Legendary Detroit rock venue Magic Stick will turn its focus to electronic music this spring
When it came to indie rock in Detroit, the Magic Stick was as sacred as it gets. Part of the Majestic Theatre and capable of housing just 550 fans, the venue hosted indie rock legends such as The White Stripes, Jack Johnson, Interpol, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, The National and The Kills.
Intimate and boasting only one full service bar, the Magic Stick was hailed the city’s best bet to see a live show by critics from Metro Times and Rolling Stone.
Come this spring, the Magic Stick will be no more. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, after struggling for several years to make a profit due to changing trends in music, demographics and increased competition from other nearby venues, owner David Zainea had to put his sentimentality aside and consider the numbers.
Zainea announced plans to give the storied venue and the massive 10,000 square-foot space on the second level above it a new look, name and attitude with the help of Detroit promoter Amir Daiza.
The project is estimated to cost over $250,000 and will result in an expansion of the stage as well as the addition of more service bars and brand new restrooms. A new name for the venue has not yet been announced to the public.
Shows will continue as usual at the Magic Stick while construction takes place upstairs, but come completion mid-April, Zainea and Daiza plan to feature a steady roster of electronic music bands and DJs.
Rock acts will still continue within the vicinity at the Majestic Theatre, a room adjacent to the Stick, and the Majestic Cafe. Both spaces will undergo renovation work as well.
Zainea told the Detroit Free Press that his decision was “a matter of surviving,” and that he expects to hear many complaints from fans who called the Stick home. “It broke my heart to make this decision. Financially I had no choice but to do it,” ” he told the Detroit Free Press. “But when I’m confronted with the payroll every two weeks, it’s my obligation.”
Zainea said he knows the move is a gamble, but that he thinks it’s going to work.
“I’m hoping my rock ‘n’ roll fans will transfer over to the Cafe and the Theatre,” Zainea said. “I know they have an allegiance to the Stick. But things evolve.”
From a financial standpoint, the move makes sense. Regardless of personal opinion or projected longevity, electronic music is experiencing the largest boom it has ever seen in the United States. The genre now generates over $6 billion annually in revenue, according to recent report released by the International Music Summit.
And Daiza is no stranger to the EDM world. Four nearly half a decade, he has successful run Elektricity nightclub in nearby Pontiac, MI and has had no problem filling the room to capacity. In the 1980s, he operated the notorious Asylum club which sat across the street from what is considered by many one of the birth-sites of Detroit techno, the world-famous Music Institute.
Daiza said he’s been experiencing the itch to open up another venue in Detroit’s downtown area for a while, and the current scene in America seemed like the perfect environment.
“My format has always been bringing new sounds, new artists to the market and developing them here,” he said. “Detroit is known for (electronic) music, and I want to develop that talent out of here.”