Chris Malarkey, the former booking agent at Raleigh’s The Pour House Music Hall and a local music fixture, is moving on from his post after 13 years with the venue. Malarkey joined the space in 1999, begging his way into part-time gigs as a way to break into the live music business.
“I was a big music fan, an old Dead Head, so I thought it would be a good way to get in to doing something I love,” Malarkey remembers. “A friend of mine was bartending there. I told [owner] Eric [Mullen] I’d put up posters, whatever type of promo stuff I could do for a few bucks and some free tickets. It kind of snowballed into what I was doing at the end.”
Malarkey’s ties to the regional jam band scene made him extremely valuable to the club, which fills a large part of its calendar with such acts. He grew from a source of knowledge into a valuable part of their team, taking over as the venue’s sole booking agent by 2007.
“He was good at it because he knows more about music in his right thumb than most people know total,” Mullen says of Malarkey. “I simply taught him the business side of things, and he just took off from there.”
Malarkey is married with two kids, and he says it was difficult to work the other jobs necessary to support his family while giving The Pour House all the time it needed. He’s currently looking into new opportunities, and while he declined to discuss the possibilities, he was adamant that his experience at the venue will be invaluable moving forward.
“I learned to balance between booking with your heart and booking as a business,” Malarkey says. “I think there’s two distinct schools of people in this business. I know one person in this town who books solely with their heart and has to eat crow all the time. I know other people who book solely as a business, and it’s feast or famine. What I did, and what I did for myself, I learned a balance between the two. I booked what I like, but I booked smartly, knowing that for better or worse it is a business.”
For updates on who takes over booking duties at The Pour House and where Malarkey takes his experience, check back with Scan.