Few nightclub promotions make it to their third year. Even fewer pick up steam along the way. The Cadillac Club is among the select few.
The weekly rock 'n' roll high school, commencing each Thursday at Goldfingers in Hollywood, is a smart lesson in rock-o-nomics. When Cadillac launched in 1997, the only venue willing to take a chance on a club with classic rock idealism was the Garage in Silver Lake. The promoters were given a Tuesday night--the second-most difficult night to build a following (after Sunday). It was an uphill battle to put rock bands back on an Eastside map, in that era when local musicians were trying to be anything but rock 'n' roll animals. It was a gnarly job, but someone had to do it.
Promoters Ricky Vodka and Danny Nordahl, both members of the rock group Motochrist, should be credited for being at the forefront of giving the L.A. scene a "scene" again. They book the finest rocks bands around, culling from the red-hot local scene as well as touring acts. When they moved the Cadillac Club to Goldfingers in December (after getting an offer from Goldfingers' management they couldn't refuse), they moved right into the belly of the beast: downtown Hollywood, which, by the way, is looking more uptown every day.
Fresh Faces, Old Ties
Goldfingers, a small dark club with an intimate back patio, works on many levels. Its modest size makes it easy to fill, and crowds always make a club look good. In addition, the neighborhood is safer than it has been in years--with good lighting and easy, secure parking. But the club still feels like a dirty rock club, which is a good thing. Boys and girls in leather usually look better in a gritty setting.
More important, they've created a club you can count on, in the sense that a few bucks gets you a few bands--and no matter what week, one or two of those bands just may rock your world. Each week, there will be cute girls, and cute guys, fresh faces and a few familiar ones. I've seen turbocharged quadruple rock 'n' roll headers there. Among the artists who define this scene are Vodka and Nordahl's own band, Motochrist, the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, Super Bees, Tsar, Broken, Fireball Ministry and Electrolux. Vodka, who also promotes Dr. Wu on Tuesdays and the hip-hop joint Valhalla on Saturdays--both at the Opium Den--is chronicling the current music scene on very cool compilation records with the Dr. Wu imprint.
But here's the smartest thing these rocker lads have done: When they abandoned Silver Lake for Hollywood, they kept an important tie, J. Ray. Ray is the booker for Spaceland, and he's also the Cadillac Club's stage manager.
For years, there has been some nonsense about Silver Lake and Hollywood, an Us vs. Them-type attitude (i.e. Artists vs. Sellouts) that didn't bode well for anybody, least of all the fractured club scene.
But with one of Hollywood's hottest rock clubs maintaining ties to the legendary eclectic Silver Lake nightclub, it means good things for local musicians. The more platforms to strut their stuff the merrier. Even heavy hitters such as Motochrist, Broken and Fireball Ministry wound up at Spaceland last Saturday.
As big as L.A. is, the club scene--at its core--is much smaller than one might think. The best way to maximize everyone's fun and profits is to take a cue from Rodney King and just get along.
Cadillac Club at Goldfingers on Thursdays, 6423 Yucca St., Hollywood, (323) 962-2913. 21 and older. Cover varies.