Jan 312007
Authors: Elena Ulyanova

On a cold Saturday morning Tom McLoughlin had no problem spending his time volunteering at what will soon be Fort Collins’ new music venue, Hodi’s Half Note.

“How can you feel bad doing this?” McLoughlin said with one foot still up on the ladder. “Fort Collins needs music venues, this is essential to the scene.”

For many local bands such as McLoughlin’s band Foot Clan, the venue will provide a new outlet for musical expression.

Nick Kirkes, general manager of Hodi’s Half Note, said it will be one of Fort Collins’ very few midsized venues, meaning that it’s still very intimate but can bring in local acts as well as national acts.

“What really motivates this place is the ability to work with smaller local bands that have outgrown the small stages but aren’t ready to fill the capacity of the big stages,” Kirkes said.

Kirkes said with Hodi’s capability to host so many different bands, the venue will feature a diversity of musical genres.

“It’s difficult to sustain a single minded community and since we don’t live in one, there’s no reason to,” Kirkes said. “If we truly want to make a difference we have to support music in general, not just in one flavor.”

Kirkes said his goal is to make Hodi’s a part of the community by creating relationships with the public and encouraging an open-door policy for suggestions through a system of checks and balances.

“My hope is that people will come in and tell me if I’m going in the wrong direction,” Kirkes said. “So If I turn out to be an asshole, then it’s not a problem because it’s run by the community.”

Kirkes said that the community is essential to the venue’s success because of the new business’ vulnerability.

“There’s always possibility for failure. We consider that there’s no room for mistakes because of everything in the past,” Kirkes said.

Being situated in the same location that the Starlight Theater once filled has left the new venue open to comparison. However, Kirkes said that there is no connection between the two except the building.

He hopes that the Starlight’s failures will not affect the future of Hodi’s Half Note and is optimistic that the new name and look can help throw away the past.

“People will at first be hypersensitive to what we do,” Kirkes said. “I can’t change anyone’s mind verbally; it’s going to have to be by example.”

A complete renovation of the interior to replace the old d/cor of the Starlight is meant to create a warmer, cleaner atmosphere and a different look all around. However, Kirkes said that refurbishing the place is just the first step.

“This is a journey, it’s not a one shot change – new wood panels can’t change that,” Kirkes said.

But the renovations themselves are not a simple task for the volunteers, and for many of the necessary repairs, such as the sound equipment, professionals were brought in.

“When things broke, they left it broke,” Kirkes said of the Starlight Theater. “It just needed a lot of love, and we just needed to put that love back into it.”

Kirkes has strong expectations for the future and is thrilled for the month of February. He said that Hodi’s will feature almost every musical genre in this next month alone.

“I hope this becomes a place where people can have a voice and better their music scene,” Kirkes said.

The bar will open at 3 p.m. daily and although the bar area may have a smaller stage, Hodi’s main stage will be reserved for scheduled musical acts and will not feature karaoke or open mic.

“It’s not an open stage anymore,” Kirkes said. “In order to become a premier stage we have to maintain its integrity and maturity.”

With the grand opening of Hodi’s Half Note approaching in less than a week, emotions and excitement are seeping through all the hard work.

“It’s emotional,” Kirkes said. “It’s really awesome to see it all come together, especially now that we’ve put in so much time and effort.”

And with all the advantages of a new venue, the music seems to be what really channels the excitement.

“Music is music no matter what genre it is – it speaks to everyone,” Kirkes said. “It really enriches everything around us.”

Staff writer Elena Ulyanova can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

Feb. 7 – The Station, Wasabi

Feb. 9 – Victor Barnes w/ Motorhome

Feb. 10 – Jeff Finlin, John Alex Mason, Unanimous

Feb. 14 – Magic Cyclops

Feb. 15 – Haldon Wofford and The Hi-Beams w/ The Billy Pilgrims

Feb. 16 – Alternative Spring Break Benefit featuring Prism and guests

Feb. 17 – 3 Peas

Feb. 20 – Hot Day at the Zoo

Feb. 21 – Magic Cyclops

Feb. 22 – The Piggies

Feb. 23 – Head for the Hills

Feb. 24 – Jason Ricci

Feb. 26 – John Lee Hooker Jr.

Feb. 28 – Magic Cyclops

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