Brick drops live music; promoter moves to Senator

The live-music wheel in Chico keeps on spinning.

The Brick Works, the main option in town for catching high-profile touring bands for the past five years, is almost done with live music. Owner Robert Mowry said that the club is undergoing a “massive remodel” and will close down and be reopened as an over-21 dance club with a “beach” theme and a D.J. instead of live music.

“Originally, when I started this place, I wanted to do what I’m doing now,” said Mowry. While he regrets that the current all-age setup isn’t bringing in enough people to make money in the big space, he is working on opening a smaller “Brick Works 2” that can fill the void left for under-21 folks who want to dance and see live music.

With the change, the Brick Works’ main promoter, Justin Maximov, has begun moving his J-Max Productions over to the newly refurbished and re-opened Senator Theatre.

“It’s the same thing [as the Brick Works],” Maximov explained over coffee about his new setup, “I’m an independent concert promoter—Damon [Fadale] and I will be working together but independent.”

Fadale is the new tenant at the Senator, and with much of his planned remodeling complete, he has recently opened his doors for business.

“[Justin’s] obviously the best promoter Chico’s got,” said Fadale in a recent phone interview.

With experience in the field of promotion that pre-dates his five-year tenure at the Brick by 10 years (La Luna in Portland, the old Lava Lounge in Chico), Maximov is probably the most qualified local person to have any chance of helping Fadale realize his dream of turning the old theater into one of the biggest concert venues in the Northstate.

No shows have been confirmed yet, but the hope is that some of the bigger name acts that have passed on the Brick Works due to its 700-person capacity and small stage will be attracted to the huge stage and 1,000-plus capacity of the Senator. Under the umbrella of his J-Max Productions, Maximov has been putting on regular shows in Reno, and some of the acts he’s booked there—Bad Religion, Social Distortion, Mudvayne—will now have a better chance of making it to Chico with the option of the larger venue. On the other hand, a portion of the shows that made sense for the Brick Works won’t be cost-effective and won’t make the cut at the Senator.

“As expensive as the Brick Works was [$1,500 to produce each show], it’s going to be even more expensive to open the doors over there with the heating and all the additional security and the additional P.A.,” said Maximov.

Maximov hopes, though, that options created by capacity and the built-in seating will translate into the venue’s being “a lot more well-rounded than the Brick Works was.” And Fadale added that, in addition to the bigger touring acts, he also wants to help promote local music, theater and other performances.

“We want to produce high-quality, diverse local and national entertainment,” he said.

There are only one or two shows left at the Brick Works, and the club’s de facto house band, Floater—which, Maximov said, has played there more than 20 times (most of those being sold-out back-to-backs)—is charged with ending the live-music run on a high note. "We’re going to do a two-night stand with them," says Maximov. If you want to join the farewell party, you’d better get in line right now—chances are, even though dates haven’t been announced yet, the doggedly faithful Floater fans are already camped out on the sidewalk.