Longtime Raleigh resident K.T. Kelly has operated a recording studio, been in several rock bands and run a record label since first getting involved with music as a teenager back in 1989. He recently gave his studio up, and he's passing management of Middle T Records over to the guitarist of the band he's quitting in July, Armored Uprise. Kelly, an IT technician by day, is now turning all of his after-hours attention to booking Raleigh's newest rock club, The Double Down.
"If 500 bands contacted me tomorrow, that would be awesome," says Kelly of The Double Down, located near the intersection of Peace Street and Glenwood Avenue, in the space that once housed The L Club. "The more bands that contact me, the better."
Kelly wants to make The Double Down as open to local bands of all genres as Kings Barcade once was. Without prompting, Kelly recalls an early visit to the since-demolished McDowell Street club early in its seven-year run. Co-owner Steve Popson impressed Kelly with his desire to be as open and welcoming to as many bands as he could be.
"That club did really well because they gave everyone the chance to have a show there," says Kelly. "Everyone who has contacted me I've given a show to."
The Double Down officially opened for show-going business last month. Kelly admits booking for April, May and June have largely been struggles of finding bands willing to schedule a bill with such short notice. Hank Williams, a local punk and metal promoter, landed a successful show at The Double Down two weeks ago with Winnipeg band Under Pressure, and he already has four shows slated for the space over the next three months.
Kelly isn't a partner in the space. He was hired shortly after the three owners of Haven nightclub, located a little more than a block away on Glenwood Avenue, leased the building. They knew of Kelly's longtime participation in local music and his ties to bands both as a producer and a musician. Co-owner Adam Ajaj says he hopes the space fills the live-music void in the Glenwood South district and offers something that The Dive Bar, the rock club located at Glenwood's intersection with Hillsborough Street, doesn't: shows for those between the ages of 18 and 21.
"We have Haven," says Ajaj, "but we're trying to create a different atmosphere, more of a rock, live-music place ... put the atmosphere there near Glenwood South."