When we last heard from Mike Dillon in April, he was onstage long after Birds of Avalon had ended the last night of music at Kings, freestyling to a beat supplied by DJ Castro. It was Dillon's final night of employment at Kings, where he'd been working for two years. He arrived late, coming straight over after his shift at Bickett Gallery, which closed six weeks later.
While the owners of Kings still search for a new space, Dillon has finally found a new home in a Raleigh music club, and this time he's not just bartending or handling the door. Earlier this month, Dillon was named booking agent for Downtown Event Center, the third-floor space that housed the short-lived Martin Street and Raleigh music halls for the last two years. Dillon says so far he's been working to catch up and make contacts with booking agents across the country, and that, while August is spare, September looks as though it will be a busy month at 14 W. Martin St.
Dillon, who played Martin Street Music Hall as a member of Spader, remembers a successful show from Athens' pop band Of Montreal that gives him inspiration for what can happen in the space.
"I know it's difficult to reverse the flow of people from Raleigh to Chapel Hill for shows, but I think we can try to get Chapel Hill to come to Raleigh a little bit," says Dillon. "But if it's all about talking to agents and getting to know them, maybe something will happen."
Dillon is concentrating mostly on weekends, and he's excited to bring all types of music into the space, especially experimental music that often goes to Chapel Hill's Nightlight or Local 506, if to the Triangle at all. He's also enthusiastic about booking last-minute gigs with touring bands in a house-show fashion (Dillon's recently been hosting shows in his basement, including a set with White Mice). A recent house show with Double Negative that fell through in Raleigh, for instance, found a home at Downtown Event Center.
Meanwhile, the space that was Kings is now an empty lot covered in bright green grass. Construction on a 989-car parking deck across from the new Raleigh Convention Center is scheduled to begin in September. The lot that Kings occupied will be a staging area for the construction. The former owners of Kings continue the search for a new space, though Steve Popson says there's no news on closing a deal yet. The second Kings Presents show comes to The Pour House Tuesday, Sept. 17, with New York's Akron/Family, who pull through town with Durham's Megafaun and Vermont improviser Greg Davis. The first Kings Presents—The Fucking Champs with Red Fang and Kings co-owner Paul Siler's Birds of Avalon—was in June.