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Austin-American Statesman: Hole lotta teasin'

By Michael Corcoran AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF Thursday, June 19, 2003

The Hole In the Wall 30th anniversary show Sunday felt a little weird, especially since it could've been the last night of live music at the club for a long time. For 11 nights in a row, many of Austin's best bands and wall-to-wall fans welcomed back an old haunt. But the Hole's new owners, (who also run the Austin's Pizza mini-chain), still aren't convinced that live music is right for the joint and have put booking on a hiatus indefinitely. Manager Matt Allen said they don't want to charge a cover for acts, but without door money for the musicians, the Hole is unlikely to maintain the calibre of bands Paul Minor helped line up for the anniversary countdown. The acts at this Hole revisit received 15 percent of the bar sales and passed a tip barrel, an arrangement that didn't work out too well for the Damnations and Orange Mothers, who made less than $200 each after packing the club on a Monday night. Others did better, with Lil' Cap'n Travis taking home more than $500 for their gig the following night and Friday's show-stealer Scott Biram making almost $250 in tips. Biggest night for liquor sales was $4,000 Friday, when Daniel Johnson headlined. Allen says that without live music, the bar does about $1,000 a night.

So what's the problem? Allen says the decision to shelve live music, for the time being, at least, is so he and his staff can concentrate on other things, such as expanding the food menu. But the new regime's decision to view live music as a experiment begs a question that time will answer: Is the new Hole a return to old Austin tradition or another example of the Diesel-ization of the Drag?

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