Just as it was always quiet about its relationship with concert industry mega-corporation Live Nation and its predecessor, Clear Channel, locally based promotions company Mr. Chan Presents was equally mum about its dissolution. But Mr. Chan is indeed no more.
After booking hundreds of shows over the past five years at venues ranging from the Varsity Theater and Fine Line to Station 4 and Myth nightclub, the company quietly shut down its website and closed up shop around the end of the year. James DeCoursey, who ran the company, has taken a new job as an in-house talent buyer at the Cabooze — “making it difficult to keep doing Chan,” he said. His move coincides with what was plainly a hard year in the concert industry and especially at Live Nation, which has been downsizing staff. Of Mr. Chan, he said, “The past two years have been difficult financially, but we still put on a lot of great shows that I’m proud of.”
DeCoursey coming to the Cabooze will certainly increase the volume of noteworthy gigs at the old West Bank rock haven in 2011. Interestingly, one of Mr. Chan's biggest niches was under-age and all-ages shows by emo bands and Top 40-bound pop-rockers -- so there could be a lot more kids trying to talk their parents into letting them go to a place with "booze" in its name (though Mom and Dad probably spent some time there themselves; which may not exactly help seal the deal for those kids).
The end of Mr. Chan also marks at least a symbolic end to Clear Channel/Live Nation’s once-vigorous push into the local club market, which peaked in the early-’00s when First Ave struggled under competition from the Quest and other Clear Channel-backed venues. DeCoursey worked for Clear Channel then and maintained ties to Live Nation, but he says he hasn’t done business with them for several years. Still, as First Ave manager Nate Kranz declared, the Twin Cities is now “pretty much a total ‘indie’ market for concert business at the club level.”