too.
Sometimes the best attended all ages shows are primarily house shows. There are at least 3 good houses in town doing shows. One's in the south end, one's in the Highlands, and one is downtown. Danny O'Connell and Nick Haynes could point you in the right direction for at least two of them. I'm not sure who lives in the Chestnut house. Could representatives post some contact info for bands looking for shows? The only major drawback to house shows is that it's sometimes hard to collect money for touring bands, so if you do a show at a house, either decide to take donations only (which usually fucks the bands) or be a hardass and figure out a way to get 5 bucks out of everybody without being a total dick. Chestnut Street and the House of Wax are both places where it would be easy to do this, since there's only one way in and out to see the bands, so please do this if there's a band on tour. It makes a huge difference in their tour, and if you want them to come back, then take care of them. Keep people inside to avoid the fuzz, share gear to make the show move faster if possible, keep drinking low key if possible...you know the drill. The people at these houses actually have their shit together, which is awesome.
Rudyard Kipling has been known to do 18+ shows on occasion, but you'd have to talk to Ken about it. I'm not a huge fan of the stage setup there and it sucks for loud music, and I think they shelve the booze for these shows, but I could be wrong. Not sure how much they ask for, but I think it's a door deal. Not a good venue for aggressive shows, or loud music for that matter, but if you're an indie rock band and you want to do 18+ show, this isn't a bad place to do it. The sound is fair, but they love the shit out of high frequencies.
Has anybody asked at Spinelli's about doing all ages shows? Something tells me that there's at least a chance that they might go for it. That room might kind of suck, but since kids aren't super violent and are mostly respectful these days, it could be an option. There are other restaurants around town that might be talked into doing shows, but that might be a stretch.
Ear-X-tacy is pretty down on their money these days. You might be able to talk them into doing in-stores for something special if you've got a record to release, though it's not really a great, consistent option for all ages shows. I feel like if they offered something up this alley it might help both our situations out, though.
The 9:30 Listening Room at Sojourn might be an option. I kind of doubt it, but it's worth looking into if you get desperate.
Speaking of desperate, if you don't mind working with people who are batshit insane, I've heard that the Brick House is an...option. They're known for not having their shit together though, so buyer beware. If you do a show here, agree on money deals up front, preferably in writing, and expect something weird to happen at the very least. If you're not a punk band, steer clear of this place.
Welcome to the post Skull Alley show situation. You get to work your ass off again to make punk rock happen...at least people have opened punk houses that do shows. They used to be so far and few in between that it was next to impossible to make them happen. Hopefully people are respectful, the people running the shows run them smart, and they operate until some new all ages option that doesn't suck comes along. The Legion of Doom, a house in Columbus, has been operating for close to 15 years now and running. As long as you have a decent landlord, at least one person who is willing to be a responsible anchor to keep the house "in the family", and a set of rules that work without alienating people, congratulations! You have a punk house that will probably be a cornerstone of Louisville's punk community for a long time. Keep it going guys, and post any new leads up as you get them.
Last edited by no fun
on Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:50 am, edited 3 times in total.