Mark Lettieri Trio w/ Craig Erickson
Dick’s Tap and Shake Room — Thursday, April 5 at 8 p.m.
Located in what used to be a trophy shop next door to Dick’s Tap (which celebrated one year last August), the front door of the Shake Room has had a sign announcing the coming arrival of the performance venue since the end of last year. In the last few months there has been a flurry of activity getting ready for the opening. I stopped by Dick’s Tap and Shake Room Monday night to see how things were progressing on the Shake Room side of the house.
On Thursday, the Shake Room has its maiden performance: the Mark Lettieri Trio, a show co-promoted by Premier Guitar with local guitar legend Craig Erickson opening. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door; show is at 8 p.m. That’s followed on Friday night by a one-two punch of power pop featuring local bands Crystal City and TWINS ($6 in advance, $8 at the door, show at 9:30 p.m.).
Dick Prall gave me a tour of the new space while his house soundman Max Kratch was working to wire up the new soundboard and P.A. You enter from the bar side down a short hall opening into a warm, cozy space with a maximum standing capacity of around 110 and an optional 50-person seated configuration. It carries over the Edison bulbs and paint scheme from the bar side, with exposed, worn-wood floors. The short, but good-sized, stage is at the front of the room by the windows, which Prall explained will be covered with sound-deadening pads and thick curtains.
It’s clear the focus is how the room will sound; there will also be sound-catching fabric covered panels on the walls which will help keep the bar noise out and vice-versa as well as reduce the sound deflection I’ve experienced in other venues.
“I wanted to create a space that shared the intimate experiences I’ve had in other venues across the country specifically designed for both the artist and the listener,” Prall explains. “The Shake Room is just that — what some would call a ‘listening room’ or ‘showcase room.’ The focus is completely on the artists because we’re not a restaurant or a sports bar that just happens to be hosting music — our music room is separate from the bar area to minimize the distractions and maximize the experience for the audience.”
To that end, there isn’t a bar in the Shake Room, but there will be servers coming around to take drink orders, and there will be a drink rail around the outside walls.
Prall, who has been a nationally-touring musician since the ’90s, has an attention to detail for this space that makes it clear he has been thinking about it for a long time.
“The Shake Room is simply a marriage of all the venues and ideas I’ve come across over my years in the music industry. And we’ll welcome not just music, but other forms of art, as well,” Prall said. “Places like Austin, East Nashville and Portland aren’t just cool because they have great art scenes — they became cool because people within the community created a platform to showcase great art. If I can take my experience and turn it into a positive impact on Cedar Rapids audiences through the promotion of original art, then I think the experiment is a success for the whole community.”
Looking at the lineup for upcoming shows, it’s a nice balance of national touring acts and local as well. I’m excited for Dick Prall and for his new space. I know I’m going to be there as much as I can.
Mark Lettieri Trio w/ Craig Erickson
Thursday, April 5 at 8 p.m.; $18 advance, $20 door
Izabel Crane w/ Murf-Tones
Saturday, April 7 at 9 p.m.; $8 advance, $10 door
Society of Broken Souls w/ Molly Durnin
Sunday, April 8 at 7 p.m.; $5 advance, $7 door