Power of Ten
Red Dragon Listening Room throws Decapalooza to help spruce up the place
By Jake ClappPosted Feb 20, 2013
Chris Maxwell hates to play the part of the beggar, but about once a year he has to take hat in hand and ask for donations to help ease the strain of running the Red Dragon Listening Room.
Maxwell and his wife have operated the not-for-profit music venue for 10 years, and from day one have committed themselves to giving all of the proceeds from each show to the musicians. It’s a tactic that has brought together a tight-knit community of music lovers and some impressive singer-songwriters, who turn around and tell their peers about the venue. But it also makes things a little difficult when improvements are needed for the building.
“I’m not even being subtle about it,” Maxwell said with a chuckle. “I’m almost bordering on funny, because once a year I have to go out and beg for myself. The rest of the year I’m begging to help the artist.”
To ease the burden and make the collection a little fun, Maxwell likes to ask for money while throwing a show, or a “palooza.”
The Red Dragon Listening Room will host its Decapalooza on Feb. 22 and 23 in an effort to raise money for a new list of 10 improvements needed for the venue. The two-day mini festival will host 15 artists performing at Red Dragon for donations.
This will be the third palooza Red Dragon has held in as many years. The first, Fencapalooza, was held to raise money for a fenced yard and ended up raising around 80 percent of the cost of the fence. The second palooza, held in January 2012, was Roofapalooza. The event was a big enough success that Maxwell was able to replace the building’s roof and have enough left over for a business laptop, a new mixing board, an in-house guitar amp, and stage expansion.
“This year, it’s ‘deca’ for three different reasons. There are 10 projects – actually we have 12-15 we’re going to work on, but it sounded good to focus on 10 – the second reason is one of them is a back deck, and the third is it’s our 10 year,” Maxwell said.
It’s a formidable list of projects and needs, which includes a new air-conditioning unit, a few flex ducts to go through the building, sound system upgrades, tree trimming, electrical work, updated bathrooms, an in-house bass rig, insurance, property tax, and the aforementioned deck.
In total, Maxwell said he estimates about $20,000 is needed to complete his list. He laughed and admitted it was a lofty goal.
“We hope to raise between $5,000 and 10,000,” Maxwell said. “Whatever we raise, if it’s $5, that’s more than I had going into it. The neatest part isn’t the raising money, it’s the musicians.
Every one of these musicians donated their talents. Last year, when we did the same thing, half of the musicians walked in and threw in $20 into the pot. I said, ‘Wait a minute, you just paid $20 to come and play for free?’”
That’s the kind of community that has sprung up around the Red Dragon, said local singer-songwriter Jodi James.
“[The Red Dragon is] all about the artist, and it’s such a community of people there that everyone pitches in to make sure the facilities are kept up and that we continue to have this great place to play and have touring artists come through and then go tell their friends about,” James said.
James will perform with her group, The Wilder Janes, on Friday night.
Along with the other musicians playing Decapalooza, James is contributing her time at no charge to the listening room. She said she feels that the more she and other musicians can contribute, the more the Red Dragon community will get back.
“Every event that we do, the more musicians that we get, we draw from each other’s fan base and get the word out about the Red Dragon,” James said. “The more support that you have, the more changes you can accomplish. The more palooza-type events that you do, it always draws a bigger crowd and just gets people networking and into the community. Once you’re in, you’re stuck.”
7:30 p.m. – The Fugitive Poets
8:00 p.m. – Patrick Cooper
8:30 p.m. – Louis Lozinski
9:00 p.m. – The Wilder Janes
9:30 p.m. – Steve Judice
10:00 p.m. – Martin Flanagan
10:30 p.m. – Barry Hebert
11:00 p.m. – Clay Parker
8:00 p.m. – The Cupcake Strippers (Ray Carona band)
8:30 p.m. – Emily Branton
9:00 p.m. – The Fabulous Bagasse Boyz
9:30 p.m. – Patrick Sylvest
10:00 p.m. – Flatbed Honeymoon
10:30 p.m. – Brent Melancon
11:00 p.m. – Polly Pry
For more information on the Red Dragon Listening Room, read _Dig’s Oct. 17 article “Listen Up.”_