The Tower is a gem of a theatre with vaulted ceilings, balconies that appear to float at the back of the venue, a beautiful (albeit not enormous) stage, and plush seats, each embossed with the name of a sponsor who helped fund the 2004 rebuild. Since its refurbishment, the venue has been a magnet for a vast array of performers, artists, comedians, presentations and community events, and has become a cultural cornerstone of Bend.
The venue can be rented to produce events; however, the majority of the yearly lineup is determined by a board of directors and targets Tower members, with more mature and demure tastes. That's part of the reason you might not see the rollicking Celtic music of Dropkick Murphys booked there, but rather the more tame Gaelic Storm.
But last week, the Tower announced a partnership with Random Presents and a lineup of edgier shows in hopes of attracting a wider audience to the venue as well as a more diverse smattering of performers.
"We have no intention of being the Domino or Midtown, but we think we can expand what we have, and Bret [owner of Random Presents] said he would like to help us do that," said Ray Solley, executive director of the Tower Theatre. "Audiences would like to see high-energy, edgy rock and roll shows, but they are willing to pay a buck or two more to have them in an environment that's a little more comfortable, less of a nightclub and more of a performance setting."
Random Presents, one of Bend's longest standing concert promoters, has brought huge names to Central Oregon across genres in its tenure including Snoop Dogg, David Grisman, Pennywise, Method Man and Red Man, George Winston and Devil Makes Three. Random Presents has had a five-year relationship with the Tower, but booked a limited number of shows there, and never had an agreement this formal with the venue.
"There's been a demand for a change in the market now for years and we're simply responding to that request," explained Bret Grier, owner of Random Presents.
"The noticeable changes will be during our general admission concerts. The first three rows of seats will be removed making room for a dance floor upfront. Full liquor bars will now be a staple at all Random Presents concerts placed in the lobby and balcony giving our patrons the option to take their drink anywhere they'd like. The flow and general vibe at our GA events will be something completely fresh for the large amount of local live music enthusiasts looking for a new outlet."
The team has announced seven performances, starting in February, put on by Random at the Tower.
Comedian Ralphie May Feb. 5
Brett Dennen Acoustic Feb. 13
Midnite Feb. 18
The English Beat Feb. 19
Jake Shimabukuro Mar. 15
Los Lonely Boys May 7
More info at www.randompresents.com, www.facebook.com/randompresents, towertheatre.org