It’s pronounced ‘hoonta’
Sometimes booking agents get caught between rock and a hard place. Take Charles Twilling, for example. Twilling took a dive coffee bar called the Capitol Garage and turned it into a major stop for touring indie-rock bands. For the first time since the old Cattle Club closed up shop, an all-ages audience could see bands like Low, the Black Heart Procession and Joan of Arc in Sacramento at fairly regular intervals.
Of course, Twilling didn’t own the Capitol Garage—he just booked the bands and ran the sound system. So, when it came time to move the venue, he could only recommend what he wanted. Turns out it’s not quite what the owner had in mind, and before Sacramento knew what was happening, the new Capitol Garage appeared as a posh watering hole with a full bar. In terms of the all-ages scene, many music fans viewed the new club as a betrayal of the worst possible kind. Their beloved all-ages venue had sold out in a big way to Sacramento’s upper class.
By all accounts, Twilling tried hard to make a go of the new venue, installing a new sound system and pushing for good shows. But it never really took off, and DJ nights kept creeping into the schedule.
Eventually, Twilling decided to cut his losses and strike out on his own. His last weekend booking shows at the Capitol Garage has just passed. Although it’s still under construction, Twilling’s new all-ages venue, Junta, is already the talk of Sacramento. Twilling and his business partner, Troy Agid, will spend July down in a giant basement room on Eighth and K streets with a set of plans, a hammer, some nails and a bunch of graffiti artists, preparing the new all-ages venue for an August opening.
“I’d been looking at other places,” Twilling told me last week while we stood in the 6,400-square-foot concrete room. “Everything about this place has that New York, Chicago, London underground club feel. It’s perfect.” It is, indeed, a superb place for a club: a wide-open space that easily could support 300-400 music fans of all ages.
Junta is a good plan, and Twilling is enthusiastic about it. He hopes that he’ll be able to bring back the spark held within the old Capitol Garage. “Some of my old politics with the old Capitol Garage will be in effect here,” he said. “Parents are always free if they come with their kids.” And, of course, Twilling has a nearly endless list of bands he wants to bring into the club. It’s a mixture of locals and regulars—many of whom ended up without any venues to play in Midtown when the old Garage went 21-and-over.
This is good news for Sacramento. Very good news indeed. Follow the progress of Junta, including photos of the build-out, at www.myspace.com/15394451.
In other news, Circle of 5ths alumnus Steve Mahoney has reported that his new band, Beautiful Blood, has disbanded because of “hectic schedules.” Mahoney currently is working with former Circle of 5ths bandmates Mike Weber and Mike McNellis on a new project reported to be significantly different from the old band. Check out www.circleof5ths.net for more information.