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Ice House Doesn't Want to Be Left Out in Cold : Clubs: A promoter is trying to turn the Fullerton site into a regular venue for bands, with steady draws.

October 08, 1994|MIKE BOEHM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Another attempt is underway to establish the Ice House in Fullerton as a regular venue for bands on the local grass-roots scene and the indie-rock touring circuit.

Dennis Lluy, a 21-year-old anthropology major at Fullerton College, is the latest promoter to try to find a steady draw and regular bookings for the cavernous old brick building at 112 E. Walnut Ave., which, despite a few well-attended shows, has had a fitful and very sporadic history as a rock venue over the past few years.

"We've changed a lot," said Lluy (pronounced yoo-ee ) , who calls his fledgling promotion company Culture Shock. "We put in a (permanent) stage, so the place is organized more like a venue. Before, it was a temporary stage."

Lluy, who is also a partner in the new Koo's Arts Cafe in Santa Ana, began promoting concerts at the Ice House in July, averaging about one a week. He also has been overseeing shows brought to the Ice House by other independent promoters. Last weekend, a sold-out crowd of 700 people turned up to hear the punk band Face to Face.

"We finally built up a reputation after two months," Lluy said. "At first, it was really shaky. All the agents are calling us now, and we're getting the touring bands that come through here."

A stepped-up schedule of bookings includes Dirt, with Final Warning and Final Conflict, on Monday; Lagwagon, with Strungout, Oct. 16; Big Drill Car, with the Goops, Bottom 12 and Lidsville, Oct. 17; Fluf, with Triggerman, the Nuckle Brothers and 100 Watt Haloes, Oct. 21; ska bands Hepcat, Jump With Joey, Hoodlum Empire, the Tantra Monsters and Pocket Lent, Oct. 28; Into Another and Stanford Prison Experiment, Nov. 4; Down by Law, with Gameface and Black Train Jack, Nov. 16 and Voodoo Glow Skulls, Dec. 3. Also planned is a Thursday night series of Latin rock concerts.

Lluy said plans call for an expansion of the Ice House's parking, which has been one of the venue's weak points. His ambition, he said, is to make Culture Shock the new, grass-roots alternative to what he labeled the "corporate level" approach of Goldenvoice (ironically, Goldenvoice long was synonymous with grass-roots, punk and alternative rock promotion in Southern California; the surprising commercial triumph of alternative rock, starting in the late 1980s with Jane's Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and climaxing with Nirvana, now makes it possible for Goldenvoice, which has reaped the rewards of being in on the ground floor of the alternative movement, to be perceived as "corporate").

"We're going to be the main all-ages club in Orange County," predicted Lluy, whose avocation as a rock drummer has been put on hold. "We have 40,000 college students within a 15-mile radius. There's no reason clubs should go under if they're done right."

Advance tickets for the Ice House shows are available at Bionic Records stores in Cypress, Fullerton and Huntington Beach, at Vinyl Solution in Huntington Beach, and at Zed Records in Long Beach. Shows start at 8 p.m.; prices range from $6 to $9. Taped information: (714) 740-3052.

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Another grass-roots promoter is gearing up to compete for the same all-ages, punk and alternative rock audience as the Ice House, with a weekly concert series at the recently opened Club Remixx in Orange.

Dubbed the Kurtain (as in "behind the Orange Curtain"), the Thursday night series will debut Oct. 27 at the 500-capacity Remixx at 612 N. Eckhoff St. (the club features recorded dance music on other nights). The Kurtain's opening night headliner is Battery Acid, an offshoot of Mary's Danish fronted by Gretchen Seager. Also on the bill: Primitive Painters, Psychic Rain and Her Own Hands, three bands from Orange County.

"It's a great club, what I've been looking for for the longest time," said Kevin Knight, whose Orange Curtain Productions is behind the series. Knight, who previously promoted at Caffe Nove in Anaheim, points to a bigger stage and a built-in sound and lighting system as Remixx's advantages in what could be a competition with the Ice House for bookings and concert-goers. The Oct. 27 show starts at 8:30 p.m.; tickets are $5. Information: (714) 630-6128.

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