LAKEWOOD — Crawford's restaurant and nightclub will open its doors to original rock shows starting Friday, adding fresh possibility to a grass-roots local music scene starved for venues.
Ed Christensen, a Cypress-based rock promoter, said Thursday that he had entered a three-year agreement to book shows for owner Jim Crawford, whose club at 11529 Carson St. is a short distance west of the Orange County line. Crawford said the club, which has been hosting local blues bands on Wednesdays and Sundays, can hold up to 450 people.
Local bands Burning Tree, Children's Day and Spanish Fly will play Crawford's first concert on Friday, followed by Mind Over 4 and National People's Gang on Saturday. Christensen said he has also booked shows by local rockers Cadillac Tramps on Jan. 18, Johnny Monster & the Nightmares on Jan. 19 and Mail Order Brides, Jan. 25. He said the first established touring attraction at Crawford's will be the Tubes, scheduled to play Jan. 26.
Owner Crawford "is real open to doing just about anything," said Christensen, who will book the club along with a partner, Jay Sheridan. "He's getting good sound and lights in, everything that's required to make it a successful club. It's a nice place, not a run-down place that's on its knees."
Crawford, who bought the former Italian restaurant about 18 months ago, hopes to give area rock fans a reason to stay closer to home, rather than heading to Hollywood clubs.
"There's a lot of talent in the area, and you can come out of Orange County and be here in 15 or 20 minutes, and you don't have the headache of traffic and parking," he said. Crawford's is one block west of the San Gabriel River Freeway.
Christensen and Sheriden, who call their concert promotion company "Fatal Attractions," will book shows at Crawford's Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with dance nights on Thursdays. The blues evenings, booked by a separate promoter, will continue Wednesdays and Sundays.
Christensen said Fatal Attractions will also continue to book shows at Night Moves in Huntington Beach, Thursdays through Saturdays.
Christensen sees a need on the local music scene for another venue: "Everybody's just looking for a place to play. A band like Cadillac Tramps can play Night Moves and Bogart's. Now (Crawford's) is something new they can do."
Crawford's nearest competitor, the 300-capacity Bogart's in Long Beach, has been the most reliable concert stage for the grass-roots original rock scene in Orange County and Long Beach.
"It's pretty close, but I don't foresee any problems," Richard Greco, Bogart's owner, said when told of the new competition. "In this area we have a need for rooms, to be honest. We have so many bands, and so few rooms here. Maybe it'll help some of the local acts get established and do better as they go from room to room."