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New club in Town

From live karaoke to Battle of the Bands, venue caters to all

Try your skills at live band karaoke. With more than 600 selections, Rock-Bot plays every Wednesday at The Town. Courtesy photo

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With pro lighting, sound and fog machine, professional musicians and amateur singers forged together on stage to create renditions of everything from Tool to country and R&B, and even Disney's Frozen anthem, "Let it Go."

This was the scene on a recent Wednesday at The Town, Tacoma's newest venue.

The 7,000-square-foot space, located at 6409 Sixth Ave., former home of the Backstage Bar & Grill, will continue to host Rock-Bot, a live karaoke band, every Wednesday.

But this is not the only cool thing about the new joint.

Owned by local promoters Herschel Veal, Jr., David Regenfuss and Fred "Freddie Fingerz" Darden, (who also produced a 2014 series of sold-out shows at the Cultura Events Center in South Tacoma), The Town is already bringing in great shows. By the time this hits press, Kara Hesse will have performed The Road Home Tour with Stephanie Anne Johnson (NBC's The Voice) and Ayron "AJ" Jones (Ayron Jones and The Way) at the club, plus a Battle of the Bands will be history, too.  

"I just figured get the venue going and give all the local artists a place to display their stuff," says Darden, "and along with the national acts we bring, it'll help everybody."

"The coolest thing about this venue is that it's a multi-musical venue, all genres of music play here, come here and have a blast," says Cortley James, who does sound for the venue. "So far we've done everything here but reggae - but that's coming next month."

While music is top priority (they have a sound system that, during a preliminary sound-check, rattled bottles of liquor to the floor), the space will also serve as an event center, available for private occasions like birthdays and weddings.

A kitchen is in works for the team, but for now, food can be catered for special events.  The dance floor can comfortably fit 200-800 people.

"It is pretty much here for the city," affirms Darden. "That was the main thing we wanted to do - provide somewhere that everyone has access to."

The night I visit, the crew is setting up for Wednesday's karaoke - amps were stacked, a drum kit was primed, and a bar manager filled a shopping cart with booze to transport from the storeroom to behind the bar. (As a bartender myself, I was immediately enamored by their innovation in using a shopping cart.) They also used thumbtacks to display bags of chips on a bulletin board. (Music aside, any business that creatively problem-solves gets a thumbs-up in my book).

As I sip Jameson, I can see the potential in the place, with furniture configurations that can move to fit the occasion, a satellite bar in the corner to accommodate large crowds, and a killer sound system that could vibrate dance moves into even the most die-hard wallflower. It'll be cool to see what names come through the door.

The next show headliner will be local R&B singer, Moe Cheekz May 30.

What should people expect?

"To be blown away," says Darden. "That dude ... his range is crazy, he can sing all the high notes, the low notes, everything - he's got a strong voice. Plus there will be a live band backing the singers - it's going to be a good show."

MOE CHEEKZ AND AND SPECIAL GUESTS, hosted by comedian Nate Jackson, Saturday, May 30, 8 p.m., The Town, 6409 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, booking and show information, find The Town Entertainment on Facebook.

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