Schism sinks indie venue the Davenport

Janis Joplin hot venues
Anti-Flag comes through loud and clear at the Agora. - Walter Novak
Anti-Flag comes through loud and clear at the Agora.

Parma Heights indie bar The Davenport closed abruptly last week, when its core employees resigned en masse, citing long-running conflicts with its owner.

"It's been a pretty bizarre week — or a pretty bizarre year and a half," says former worker Todd Pincombe, who also sings for Insurrect. "Essentially, a couple of guys were fucked by a guy who offered a couple of young punks an opportunity to own a venue. We thought it was a good opportunity to improve our lives and give back to a city that gets shit on, and for bands to play and get paid."

A handful of employees renovated the venue, creating a live-music club in an abandoned ballet studio. The place felt like a DIY spot with a liquor license. It opened in May 2007 and had a busy schedule of local groups like Iron Teeth and the Cheap Tragedies, in addition to touring national indie bands from metal to emo, including Planes Mistaken for Stars and Engineer. The Davenport's MySpace page still has shows listed, but the bar is closed, with no plans to re-open.

"The Davenport was an anomaly," says Jon Rybicki of Vietnam Werewolf, a punk band that played there regularly. "There was never a two-dollar penalty for being under 21, and bands were never expected to sell tickets. Every show was all-ages, and they always treated every band fairly and respectfully, whether they were a next-big-thing touring band or a couple of high-school kids playing Blink-182 covers. It was almost utopian."

Hot Ham & Cheese and Hostile Omish are kicking off a two-week tour to the West Coast on Thursday, April 24, at the Garage Bar (1859 West 25th Street, Ohio City). The punky rock bands have dubbed the trek the Churn 'N Burn Tour 2007.

• New York's As Tall as Lions spent last week rehearsing its new album at the B-room of Bedford's Galahad Studios. Multi-instrumentalist Rob Parr is a native Clevelander who interned at the studio and joined the soulful New York indie-rock band after 2006's self-titled LP.

• Original singer Jim Hamar has been forced to pull out of reunion shows with Cleveland metal legends Breaker. That includes upcoming concerts at Germany's Bang Your Head!!! Festival and Parma's Jigsaw. A doctor discovered vocal-cord-fold polyps and scheduled surgery for Hamar. Greg Wagner (Shatter Messiah, H.A.T.E.) will take his place at the shows and on a new album being recorded at Cleveland's Noise Floor Studio with producer Don Depew.

Mushroomhead just wrapped a three-week tour of the Midwest, Texas, North Carolina, and Virginia. The group plays a homecoming show at the Barn (200 South Depeyster Street in Kent) on Sunday, April 27.

• Singer Mary Bridget Davies has relaunched her website, After a stint playing Janis Joplin in the bio-play Love, Janis, she's been fronting Joplin's old band, Big Brother & the Holding Company. They'll play Blossom on Friday, August 22.

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