June 28, 2012 at 1:58am
Tacoma's loudest rock club will go silent after this weekend.
On Tuesday, Hell's Kitchen owners announced they are closing the downtown nightclub - a pillar of the local hard rock scene for a decade - after Saturday night's show.
June was the rock venue's best month all year, according to booking agent Lonnie Reed. And the decision to shut down came down to costly maintenance - fixing shoddy plumbing, damaged sound boards, etc. - that made it untenable to keep going.
"We've been on the cusp for a while," Reed said of the club, which is owned by Casey Kraft, Pat Dawson and Tiffany Barbee.
"Every penny they could have kept they put right back into the building. The owners all have second jobs. I have a second job. We put our heart and soul into that building for a long time. That's why it's so devastating."
Hell's Kitchen originally opened at 3829 Sixth Avenue in 2002. Over the next decade it was the proving ground for local punk and metal bands and the best place to catch surf-guitar legend Dick Dale, Canadian prog-punkers NoMeansNo or grunge godfather's the Melvins, among other touring cult acts.
This is not the first time the club has faced closure. It moved to its current location at 928 Pacific Ave. in 2009 as a way of skirting expenses related to Washington state sprinkler regulations.
Shows had been booked through the fall with Mayhem Tour vets 36 Crazy Fists, Nappy Roots and the Supersuckers among the biggest names on the way.
"That's a pretty long run for any live music venue, especially in Tacoma," said Jason McKibbin, a former employee who is also the mouthpiece of Tacoma punk band I Defy. "But it sucks. Hell's Kitchen did a lot for this town. And now it's gone."
The final show on Saturday will feature the Hardcount, Psycho 78, the Cottonwood Cutups and White Trash Whiplash.
Off duty rules.
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