Local musicians and music promoters shared a collective groan last week after learning that 32 Bleu, the 2-year-old Colorado Springs venue that offered nationally known indie, hip-hop and punk music, will reportedly change into an adults-only nightclub featuring local country, blues and western music.
"It means a lot," said Rob Houston, a Colorado Springs-based rapper who has built a large following under his hip-hop name Black Pegasus. "For hip-hop, it's almost going to destroy the live scene."
Only a few superstars can fill the major stadiums in town such as the World Arena, Houston said. For bands that pull in a crowd of around 500, Colorado Springs will essentially fall off the map.
More important for Houston, who used 32 Bleu as an incubator for his music career, up-and-coming musicians may be left out in the cold. "Thanks to 32 Bleu ... I've been able to establish myself," he said.
Houston said some of 32 Bleu's failure to work out as a hip-hop club was due to a lack of promotion. "You need a street team out there promoting shows," he said, and somehow 32 Bleu didn't make the effort.
The club's general manager, Jason Spears, did not return phone calls seeking comment. However, Marc Peralta, who until last fall worked as a production manager at 32 Bleu, defended his former boss.
"It's not Jason's fault," Peralta said. "He did his best. It's just not possible economically."
Peralta now hosts underground-music concerts through his music promotion company, Soda Jerk Presents at the Navajo Hogan on North Nevada Avenue. Peralta said he believes the Colorado Springs market can support a club for smaller underground bands. "Things will last and continue," he said.
-- Dan Wilcock