A not-so-great photo of the Midtown taken from its abandoned MySpace profile.
One of Bend’s most prominent music spots — the building on Greenwood Avenue that holds the Midtown Ballroom, Domino Room and The Annex bar, heretofore known as “the Midtown” — is in for some changes in the coming months. Time will tell, but the changes are almost certain to be improvements.
Here’s why: Co-owners Rhoda and Creig Jones and Duane McCabe and Lise Hoffman-McCabe are taking back control of the venues. The quartet ran the Midtown for years until 2007, when they leased its operations to a new team. (They had put the property up for sale in 2006. It never sold.)
That new team — JT Taylor, Chris Fought and Jim Dickey — is now out of the picture. The Jones/McCabe team has hired a new manager, Roy Nowell, who will handle most of the booking duties for the venues, though I just got off the phone with Rhoda Jones, and she said she and her partners will have some say in the acts that perform there.
“We will be suggesting,” she said with a big laugh. “We’ll have something to do with bringing back our old favorites. It will be very familiar, I think.”
Before the Jones/McCabe partnership quit managing the Midtown, it was a bustling nightspot that featured a steady stream of blues and roots-rock acts (the Jones’ favorites) as well as shows by other promoters, most notably Bend-based Random Presents. Back then, the two venues — this was before The Annex was open — hosted concerts at least weekly, and sometimes several nights per week.
In the 2-1/2 years since, though, the Midtown’s live-music offerings have dwindled. Random Presents continues to host shows there regularly, but the Taylor/Fought/Dickey team never established a consistent slate of shows. The Midtown Web site has been “under construction” for months. These days, the venues are quiet most nights.
That’s about to change, Jones said.