From that last day in 2007 to April of 2005, I would often drive by the building that once housed Safari and Mary's. Some nights it would be packed with drunken under age college students but especially toward the end, The Dublin would be closed or empty most night of the weeks. In early 2015, I heard that the building was up for sale and even got a phone call from a realtor asking me about the history of the building. I spent a few minutes covering the basic historic background on the building. Then went about my business thinking nothing more of it.
One day I was sitting on the couch and got a phone call from an artist I knew asking for my input on an exhibit and book release for Paul Gray. Though the project didn't work out, it got me in a meeting at Drake Dinner to discuss it. At that meeting was Erik Brown and we hit it off right away. In fact, we ended up spending the next couple of hours talking about the history of the building, the plans for Lefty's Live Music and music in general. At the end of the conversation he invited me to stop by and take a look at what they had done to the place.
A few nights later I stopped by and took a look around. To say that it was strange to be back in the place was strange would be an understatement. I think it was around that time that I met Anne Mathey the other owner. Her and Erik had worked out the recently closed House of Bricks and had started the project with the focus of improving HOB but the owner had already decided to focus on food and cut back live music. With all these ideas and passions, they decided to go ahead and just open a venue.
Both owners have a long background in Live Music, Erik has toured national wide with a number of different project. Anne has been involved first as a fan and regular at Hairy Mary's while she was a Drake Student and managing HOB. The idea was simple, quality sound, quality talent in a clean and well maintained venue but more importantly a venue ran by music fans that were in it for the long haul. They bought the building in March 2015 and began renovations on the building, These included a brand new stage, sound and lighting system. After going through a number of names they decided on naming the venue after Anne's dog Lefty and opened in April of 2015.
I wasn't really involved at first. From time to time, I would stop in to see who was playing and what was going on. The first thing that hit me from the start was that the place smelled great. Anyone who ever spent anytime at Hairy Mary's and Safari remembers the smell of the place. It was a combination of urine and stall beer. Now this wasn't so much that it was not clean because I witnessed the night bleach uses, it was like that smell was just embedded into the walls and floors of that place after 1000s of shows. The second thing was just how good it sounded. Not only is the system one of the best in the city but Brad Millis the sound engineer knows what he is doing.
During this time I was working on the re-launch of the Underground Archives and wanted to do something to mark it. I had come up with this idea of booking a show with a band from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. I started asking around and on a lark, contacted the Hollowmen and asked if they would be interested in reuniting for a show. Thus started my return to promotion. The show was great and I remember standing there at some point with my son and mentioning to him, "Look around. See how much people are enjoying this? That's why I did this all those years." A few weeks later, Erik asked me to be a Talent Buyer.
I started in late September of 2015 and hit the ground running, It's been a blast and roller coaster of ups and downs but I still get that spark when I book something special or I'm exposed to a new band. Over the last year I've had the pleasure of working with I Prevail, Henhouse Prowlers, Rig time!, The Toasters, The Bishops, Wooden Chickens, Luxotica Lounge Cabaret, WILD POWWERS, The SWMRS. The Frights, Radkey, Of Course Not, Micheal Graves, Motograter, Ill Nino, Anthony Ray Wright. Fort Defiance, The Architect, Porter, Shawn James and the Shapeshifters, Bobaflex, Time Atlas, Bitch'n'Dudes, Bonehawk, Jane Lee Hooker, Conveyer, Prophets, High Hopes, Josh Flagg, lefty Lane Cruiser, Suppersuckers, The Ataris, Eddie Turner, Lucky Tubb, Shaun Munday, Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy, Them Evils and countless other talented artists.
The biggest change for me is that this time around it isn't all just Punk, Ska and metal. I've been lucky to do everything from Americana and Blues to Punk and Metal and everything in between. I see a long future for the venue and I really think it is only starting.
DaVo - October 15th, 2016
Last Chapter - Chapter 10 - Jake's Input