After letting the new Turf Club sink back into the grand scheme of the music scene here, we decided to take a look at what really is great about the new space. Yes, everything, still, kind of, but some of the new stuff is still really, really great, while the other stuff has been relinquished to the "pretty good to great" category.
If you haven't been to a show (or just gone to hang out) since the grand reopening in August, do it ASAP. Sure, it's not going anywhere, but you're missing out and it's fun to see a space that was transformed into something fantastic. Here are 10 reasons why.[jump]
10. The black bathroom fixtures
In both sets of bathrooms, all the fixtures are black, lending an unexpected regal air to what used to be some of the worst venue bathrooms in the metro area. I used to wait as long as I possibly could before making a pit stop, now I almost look forward to it.
9. The Turf Club and Clown Lounge tiles in the bathrooms
OK, I won't spend this whole article in the bathroom, but the custom tiles sunken into the walls featuring the Turf Club and Clown Lounge's distinctive logos, designed by local musician Maggie Morrison, are pretty damn cool.
8. The newly raised ceiling
I still can't believe it actually worked, but they found a company able to raise those distinctive Art Deco lights up 24 inches, along with the rest of the ceiling. It doesn't seem like much, but it makes the upstairs room seem absolutely gigantic and is far more comfortable.
7. The new sound system
There were always complaints about the sound at the old version of the Turf. And, oddly, it was never the same complaint. Sometimes it was too muddy, other times the guitar was washed out or the drums were too low in the mix. Now the only complaint that can be issued is that it's too loud, which is hardly a complaint at all.
6. The clown light fixtures in the Clown Lounge
The Clown Lounge used to have its strange charm -- it looked like a run-down lake cabin, circa 1968 -- but it just wasn't very clown-y. There was taxidermy on the walls along with a mish-mash of tables, chairs, and well-worn booths. But now there are creepy/awesome clown light fixtures plus some other much-needed sprucing up, and you'll never want to drink a beer anywhere else ever again.
Remember the old days when that woman would come wandering in at about 1 a.m. with the insulated delivery bag full of tamales and you'd buy, like, five of them? Oh, just I bought five of them? Regardless, those days are long gone, but now you can get legit food with a distinctly Southern bent to it. Lunch is also served daily, but, c'mon, don't be an asshole, go to brunch.
4. The mural behind the stage
There is now a massive, horse-themed mural behind the stage and it's apparently been there since the 1940s and somehow nobody noticed. It was discovered by accident during the renovation, and now it's unquestionably the centerpiece of the entire building. During shows, you'll find your eyes drifting to it more than once. It's just a painting of horses, but it has an inexplicable magnetism that cannot be ignored.
3. Closing off the upstairs bathroom entrance stage left
Yes, people complained about this. Yes, people are still complaining about this. Yes, all those people are wrong. While it was a convenient way to get from one side of the room to the other, it also created an awkward walkway where traffic from the bar area, to and from the bathroom and to and from the stage all converged. Everyone was constantly bumping into each other over there and no two people were ever headed in the same direction. Closing that entrance has redirected traffic flow a bit and eased up congestion in that corner.
2. Getting rid of much of the show poster clutter on the west wall
Those posters were always kind of fun to look at but a lot of them were from bills full of bands that nobody, anywhere remembers. During renovation, someone made the decision to pare those down by about two-thirds and it was a brilliant move. The ones that are left are either more recent or from shows that have stories linked to them ("Oh, that was the show where..."). It's a great thing to remember history, but then again, there's no record of what Abraham Lincoln ate during his train ride to Gettysburg, if you follow.
1. New photo booth
I have a thing for photo booths. My friends and I will often cram ourselves five deep in one and take idiotic photos, which then make their way to the internet for people to ask just what the hell we were doing. But I came to resent that old Turf photo booth. It seemed to always be out of film and sometimes just took money without even pretending it was going to give you photos. That old one owes me at least 10 bucks, but the new one is in perfect working condition, and for some reason, few things are more fun than getting into one of those things after a couple of beers.
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