Gregg Kelley saw Mushroomhead for the first time at an Odeon show in 1996. He was only 15, and it was his first local concert.
He figures he's seen the Cleveland metal band about 300 times since, including a stint promoting their shows and becoming friends with members of the band. But he remembers that first show well. "That's when I wanted to be part of the music business," Kelley says.
Now, just shy of 20 years later, the booking manager is bringing the costumed band back to reopen the Odeon with a May 1 concert. In Cleveland's pre-House of Blues era, the popular Flats East Bank music club hosted Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Eminem and Sonic Youth while it was open from 1993 to 2006. (It then became a nightclub until early 2014.)
The 1,000-plus person capacity venue was famed for its quality acoustics and level of intimacy. In late March, green and orange starburst decorations from the nightclub still hang from the ceiling and worn beige curtains drape across the darkened stage. But scaffoldings are in place to transform the warehouse-like space.
Mike Tricarichi, who bought the Odeon in 2007, originally intended to demolish the building and make it a parking lot. So signing a seven-year noncompete clause with seller Live Nation was not an issue. But parking lot plans fell through and last year the agreement expired, setting the stage for the reopening. In November, he hired Kelley to book acts for the Odeon and Roc Bar, which reopened down the street in December.
The Odeon will get a subtle makeover, including new bathrooms, a new sound system and a VIP section on the balcony.
"We want to modernize it as much as possible but keep the character," Tricarichi says.
Puddle of Mudd will play June 6 but Kelley expects to bring in a variety of acts including country, alternative rock and reggae.
"I want to be complimentary to everything going on down here," he says, "by keeping it diversified and trying to get different crowds."