Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday’s reopening of Trees, nightclub in Dallas’ Deep Ellum district, draws sell-out crowd
Crowd seemed less concerned with club's history and more interested in night's lineup.
DALLAS At least 600 people turned out on Friday night for the re-opening of Trees, the storied club that for many folks symbolizes Dallas' Deep Ellum district.
Dormant since the end of 2005, the club's been re-opened by Clint Barlow, former drummer for Vanilla Ice and former booking agent/manager at Firewater Bar & Grill, which shut down in April.
Barlow plowed $750,000 into Trees' renovation, including $170,000 on the P.A. system alone.
"We designed this place around what a musician would want, and the bar was designed by my wife, who's a bartender," Barlow said. "We're hoping people will be able to feel the difference."
The staff includes some of Barlow's compatriots from Firewater including bartender Travis Watson, who said that working with other former coworkers felt like a happy reunion.
The capacity is 600 people, which puts Trees in a unique "mid-sized" niche -- bigger than the typical nightclub, but smaller than area venues such as Palladium (which holds 2500), House of Blues (capacity 1800), and Granada Theater (cap 1200).
Few in attendance Friday seemed like nostalgia seekers, nor did they seem overtly jubilant that the club had re-opened. Tiffany Schulz, 28, from Arlington, was there to see the bands.
"I'm a friend of Slow Roosevelt," she said of the headlining act, whose performance was preceded by Element Eighty, System Overload, and Hardway Down. "I had been to Trees once a long time ago -- I was barely 21. As soon as I found out it was re-opening, I was, 'I'm going'."
Brandon Fitzgerald, 28, of Dallas, said he came to see Element Eighty.
"I remember vaguely coming here before -- I don't remember it too well," he said.
Tony Edwards, who does marketing for Slow Roosevelt, called the re-opening exciting.
"I think it's good for the music scene, it's good for Deep Ellum, and it's good for the city of Dallas," he said. "How can you not like that? I know there are people who are nostalgic for some former version of Trees. But I want to be optimistic and see it as something that's contributing to the rejuvenation of Deep Ellum."
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