This past Friday night was my maiden visit to the slightly new House of Blues in Victory Plaza. There has been some negative hubub about the mere existence of this place on local blogs, so I figured I'd chip in with my experience. As always, albeit a few months late.
I could be misunderstanding this, but it sounds a lot like criticism people have with the House of Blues is that it's just another big company gobbling local business up. It's considered the CVS, Starbucks, McDonald's, Blockbuster or Clear Channel of music venues. Yet an important note to clear up is that there is only one House of Blues in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Denton area. It's not like every single live venue has been taken over and rebranded. Nope. It's just one venue out of many venues.
Based solely on my attendance of Friday's Spoon/New Pornographers/Emma Pollock show, I had zero problems with the place. I was even impressed with how there were options with where to park. I lucked out getting a $5 space right under the highway and right across from the venue. Though the doors opened about twenty minutes later than expected, the show ran smoothly after that.
Every staff member I crossed paths with was very polite and courteous -- and it wasn't a kind of fakeness where they acted brainwashed. As a matter of fact, they were the exact opposite of the staff at Tree's I witnessed a handful of times. I didn't feel like the Gestapo was walking around with flashlights, ready to throw down with anybody acting somewhat suspicious.
The sound was fantastic and all three acts were top-notch. Personally, it was a royal treat to see Neko Case and Dan Bejar perform with the New Pornos. I'm well aware how rare they make it out on the road with the band, so I was very lucky to see the eight-person line-up. Spoon did an even better set compared to their previous visit in June. And they had a horn section for four songs.
Again, this was my first trip to the venue. Things could be different on my next trip, but at least I had a very positive experience. So why in the world people find this place to be a thorn, I may not really understand. Maybe it's wrestling with the idea of the place over what the place really is.