Sounds of the City
Justin Markert has spent the past five years promoting Northeast Ohio-based bands via his small Cellar Door Records label.
This month, he'll give the business a home at Asiatown's Loftworks building and bring a different kind of art to a live/work space geared primarily to visual artists.
"I want it to have the vibe of an art gallery, but the art will be the music," Markert says.
In addition to an office for his Cellar Door record label and blog, Markert's Loftworks spot will include a record store that exclusively features Northeast Ohio bands and a small, 125-capacity performance/creative space.
"We're going to be selective to a point, because we want to make sure we are showcasing the best of the thousands of bands in Cleveland," says Markert, who has worked with acts such as Keith Vance, This Is Exploding and The Frozen Hellsicles, while releasing two compilations and four full-length albums during the past five years.
At press time, Markert was planning to christen Cellar Door's new home with a July 27 opening party featuring performances by The Modern Electric, Humble Home, The Lighthouse and the Whaler and Brian Straw.
The performance aspect of Cellar Door's Asiatown space, located at East 40th Street and Payne Avenue, takes Markert and Cellar Door back to its roots. In 2002, Markert and his business partner, Rick Fike, opened the 135-capacity Cellar Door Coffee & Music in Madison, Ohio, hosting live bands and musicians on a weekly basis during the shop's run.
Markert says he hopes Cellar Door's intimate space will allow people to engage with live music in a different way.
"People go into a bar and cross their arms and tap their foot, and that's all you get out of them," he says. "But in a smaller, more intimate situation, you can connect a music fan to the artist."